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Return to Lagos roads, Sanwo-Olu begs police

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  • Says, we feel your absence
  • Unfolds new welfare package, modern police stations, life insurance

Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has pleaded with the police to return to the roads to restore sanity to the nation’s economic capital’s highways, saying Lagosians feel the absence of the police.

Many people have in the last few days been continuously trapped in gridlock for hours as traffic police and Lagos State Traffic Management Authority officers stay away from major traffic points, either for fear of being attacked by hoodlums or protesting the killing of some of their colleagues and burning of a number of their police stations during last week’s unrest that followed the #EndSARS protest.

While the gridlock persists, some transport union members and other volunteer battle to free the roads of the heavy traffic.

And to encourage the police to return, Governor Sanwo-Olu has unveiled a new welfare package that will engender a lease of life for serving police and families of the recently killed cops while on duty.

He said the new welfare package including a life insurance cover, modern working environment and health facilities would serve as a morale booster for those still in service and stressed that their absence on the Lagos roads was felt.

The governor said all policemen killed in the violence resulting from the nationwide protests against police brutality will not die in vain, adding that their children would be given scholarship awards to ensure that they would not suffer unduly as a result of the demise of their fathers.

Sanwo-Olu has therefore directed the Lagos State Scholarship Board to award scholarships to the children to the university level.

Twenty-nine Divisional Police Stations and 17 police posts were razed by hoodlums, who disguised as protesters.

Also, six police officers were lynched, 36 critically injured, while 71 police operational vehicles were torched.

The governor made the offer when he visited the Lagos Police Command Headquarters in Ikeja.

He said the state government would also be compensating family members of the officers killed in the violence and take care of the burial arrangement of the slain officers, adding that the state would be picking up the hospital bills of those injured in the mayhem.

He said the measures were meant to boost the morale of officers, following the demoralising events of the past week in which police officers and their stations were targeted by hoodlums.

Sanwo-Olu said the statutory duties of the police could not be wished away because of the actions of a few bad eggs.

He said the state must put the event of the past week behind it and move on to restore peace.

To achieve this, police officers, he said, must regain their confidence.

He said “Commissioner of Police has come forward with a number of requests, which we will need to address to boost the morale of officers after last week’s event. As your governor, I have come here to take full responsibility for the loss you have suffered in terms of logistics. From tomorrow (Thursday), we will start implementing these requests.

“Through the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF), we will be replacing the police operational vehicles burnt in the violence. We have a bigger plan for all the police stations burnt down. We will look for the funds and build befitting stations that will set the standard of what police stations should be.

“The most important request is to offer scholarship to the children of officers that died. I have directed the Lagos State Scholarship Board under the Special Adviser on Education to immediately award scholarship to the children of the slain officers.”

The governor directed the Executive Secretary of LSSTF, Dr Rasaq Balogun, to establish the modality with the police leadership in the state.

The governor also approved the request to upgrade Police Cottage Hospital in Ikeja, directing the Commissioner for Health to inspect the facility for the required upgrade.

In addition to donating two 150KVa generating sets to the police, Sanwo-Olu said the command headquarters would be connected to the state’s Independent Power Project (IPP) for constant power supply.

The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hakeem Odumosu, said the manner with which the slain officers were murdered brought down morale in the command.

He said the police officers remained committed to their statutory responsibilities, thanking the governor for approving their requests.

The governor’s gesture, the police boss said, would restore confidence in the state’s police workforce.

Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police in charge of Research and Planning, Leye Oyebade, said the police took away valuable lessons from the EndSARS protest, noting that there was no better time to fully implement the community policing than now.

He said the protest had ended and it was time for the police to win back citizens’ confidence and trust.

“As police officers, we must now go back to the drawing board and cultivate the goodwill of the communities in which we operate. I’m particularly charging divisional police headquarters to devise strategies tailored toward your local realities and employ digital tools,” he said.

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Buhari to present 2023 budget proposal to NASS Friday

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President Muhammadu Buhari will present the 2023 Appropriations bill to a joint session of the National Assembly on Friday.

The appropriations bill will contain budget proposals for the 2023 fiscal year.

He made this known in a letter to the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, which was read out at the start of plenary on Tuesday.

The formal budget presentation is scheduled for 10am

and it will be the last main budget Buhari will be presenting as he will leave office on 29 May 2023 when his second four year term will end.

The Federal Government is already proposing an aggregate expenditure of N19.76 trillion for the 2023 fiscal year with a budget deficit of about N12.41 trillion.

Some key assumptions in the proposal include an estimated oil benchmark of $70, crude oil production put at 1.69mbpd, exchange rate of N435.57/$ and inflation rate at 17.16 per cent.

The Federal Government pegged growth rate at 3.75 per cent because it believes that “Growth is expected to be moderated to 3.30% in 2024 before picking up to 3.46% in 2025.”

The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, had disclosed that the federal government will borrow over N11 trillion and sell national assets to finance the budget deficit in 2023.

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ASUU also corrupt, undermining govt investment – Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari has said a number of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) are involved in corrupt practices.

He said the corruption in the universities and other institutions was undermining government’s funding and investment in education.

ASUU has been on strike since February 14 over increase in lecturers’ allowances and salaries as well as improved funding for the universities.

Buhari has appealed to the union to call off the strike but the lecturers have stood their ground.

The President on Tuesday while declaring open the Fourth National Summit on Diminishing Corruption organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Office of Secretary to Government of the Federation (OSGF) and Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), said ASUU was no less complicit in the corruption in tertiary education.

He said corruption in the education sector had continued to undermine investments, while critics downplayed funding by focusing only on budgetary allocations, urging a more comprehensive re-evaluation of expenditure.

The President said, “This year’s summit will mirror how corruption undermines educational policies, investments and create an unfriendly learning environment for our youths.

“Incessant strikes especially by unions in the tertiary education often imply that government is grossly underfunding education, but I must say that corruption in the education system from basic level to the tertiary level has been undermining our investment in the sector and those who go on prolonged strikes on flimsy reasons are no less complicit.

“The 1999 Constitution places a premium on education by placing it on the Concurrent List, thereby laying the responsibilities of budgeting and underwriting qualitative education on both the Federal and State Governments.

“The total education budget for each year is therefore a reflection of both federal and state budgets and should be viewed as other financial commitments in their totality.

“The allocation to education in the federal budget should not be considered via allocation to the Federal Ministry of Education and also academic institutions alone, but should include allocation to the Universal Basic Education, transfers to TETFUND and refund from the Education Tax Pool Account to TETFUND.

“Corruption in the expenditure of internally generated revenue of tertiary institutions is a matter that has strangely not received the attention of stakeholders in tertiary education, including unions.

“I call on stakeholders to demand accountability in the administration of academic institutions and for unions to interrogate the bloated personnel and recurrent expenditure of their institutions. Let me also implore the Unions to work with the government to put faces and identities to names on the payroll.

“Due to declining resources, the government cannot bear the cost of funding education alone. I task our academics to attract endowments, research and other grants to universities, polytechnics and colleges of education similar to what obtains in other countries.”

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Seven police officers dismissed, 10 others demoted

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The Police Service Commission (PSC), on Tuesday, dismissed seven senior police officers over gross misconduct.

The commission also announced the demotion of 10 other officers through reduction in rank.

These decisions were taken during the continuation of the 15th plenary meeting of the commission.

The meeting is expected to end on Thursday, October 6, 2022, according to a report by The Trust.

Presided over by its acting chairman, Justice Clara Ogunbiyi, the meeting considered all the Pending Disciplinary Matters (PDM) before the commission.

The PDMs, which totalled 47, also treated some appeals from dismissed police officers.

Addressing newsmen shortly after the meeting in Abuja, the spokesman for the commission, Ikechukwu Ani, said, the dismissed officers include one CSP, one SP and five ASPs.

He said that one SP was retired in public interest, adding that the commission reduced the ranks of one CSP to SP, three SPs to DSP, and two DSPs to ASPs.

The commission further reduced the ranks of four ASPs to Inspectors.

10 senior police officers, including an ACP, a CSP, a SP and two DSPs were given the punishment of severe reprimand.

Five ASPs were also awarded the punishment of severe reprimand.

Thirteen officers received the punishment of reprimand; two are to receive letters of warning while four officers were exonerated.

Ani quoted Justice Ogunbiyi as saying the commission would henceforth give the desired attention to Pending Disciplinary Matters so that those found guilty are punished immediately while those found not guilty are cleared to continue with their career progression.

Justice Ogunbiyi called on police officers to ensure they operate within established rules and avoid taking laws into their hands.

The commission, she said, would continue to work to sustain a professional police force.

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