House Owner, Residents Condemn Lagos State Government

House owners and Residents have condemned the brutal manner with which houses were demolished in Abule-Egba, by the Lagos State government, to pave the way for the construction of the Jubilee Bridge in 2016 which has also become the lot of residents of Agege, a suburb of Lagos. They have been displaced, as a result of the ongoing Pen Cinema bridge construction.

Since they were hastily evicted from their abodes, shops and offices, the victims have been wandering and squatting with friends and relatives, as they have continued to bemoan their fate, describing their predicament as borne out of injustice.The Guardian learnt that the state government did not only err by not giving them enough notice, the victims were also not given any compensation or alternative abodes before the commencement of the demolition.

Chief Segun Oke, a caretaker of one of the affected buildings along Iju road, Pen Cinema, said no specific notice was issued by government before the demolition took place. “We had a meeting with representatives of Lagos State government last October, at the Museum, along Oba Ogunji road, Agege, opposite Women Development Centre, with the Commissioner for Lands and the contractor handling the project, soliciting our cooperation, as it would ease traffic congestion in the area.

“Early December, they distributed letters to the affected property owners, where it was stated that we should bring relevant documents, which had to do with our property to the ministry of physical planning at the Governor’s Office, Alausa. That was all. At the expiration of the one week, we just heard that they were bringing bulldozers and started bringing down the structures.

“What I would describe as the first notice was the letter, which was about getting our documents to Alausa. We were expecting them to give us a specific date after that but they just came hastily, without any prior notice.”

Another victim, Mrs. Bunmi Enimakure, whose storey house was inherited from her father, told The Guardian that there had been rumours that their property was on a Federal Government’s land. She said that in 2016, there was a report from the Lagos State government that property along the stretch would be demolished, noting that it was few shops that were pulled down at the period.

According to her, government came the second time for another round of demolition but the idea was shelved, with an assurance that there would be no more demolition, until last December when she heard that massive demolition would take place.“It was just after four days we heard about that the demolition started. Though poles were erected at the initial state to indicate areas marked for demolition, when the bulldozers came they demolished more than the marked areas.”

Due to the manner with which the ‘displacement’ was done, the victims were not only rendered homeless, their property and wares were allegedly destroyed and stolen by street urchins, who took advantage of the situation.Oke said from the property of his occupants, in a bungalow of four shops and 10 rooms were seriously affected because they were caught unawares. “A lot of things were destroyed, lots of items were stolen, especially from the corporate buildings. For here, what was stolen was up to N5 million from the shops in the building.”

Aside from the hasty demolition, one area in which the victims felt government got it wrong is that of compensation, coupled with the fact that they failed to value the demolished properties.Oke said: “The state didn’t come with any valuer before the demolition began, but individual owners, especially the corporate property owners got valuers but others who were not literate enough did not get any valuer. They did not enlighten us whether to get valuers for our property or they would do the valuation.

“They promised to compensate us, but nothing has come. In a civilised society there should be compensation before demolition, that is what we have been telling them. Right now we don’t even know how much they are going to pay us, on what ground is the payment, how many meters, there is no agreement whatsoever on that, it is an open-ended agreement.”Enimakure, who was also distraught by the development said: “There was no valuer at all, what we heard was that it is those with Certificates of Occupancy (CoO) that would be compensated.”

The residents are appealing to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to quickly fulfill his promise in the area of compensation to alleviate their suffering.Oke stated: “The governor should quickly come up with whatever they are going to give individual owners as compensation, because some of the affected property owners are hanging their things here and there, no specific place to stay. Those doing renovations are using their money, not as if any compensation has been given to them.”

Enimakure pleaded with Ambode to fulfill his promise of compensating them, adding that “there is still the rumour that more demolition would be done that may affect the existing structures. He should please stay action as this may send people to their early graves.”Meanwhile, the state governor, Ambode, has pledged to pay compensation, in the next three weeks, to all the people whose buildings were demolished in the course of constructing public structures around Lagos, promising that henceforth residents would be fully compensated and relocated before commencing construction.

Ambode, who said this at the 10th Quarterly Town Hall Meeting, recently, maintained that his government would build with the consent of the citizens. According to him, any development efforts that do not enjoy the support of the people would not be executed.Also, in a statement by the immediate past Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr. Abiola Anifowoshe, the government debunked media reports suggesting that it was unnecessarily delaying compensation, saying those whose structures were demolished would be paid.

Anifowoshe said the state government had already held a stakeholders’ meeting with the affected property owners during which the details of the flyover project were presented to them.“It was instructive that the stakeholders at the meeting welcomed the development and the Lagos State Government secured their buy-in.

“The government representatives at the meeting also urged the people to submit all relevant documents showing proof of ownership. Our officials served all the statutory notices and even gave more than enough time for the affected property owners to be aware of the removal.“Also, there were newspaper publications to that effect stating government intention and expectations from the people. As a matter of fact, many of such have been submitted to my office and the compensation process has commenced fully,” the Commissioner said.

Anifowoshe said the State Government had to remove its own staff buildings belonging to the Lagos State Development Property Corporation (LSDPC) to give way for the project, because the construction of the flyover is aimed at bringing development and ending the perennial traffic situation in the Agege axis.

“I want to use this opportunity to appeal to all residents of LSDPC in Agege that the Lagos State Government will compensate everyone involved and also to all other private property owners that the government understands their plight and is working tirelessly to ensure that those affected are compensated,” he said.

The commissioner urged all the affected property owners, who are yet to produce their planning documents such as certified registered title document of properties within the said right of way, approved building plan permit for the affected structures and any other relevant documents as proof of ownership, to do so without delay to fast-track the payment of compensation.

“We like to urge them to submit their documents to the Office of the Honourable Commissioner, Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Block 15, the Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja to ensure that all affected owners are compensated appropriately.”

Benue Indigenes To Take On Self-Defense

Still on the Benue Killings, The Benue State indigenes have said they will no longer fold their hands and watch their kinsmen killed by suspected Fulani herdsmen, stressing that they would take on self defense if the Federal Government continue do not take on actions on their security.

They also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare herdsmen “a terrorist organization” and arrest leaders of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) for consistently threatening more bloodshed in Benue State.

The people, under the auspices of Benue Indigenes in Southeast, comprising the Tiv, Idoma and Igede natives, dropped the hint in Enugu, yesterday, during a protest rally against the continuous killings in Benue by herdsmen.

The rally, which was originally billed for the Michael Okpara Square, was disrupted when armed policemen occupied the venue, forcing the organizers to relocate to another venue in the city.

The protesters carried placards bearing various inscriptions like; “we are not happy! Stop the killing in all parts of Nigeria. Please act now and save Benue. Your cows are not more important than human lives, cattle cannot be given more attention than human lives” among others.

They declared their total support for the anti-grazing law promulgated by the Benue State government.In a written statement signed by President of Tiv community, Dr. David Wayas, President, Idoma Community Andrew Tyonongo and David Achi, the Benue natives said: “We call on Governor Samuel Ortom to ensure total compliance and we reject the establishment of cattle colonies in our state. We call on President Buhari to declare the herdsmen terrorists.

“We also call on Mr. President to order immediate arrest and prosecution of Bosso and other leaders of Miyetti Allah who have consistently threatened more bloodshed in Benue State, as well as, order the enforcement of the anti-grazing law.”

Addressing newsmen shortly after the rally, Wayas said it was intended to first of all, register their condolences and observe a brief moment of solitude for their brothers and sisters who lost their lives in the invasion.

He said: “But most importantly, we are here to communicate our position before the world, against the continuous killings and merciless massacre of innocent, harmless, defenceless and very patriotic people of our dear Benue State, who have become the booty in the hand of nomadic terrorist herdsman.

“It is disheartening to note indeed, that the lives of those who lost their lives by herdsmen attacks on our land of course are yet to be quantified. But for the sake of those of us still alive, we are here to say ‘enough is enough’.

“We can no longer keep quiet, we can no longer be silent, and we will continue to speak whether heard or not until those behind this evil carnage is brought to justice. We fought for the unification of this country. Our ancestral fathers fought to unite Nigeria. Benue State fought to bring about what is today Nigeria. But, today, those who call us their brothers are slaughtering us. Today, we are denied our rights of existence.

“Today, we have become refuges in our own country. And yet we have a government, which promise to protect our lives and our property. How long shall we allow this evil to continue to prosper for saying nothing? How much longer? We may not have the weapon! We have a common voice as a people. We have a voice to say ‘enough is enough’. And we have a choice to choose where to belong, as long as these decisions will continue to guarantee our rights to live in peace and not in pieces. We have a choice”.

BAF Describes APC Govs Visit Belated, Condemns FG

Benue Advancement Forum (BAF), has described the recent visit by some All Progressives Congress (APC) governors to Benue State, coming several weeks after the killing of 73 innocent people by suspected Fulani herdsmen, as belated and a mockery.

The organisation, led by its chairman, Professor David Iornem, made the stand known yesterday (Saturday), at a world press conference in Makurdi, the state capital. In an address presented by its deputy chairman, Professor Jerry Agada, BAF wondered why it took the northern governors a long time to pay a condolence visit to their colleague. It said it was equally curious that the visit came only after a delegation of Afenifere, Ohaneze Ndi Igbo, South South and Middle Belt socio-cultural groups had visited the state.

BAF condemned the attacks on children, women and other vulnerable people in Guma and Logo Council Area. It faulted the silence of President Buhari on the killings and urged the Federal Government to arrest those behind the genocide and declare herdsmen a terrorist organisation.

“BAF will also want to state that we do not trust the intentions of the Federal Government in sending troops to Benue, even as the government of President Buhari has not come out clearly to support the anti-open grazing law in Benue. It seems that Buhari’s government does not believe that the Benue State House of Assembly has any right to make laws that are acceptable and beneficial to protecting the interest of Benue citizens,” the group stated.

It urged Governor Ortom to remain courageous and firm, as he has been on the anti-grazing law, which it described as the best solution to lasting peace in the country.

According to the group, “We want to advice further that Benue State already has a law regulating livestock farming and we do not need any other law that seeks to introduce the idea of cattle colonies. Cattle colonies will be counter-productive and extremely dangerous in these times when the menace of insurgency is at its peak.

“Herdsmen/cattle colonies will only provide a safe haven for insurgents and open doors to the likes of Al-Shabab and other terrorist groups who have been seeking hostage. We have died and are not afraid of dying again. We would rather die than have our land and heritage taken away from us,” the group warned.

Police Place N10M Reward On Revealing Information On Hosea Ibi’s Killers

The Taraba State police command has placed a N10 million reward for any person with information that could lead to the arrest of the killers of a member of the state House of Assembly, Hosea Ibi.

Ibi, whose body was recently found in Kwari village, along Kashimbila Road in Takum Local Government Council, was kidnapped December 30, 2017. The Commissioner of Police, David A. Akinremi, said the command would leave no stones unturned at tracking down the killers.

He emphasized the command’s determination to bring the killers to justice. He noted that the perpetrators must “have decided to carry out such a dastardly act in order to divert the attention of security agencies and make sure they did not leave any trace that could lead to their arrest.”

The police command is “more committed than ever before and would do everything within its professional ability to fish out those responsible,” he said, expressing sadness that the abductors murdered the lawmaker. It was an “unfortunate development, particularly when every step was being taken to get him rescued in good health,” he added.

As at the time of filing this report, the remains of the murdered member representing Takum 1 constituency had arrived Jalingo, preparatory to a valedictory session tomorrow and burial.

Eden Hazard: Chelsea’s Charm

A sublime performance from Eden Hazard solved Chelsea’s recent scoring problems in their first victory this year conjuring two goals in a 4-0 win away to Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.

Two goals in the opening six minutes at the Amex Stadium — Hazard’s opener followed by a Willian strike put the team in control, with Hazard adding the London side’s third goal in the 77th minute before Victor Moses wrapped up the win two minutes from time.

This success moved Antonio Conte’s reigning Premier League champions above Liverpool and into third place, 48 hours before the Reds travel to Swansea.

US Based Nigerian Charged With First-Degree Murder For Stabbing Fiance

A United States Based Nigerian, Osa Alohaneke, faces the prospect of spending the rest of his life in jail, after he was convicted by a court in Fort Bend County, Houston of the 2015 stabbing to death of his fiancée, a Cameroonian.

Alohaneke was charged with first-degree murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Jurors acquitted Alohaneke of the assault charges.

It was alleged that Alohaneke used a kitchen knife to attack Epiepang, his fiancée, and her friend, Veronica Taku. Epiepang was stabbed more than 30 times and died as she called 911 operators for help. Screams echoed in the courtroom for more than four minutes when prosecutors played the 911 call for jurors last week.

When police arrived, Alohaneke was on the phone with an attorney, his hands covered in blood. Blood was splatted on his arms up to his elbows, Assistant District Attorney Amanda Bolin told jurors during her closing arguments.

After deliberating for some 13 hours, a jury late Friday afternoon convicted 59-year-old Osa Alohaneke in the slaying of Evelyne Ebane Epiepang, 52. Alohaneke showed no emotion when the verdict was read in court.

US Government Shuts Down On Trump’s First Anniversary

The United States government shut down at the stroke of midnight Friday, halting all but the most essential operations and marring the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

According to Associated Press, last-minute negotiations crumbled as Senate Democrats blocked a four-week stopgap extension in a late-night vote, causing the fourth government shutdown in a quarter century.

Trump’s office issued a statement blaming opposition Democrats for the crisis.

AFP reported that spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the Democrats’ insistence that the interim measure include protection for undocumented immigrants who arrived as children killed the deal.

“Senate Democrats own the Schumer Shutdown,” she declared, referring to the minority leader, New York Senator Chuck Schumer, who met with Trump earlier Friday.

“Tonight, they put politics above our national security, military families, vulnerable children, and our country’s ability to serve all Americans.

“We will not negotiate the status of unlawful immigrants while Democrats hold our lawful citizens hostage over their reckless demands,” she warned.

US federal services and military operations deemed essential will continue, but thousands of government workers will be sent home without pay until the crisis is resolved.

The slide toward closure lacked for high drama: The Senate vote was all but predetermined, and since the shutdown began at the start of a weekend, many of the immediate effects will be muted for most Americans.

Still, it comes with no shortage of embarrassment for Trump and political risk for both parties, as they wager that voters will punish the other at the ballot box in November.

Social Security and most other safety net programs are unaffected by the lapse in federal spending authority.

Critical government functions will continue, with uniformed service members, health inspectors and law enforcement officers set to work without pay. But if no deal is brokered before Monday, hundreds of thousands of federal employees will be furloughed.

After hours of closed-door meetings and phone calls, the Senate scheduled its late-night vote on a House-passed plan. It gained 50 votes to proceed to 48 against, but 60 were needed to break a Democratic filibuster. A handful of red-state Democrats crossed the aisle to support the measure, rather than take the politically-risky vote. Four Republicans voted in opposition.

Even before the vote, Trump was pessimistic, tweeting, “Not looking good” and blaming the Democrats who he said actually wanted the shutdown “to help diminish the success” of the tax bill he and fellow Republicans pushed through last month.

Democrats balked on the measure in an effort to pressure on the White House to cut a deal to protect “dreamer” immigrants — who were brought to the country as children and are now here illegally — before their legal protection runs out in March.

Trump watched the results from his White House residence, dialling up allies and affirming his belief that Democrats would take the blame for the shutdown, said a person familiar with his conversations but not authorised to discuss them publicly.

AFP

CAF Player Of The Year: Time For Nigeria To Look Inward By Oluwashina Okeleji

Perhaps the best way to begin this column is to heartily congratulate African Player of the Year, Mohamed Salah. The Confederation of African Football (CAF) confirmed what everyone knew: in 2017, there was no African better.

He edged out Liverpool team mate Sadio Mane and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, both superb forwards in their own right, to become the first Egyptian in 34 years to win the award.

The point of curiosity, given the final three, was the clamour for Nigeria international Victor Moses as more deserving. This claim was entirely hinged on a season wherein Chelsea took the English Premier League by surprise, storming to the title after an initial wobble forced a change in team shape. While Moses is an intrepid, roving playmaker by international window, necessity dictated that when Antonio Conte needed a wing-back, he was tapped for the specialist role.

Perhaps the fact that Chelsea’s upturn in performances coincided with Moses playing more regularly led most to credit his influence directly, rather than that of a system that made a previously undisciplined winger into a disciplined defender.

Whatever the case, the argument seems to be that, having won a league title – more than could be said for any of the players in the final three – he should win by default. The fact that he did not has now come to be seen as the furtherance of some ancient agenda against Nigerian footballers. Not since Nwankwo Kanu won the second of his two awards in 1999 has a Nigerian been crowned Africa’s best. That’s a long time, but there is a danger of looking at it from the simple point of demographics.

Nigeria is by far Africa’s most populous nation, and football is by far its most popular sport. Just as science has proven, the human brain can struggle to grasp probability: we tend to think that, just because there are more of us, one of us should at least have won once on the last 19 years.

As such, it is convenient for the average Nigerian football fan to invent another reason for the dry spell. While Issa Hayatou was in power, and perhaps mindful of the (perceived) injustices of years gone by (Exhibit A: 1988/2000 Africa Cup of Nations finals against Cameroon), the narrative was that CAF was partial to Francophone nations.

So we hear that Mustapha Hadji won in 1998 on the back of one bicycle kick. Never mind that he scored at the World Cup as Morocco were hugely unfortunate to be eliminated, and that while he was scoring the bicycle kick in question, his closest challenger Jay-Jay Okocha was missing out on the Cup of Nations thanks to a CAF ban on Nigeria.

Look beyond the self-pitying narrative, and it is clear that, in the timeframe, there have been no viable candidates anyway. The aforementioned Okocha came closest, but was unfortunate to mature at a time when Samuel Eto’o was growing into one of Europe’s most devastating strikers. Should he have won in 2003 anyway? Maybe. But even allowing for that, it was still 15 years ago.

There is also the obvious question: why would CAF, or any footballing association for that matter, devalue its top award by being biased? To do that would amount to sabotage.
The simplest explanation is often the right one, but in this case, it is a rather uncomfortable one: our players simply are not good enough. To acknowledge this is to take responsibility, so you can understand why it’s not an easy pill to swallow.

A lack of ambition is at the core of the problem. The average Nigerian footballer sees football as a means to elevate his social and financial status. While there’s nothing wrong with that at all, it is the enemy of that extra push to true stardom.

It is also antithetical to discipline (once comfort is secured), another area in which our footballers fall down. The ability to delay gratification is a cornerstone of the drive for growth. When did you ever hear a Nigerian male footballer say he seeks to be the best player in Africa?

Yet, when Salah stood on the podium in Accra, he spoke plainly of his long-standing desire for the gong, and his intention to win many more. It is the lack of precisely that sort of ambitious thinking, focus and discipline, that has seen, and will continue to see our footballers come up short among their peers.

Herdsmen Kill Farmer in Ogun State

A farmer in his 60s, Adetona Owolabi, has reportedly been killed by suspected herdsmen who inflicted various machete cuts on him in Afon, Imeko-Afon Local Government area of Ogun State.

The farmer was said to have been working on his farmland located few metres away to the newly constructed bridge at Afon, along Owode/Abeokuta road when he was attacked by the herdsmen for challenging them when their cattle was grazing and destroying his farm produce such as cassava, yam and vegetables.

Ironically, the incident occurred few hours after the State Government held a meeting with security chiefs and representatives of various stakeholders such as leaders of the Fulani, Hausa communities and Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigera in order to prevent clashes between herdsmen and farmers and also to ensure safety of lives and property.

Ali Modu Sherif Group In Edo Dumps PDP or F

Edo PDP governorship candidate in the 2016 governorship elections, Matthew Iduoriyekenmwen, the member representing Ikpoba Okha/Egor in the House of Representatives, Johnson Agbonayinma, former member of the State House of Assembly, Blessing Agbebaku have led several others have defected to the APC, saying they left PDP for its impunity.

Iduoriyekenmwen who commended former governor Adams Oshiomole of the APC said “You all know that I resigned from the PDP since September 2017 and I decided to watch and see. I wanted to be governor of the state and if you have somebody that is doing what will do and even doing it better, you have to join him. We believe that our children must have education, government must make life meaningful for the people, I see sincerity in this government, I see sincerity in Governor Obaseki, I see that he doesn’t need distraction, we think that all we can do is to join him ion developing the state. Those of us that will have opposed him, we said we will join him to make the state better so whether you like it or not, Edo state is now a one party state, I want to thank Oshiomhole for providing the leadership”.

The serving Governor Godwin Obaseki welcomed them, “We don’t have new joiners; they are part of us; no difference no demarcation, new comer, everybody is the same.”

Nigeria Develops Ebola, Malaria Herbal Drugs

The National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) says it has successfully researched and developed six traditional herbal products for the treatment of Ebola, Malaria and other diseases.

The NIPRD Director-General, Prof. Karniyus Gamaniel, said this while presenting the score card of his eight-year tenure (2009 to 2017) in Abuja on Friday.

The programme, organised by NIPRD, aimed to present the products researched and developed by the institute and present staff service awards to deserving worker.

He said that ‘NIPRIBOL’, a fixed dose combination drug was developed by the institute for the treatment of Ebola Virus Disease, adding that the institute had completed the Phase I study of the drug.

Gamaniel said that the institute had also developed ‘NIPRIMAL’, an anti-malaria for treatment of uncomplicated malaria, stating that the drug was also safe for use by pregnant women.

Others are: ‘NIPRIMUNE’ an immunostimulant which can also be used to manage HIV in Nigeria and ‘NIPRIFAN’ for the treatment of fungal skin infection.

He said that another product developed by the institute, ‘NIPRD Oil’, could be used as a nasal decongestant, insect repellant, air freshner and an anti-inflammatory agent.

He however noted that excessive use of this oil could cause irritation.

He said that “the institute has also developed ‘NIPRISAN’ for the management of sickle cell anaemia.

“We are currently concluding plans to carry out commercial production and distribution of this product.

“We have developed and implemented various institutional policies for effective governance, this include the scheme and condition of service, intellectual policy and quality management system.

“We have also ensured the introduction of traditional herbal medicine into the national health system and established partnerships with local and international organisations.

“The core competence of NIPRD is in the development of phytomedicines from indigenous plants and products, clinical trials, among others; we are a quality assured institute,” Gamaniel said.

He said that presenting a report was necessary as it would serve as a baseline for the new leadership and provide an opportunity for new strategies to be introduced.

The institute presented awards to over 150 staff for their hard work and dedication to the growth of the institute, and the research and development of traditional herbal products.

NAN