Suicide At Governor Yahaya Bello’s Gate

By Erasmus Ikhide 

We are innoculated from shocks of any harrowing news in Nigeria, however convulsing. This perhaps, may have accounted for the reason we were adjuded by the World Happiness Report (WHR) as the most happiest people on earth in 2003. We’re yet to descend to the lowest rung of the ladder as the saddest people on earth, just to prove Fela Anikulapo Kuti wrong that we’re not “Suffering and Smiling”!

It’s our way of life to wake up every morning to the news that our mothers have been violated and butchered in their sleep or on their way to the market, fathers maimed and killed on their way to the farm, daughters and sisters raped, children sold for less than a quarter of half a million naira.

The frightening trend is so nauseating and callous that you would wish that humanity swaps its place with the animal kingdom because the essential difference between animals and humans which is the ability to self-reflect seems literarily lustrated from Nigerians’ DNA.

Two months ago, a man was sluaghtered on his farm by Fulani herdsmen who came grazing with their herds of cattle over his farm in Ogun State, South West Nigeria. No arrest was made. Last week, in the same state, news of a woman who sold her baby girl came to light, while another lady was butchered by her yahoo plus/plus lover and her body parts such as eyes, breasts, ampits hairs and reproductive organ were dug out of her body!

Prior to that, three weeks ago, the news of Mr. Edward Kehinde Soje’s suicide death seized the country. Mr. Soje was a Kogi State civil service who committed suicide for his inability to draw wages from the state government after eleven months! Another news broke on the 28th of last month that Mr. Biodun Bashir, a staff of Universal Basic Education (UBE) in Kwara State, Oyun Local Government hung himself to death over failure of Kwara State Government to pay his salaries for six months.

Mr. Soje’s suicide death is mind blowing, at 54! He was a director in the Kogi State civil service with a family without salaries for 11 months. But the Kogi State Government said it was owing late Mr. Soje only 8 months salary arrears! Before his death, civil servants in the state embarked on industrial action to protest the non-payment of their salaries arrears with some being owed for upwards of 21 months.

A friend of the Soje’s family hinted that he might have taken his life due to the frustrations orchestrated by non-payment of his salaries coupled with the unsettling news that his wife gave birth to male triplets barely two weeks earlier.

In the suicide note, he quoted the scripture in Psalm 121:3, where the bible says, “God will not suffer your foot to be moved: He that keepeth you will not slumber. Amen.” Continuing, he said: “You and the three boys, the God Almighty will keep you and prosper you, amen. I love you.”

Family sources said that Soje had before the incident been going through a lot of financial pressure due to non-payment of his salary for 11 months by the Kogi State Government. As a way out, he was said to have sold his only car and a three-bedroom bungalow he was building at Otokiti area of Lokoja.

The building, which was at lintel level, was sold by Soje at a giveaway price of N1.5 million in April to meet urgent family needs, it was gathered. According to the sources, Soje’s financial woes became compounded when the wife gave birth to a set of triplets through caesarian operation in a private hospital in Abuja on October 7th.

Nigerians of today are worse than the governments at all levels which use, deride, deprive and pillage their existence because they lack the willpower to demand and fight for their rights. It could be the uncanny reason Nigerians were adjudged as the most happiest people on earth in 2003 and beyond.

If a citizen’s genetic propensity to happiness is measured by care, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance is the basis for happiness, then a nation almost always on the brink of a cataclysmic disaster: terrorism, poor leadership, poverty, joblessness, food inflation, corruption can’t be a happy people.

According to the World Health Organization, as of 2015, life expectancy in Nigeria was 53 for men and 56 for women, respectively – one of the lowest in the world. Nigeria has an ‘alarmingly high’ maternal mortality rate and according to the Paediatrics Association Nigeria, as of 2017, one million children die annually from preventable diseases.

Despite President Buhari’s face-saving or minor dent on anticorruption, Transparency International still ranks Nigeria as 136th out of 178 countries on the Corruption Perceptions Index with a score of 28 out of 100. Is that a pass mark? Poverty is rife as is inequality. In spite the growing youth population, the first ever Global Youth Wellbeing Index in 2014 ranked Nigeria bottom, making it the worst country, of those ranked, to be a young person.

Ironically, a backward-looking country like Nigeria changed that perception of fake happiness in 2011. A twenty-six-year-old Mohamed Bouazizi who had been the sole income earner in his extended family of eight upset the apple cart in Tunis. He operated a vegetable or apple cart (the contents of the cart are disputed) for seven years in Sidi Bouzid 190 miles (300 km) south of Tunis. On 17 December 2010, a female officer confiscated his cart and produce. Bouazizi, who had had such an event happen to him before, tried to pay the 10-dinar fine (a day’s wages, equivalent to 7USD).

In response the policewoman insulted his deceased father and slapped him. The officer, Faida Hamdi, stated that she was not even a policewoman, but a city employee who had been tasked that morning with confiscating produce from vendors without licenses. When she tried to do so with Bouazizi a scuffle ensued. Hamdi says she called the police who then beat Bouazizi.

A humiliated Bouazizi then went to the provincial headquarters in an attempt to complain to local municipality officials and to have his produce returned. He was refused an audience. Without alerting his family, at 11:30 am and within an hour of the initial confrontation, Bouazizi returned to the headquarters, doused himself with a flammable liquid and set himself on fire. Public outrage quickly grew over the incident, leading to protests.

This immolation and the subsequent heavy-handed response by the police to peaceful marchers caused riots the next day in Sidi Bouzid that went largely unnoticed, although social media sites such as Facebook and YouTube featured images of police dispersing youths who attacked shop windows and damaged cars. Bouazizi was subsequently transferred to a hospital near Tunis. In an attempt to quell the unrest President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali visited Bouazizi in hospital on 28 December 2010. Bouazizi died on 4 January 2011 and the president was chased away from the seat of power thereafter.

Where is the Nigerian’s Bouazizi? Why the vocal collapse? Why did Edward Soje not commit suicide in front of Government House gate at Lokoja to ignite Arab-like uprising? Where are the Mohamed Bouazizis of Nigerian that brought down Tunisia and a few of other Arab countries?

Even with the statistics of terrible failures at governance, Governor Yahaya Bello and his Kwara counterpart are still shamelessly parading themselves as “Governors”, after dysmal performances and their failure to fulfil constitutional obligation to pay wages to workers and protect life and property. Yahaya Bello and Abdulfatah Ahmed’s unregenerated primitivity is tolerable in climes such as Nigeria where the people elect to be “Suffering and Smiling”.

Erasmus, A Public Affairs Analyst Writes from Lagos.

Email: [email protected]

Follow me on twitter @ikhide_erasmus1

Yahaya Bello Proscribes Union Activities In Kogi Tertiary Institutions

Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, has proscribed the activities of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of Trade Unions of Tertiary Institutions and all other forms of unionism in the state-owned tertiary institutions.

The governor made this known Wednesday while addressing journalists at the Lugard House Lokoja.

The governor said he respects the rights of all citizens to responsibly associate and pursue their welfare within the ambits of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the laws of the state, the rights of other citizens and the general norms of a democratic society.

Bello added that he respects the rights of labour unions in relation to the responsibilities of the owners and proprietors of tertiary academic institutions.

He, however, accused the unions in the state-owned tertiary institutions of impeding the government’s efforts to carry out holistic reforms of the civil service through their “unjustified and unjustifiable industrial actions.”

The statement reads in part: “The branch of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of Trade Unions of Tertiary Institutions Owned by Kogi State in Kogi State Polytechnic, Lokoja, has proceeded on yet another strike for alleged non-payment of salaries and emoluments irrespective of clear evidence of Government’s good faith and efforts contradicting JAC’s position.

“Evidence of massive embezzlement of the Kogi State Polytechnic’s earnings in excess of N157m committed under JAC’s nose and government’s efforts to bring the fraudsters to justice have not persuaded JAC to work with government to resolve all extant issues bedevilling the institution’s cash flow.”

It added that “the strike has grounded academic activities to a halt and thrown students out of their classrooms into an uncertain fate.

“The government finds the strike in Kogi State Polytechnic unacceptable and consequently declared all activities of the JAC of trade unions of tertiary institutions owned by Kogi State, as well as all forms of unionism in its tertiary institutions, banned forthwith.”

 

Gunmen Kill 2 Policemen, Abduct Expatriate In Kogi  

 

The police in Kogi on Tuesday confirmed the killing of two police officers and the abduction of an expatriate by unknown gunmen at a construction site in the state.

Spokesman of the state police command, ASP William Aya, told newsmen in Lokoja that Insp. Ezekiel Negedu and Sgt. Gini John were killed while on guard duty on Obajana – Oshokoshoko -Kabba road.

Aya said that John died on the spot while Negedu died on arrival in hospital.

According to the police spokesman, about 15 gunmen emerged from a nearby bush and attacked the construction site of A .G. Dangote Company currently handling the rehabilitation of the 45-kilometre Obajana -Kabba Road.

He said that the abducted expatriate, Mr. Jose Machada, a Portuguese civil engineer, along with other expatriates and Nigerians, were inspecting the project when the gunmen struck.

According to him, the deceased policemen put up a gallant fight and resisted attempt by the invading gunmen to wreak further havoc.

The police spokesman, however, expressed regret that Negedu and John died in active service to the nation.

Aya said that the state police Commissioner, Mr. Ali Janga, had a raised a team headed by the Deputy Commissioner of Police and comprising men of Special anti-robbery squad, mobile police force, Counter Terrorism Unit and others to comb the bush and rescue the victim.

He said that Janga had also visited the scene where he met with top officials and workers of the construction company on the incident.
Aya said that the police commissioner assured the workers of adequate security and promised to rescue the abducted expatriate. (NAN)

Kogi Govt. Reveals Why Late Director Commits Suicide

Kogi State Government has revealed the reasons behind late Mr. Edward Soje’s suicide.

The revelation was contained in a statement released by the state Head of Service, Mrs. Deborah Ogunmola on Sunday in Lokoja.

She said that Soje received his monthly salary up till December 2016 when it was suddenly stopped by the government.

“His pay was stopped after proof emerged that he falsified his age records. His confession to the offence is on video to justify government stoppage of his salary, ’’Ogunmola said.

Soje, a Director in the state Teaching Service Commission was found hanging on a tree at the back of army barracks in Lokoja.

He was among workers being owed arrears of salaries ranging from two to 21 months by the state government.

Ogunmola, however, explained that following engagements with the labour which spanned several months, the Kogi governor magnanimously commuted the disciplinary action due against Soje and other certain categories of offenders by granting them pardon.

“Pardoned members staff were processed for reinstatement and payment in batches. Mr. Soje was in the September 2017 batch and he was aware of this fact.

“The Kogi State Teaching Service Commission, where he worked has forwarded a template for payment to government and Mr Soje was aware that he was listed to receive six months back pay.

According to her, this leaves only 2 months (August and September) outstanding.

Ogunmola, who also hailed from Ogori, the same town with the deceased, said government was saddened in no small measure by the alleged action of Soje.

She described Soje as a level 16 officer and a director in the Kogi State Civil Service.

She, however, deplored media reports attributing Soje’s alleged decision to commit suicide to non-payment of salary.

“Edward Soje was not just my staff, he was also married to my sister-in-law. His death is shocking, both as one related to him in some way and one responsible for him in an official capacity.

“I met with him earlier last week and we discussed his situation, including the progress made in resolving his employment issues.

“There was no hint of this horrible decision in his demeanour.He did he appear to me as one who was depressed, let alone contemplating suicide. I am, therefore, understandably shocked by all of this.

“Government condoles with his family, especially his wife and three children. While we will not intrude into their grief over their sad loss, we will stand with them.

Shocking! Director Commits Suicide In Kogi

A Director, Mr Edward Soje has allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself on a tree in Lokoja, the state capital.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) gathered on Saturday in Lokoja that the dangling body of Soje was found on a tree behind the mammy market at the Maigumeri barracks, the Nigeria Army Command Record.

The 54-year-old civil servant decided to take his life barely 10 days after his wife of 17 years gave birth to a set of male triplets in a private hospital in Abuja. The couple had been childless before then.

Soje, a Grade Level 16 Officer in the Kogi State Teaching Service Commission, was being owed 11 months’ salary arrears as at the time he took his life.

He hailed from Ogori town in Ogori -Magongo Local Government area of the state.

He had before killing himself travelled to Abuja and left a suicide note for the wife who also works in one of the federal ministries.

“Psalm 121:3 God will not suffer your foot to be moved: He that keepeth you will not slumber. Amen. You and the three boys, the God Almighty will keep you and prosper you, amen. I love you,” according to the suicide note.

Confirming the incident, the state police command Public Relations Officer, ASP William Aya said that the dangling body of Soje was found on a tree behind the barracks at about 5:55 p.m on Oct. 16.

Aya said that the Divisional Police Officer in charge of Area D Division received information about the incident from the military intelligence office in the barracks.

“Police moved to the scene, removed the corpse to the morgue of the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja. Investigation is still ongoing,” Aya said.

The police spokesman said that nothing was found on the man to help trace his address and family.

However, a search party organised by his relations and friends, found his corpse at the morgue of the hospital on Friday, Oct. 20.

Family sources said that Soje had before the incident been going through a lot of financial pressure due to non-payment of his salary for 11 months by the Kogi State Government.

He was among thousands of civil servants being owed between two and 21 months’ salary arrears by the state government.

As a way out, he was said to have sold his only car and a three-bedroom bungalow he was building at Otokiti area of Lokoja.

The building which was at lintel level was sold by Soje at a giveaway price of N1.5 million in April to meet urgent family needs, it was gathered.

According to the sources, Soje’s financial woes became compounded when the wife gave birth to a set of triplets through Caesarian operation in a private hospital in Abuja on Oct. 7.

The deceased remained in the hospital to look after wife and children until Oct. 13, a day before the naming ceremony when he decided to come back to Lokoja.

On getting to Lokoja, Soje went straight to his bank to collect the remaining N30,000 in his salary account with one of the commercial banks and thereafter informed the bank in writing about his decision to close the account.

He immediately left Lokoja for the hospital in Abuja where he rejoined his wife and handed over the N30,000 cash to her.

On Oct. 14, Soje and wife were joined by two pastors and few relatives to perform a brief naming ceremony for the triplets in the hospital.

He later left the hospital on the pretext that he wanted to pick few things from the wife’s apartment in Abuja with a promise to come back quickly.

But Soje did not return for hours and did not pick any of the many calls made to his telephone line, a development which forced the wife to send somebody to the house to go and ascertain what was happening to him.

The person, on getting to the apartment knocked the door severally but no response and decided to call his telephone number.

On hearing the telephone ringing out from the apartment, the person was said to have knocked severally again but no response, this made him to seek the assistance of neighbours to force the door open.

When the door was opened, the people were shocked when they saw Soje’s telephone handset placed on a suicide note on the centre table in the sitting room while he was nowhere to be found.

When the wife was informed, she quickly contacted some people to begin a search for him in Abuja while relations and friends in Lokoja were also informed of the development.

Efforts made to locate him did not yield fruit until relations decided to visit hospitals in Lokoja, the decision paid off eventually on Friday, October 20 when the corpse of Soje was found in the morgue of the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja.

A member of the family said that the management of the hospital explained to them that Soje’s corpse was brought in by the police, who found it dangling on a tree.

A member of the family, who spoke on condition of anonymity, described the late Soje as a “very quiet and lovable human being. “

He said that some members of the family have been sent to Abuja to break the news to the wife and refused to answer further questions.

NAN

Labour: Gov. Bello Has Condemned Kogi Workers to Wheelchair

The organised Labour in Kogi State says the hardship inflicted on workers by Governor Yahaya Bello-led administration has condemned civil service to the wheelchair

They also called on civil servants in the state to be steadfast as their resolute determination to continue the strike action embarked upon 11 days ago had exposed the propaganda of the state government.

In a statement jointly issued by the leadership of the state chapters of the NLC, TUC and the Joint Public Service Negotiating Council (JPSNC); Olakunle Faniyi, Kolawole James and Isah Abubakar, Secretaries of NLC, TUC and JPSNC respectively, Labour said there was no going back on the industrial action until government met their demands.

They encouraged workers to brace up for the hard times that lies ahead in the course of the present struggle for their right.

“More hard times lie ahead because this government had vehemently refused to open the door of negotiation with organised labour.

“Therefore, be prepared for worst because in the state broadcast to mark 57th independence anniversary, government has not seen any reason to open dialogue with organised labour over the catalogue of workers’ demands that led to he ongoing strike action.

“For the umpteenth time, we are calling on government whose responsibility it is to initiate or open door of dialogue because it is the only approach to resolving disputes amicably for the state to move forward.

“There is a saying of our elders that ‘It takes only one day for truth to overtake falsehood of over two hundred years’. That is exactly what is playing out in our current struggle.

“All the efforts of the combined team of Government appointees and permanent secretaries have not been able to suppress the truth of the abysmal condition of workers in Kogi State under this administration.

“It has not suppressed the truth that workers in Kogi State are distressed, it has not suppressed the truth that civil service in Kogi State has been condemned to the wheel chair. It has not suppressed the truth that LG administration has been knocked down and put on a stretcher. It has not suppressed the truth that some top civil servants have not been cleared and paid for several months.

“Workers would not say all is well when it is not, neither would they say it is not well when it is well. For now it is not well and we are standing to say with all boldness that it is not,” the statement read.

Labour directed members to continue to stay away from work and be law abiding.

They appealed to government to tow the line of dialogue as a sine-qua-non to resolving the industrial dispute so that the state can make progress.

Kogi Marks World Tourism Day

Kogi State has staged a very colorful parade around the state capital, Lokoja, to mark this year’s World Tourism Day.

The parade which showcased the tourism potentials of the confluence state, witnessed motorized caravans, various cultural troupes, artists, showbiz personalities, top government officials and enthusiastic residents, all colorfully attired and exhibiting their talents.

There was a commemorative lecture,  at the Lugard Confluence Beach Hotel, during which the state governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello applauded efforts by the Federal Government at repositioning the tourism sector as a viable alternative revenue source.

He described the 2017 World Tourism Day as a unique one that has drawn attention to the growing importance of tourism to the global economy, as well as the potential for sustainable development.

Represented by the state Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Hon. Mohammed Awal, he noted that the nation has attained great heights in the area of tourism.

He said numerous serious investors whose interest is to transform Kogi into a tourist haven are continually being attracted to the state.

He charged Nigerians and the people of the state to key into the theme of this year’s World Tourism Day: “Sustainable Tourism: A Tool for Development”.

“Sustainable tourism takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environmental resources and respect for host communities. This can ensure viable long-term economic operations so that benefits are equitably distributed among all stakeholders.

“This provides us a unique opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to sustainability and ensure positive impact of well-managed tourism on inclusive and equitable growth that promotes sustainable development and peace, he said.

 

 

 

Source: The Nations

Yahaya Bello: Read Full Text of Governor’s 57th Independence Anniversary Speech

AN ADDRESS DELIVERED BY HIS EXCELLENCY, ALHAJI YAHAYA BELLO, EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR OF KOGI STATE TO COMMEMORATE THE 57TH INDEPENDENCE ANNIVERSARY OF NIGERIA ON OCTOBER 1, 2017 AT GOVERNMENT HOUSE, KOGI STATE.

 

My dear people of Kogi State,

 

I give all the praise to the Almighty God for another Independence Anniversary – the 57th for our dear Nation Nigeria. Everyone who has access to international news media knows of nations which have been confronted with the selfsame challenges that we face here and have descended into war and crises. Today is thus another perfect opportunity for gratitude, if not for the good we have achieved, at least, for the evils which God has kept from befalling us.

 

Poor leadership, corruption, terrorism, militancy, separatist agitations, even a Civil War which ended 47 years ago constitute some of the self-inflicted troubles which we contend with in the Nigerian Federation. Unlike other nations which have proved incapable of working through their differences and have gone up in flames, we Nigerians have had the good fortune, if not the good sense, to keep talking.

 

We may not always speak in polite tones, and our passion may sometimes be irrational, but we have maintained communication, and therefore avoided conflict. This is a wonderful blessing, and we must be grateful to God for it.

 

In Kogi State, I continue striving to exemplify inclusive leadership. I am glad that none of my traducers have accused me of ethnicism or tribalism yet (although now that I have reminded them, they may start tomorrow). If anything, some persons are angry at me for not stuffing Cabinet and other organs of governments with my own kith and kin. I do not owe anyone an apology on this score.

 

From the inception of my Administration, I have ensured that proportional representation of constituencies across the 3 Senatorial Districts as well as the personal merits of individual appointees have determined who serves where in Government. This posture is founded on my belief that one does not effect change by doing the same old things the same old ways.

 

In order to force a paradigm and generational shift in politics, I realize that I must keep justice, equity and merit as the moral compass for Government. The only way politics in Nigeria can change to accommodate more young people in high positions of leadership is for youths already in leadership to demonstrate competence and capacity to lead. I shall not speak for others but I repeat a solemn guarantee to succeed well as Governor of Kogi State.

I know that today is not a day to start reeling out a roll call of Projects executed by my Administration in the last 20 months, but I assure Kogites that tremendous progress is being made. In another 4 months, we will mark our 2 years in Office and I promise that the second volume of a Compendium which will contain all ongoing and completed projects will be released to commemorate it. The first volume has been out since January this year and continues to showcase our verifiable achievements. Till then, suffice it to say that we are racing to achieve as much as time and funds will permit.

 

We are careful to ensure even distribution of projects across all of our constituencies based on needs assessment. All of the 5 thematic areas in our New Direction Blueprint are receiving simultaneous attention. Education, Health, Infrastructure & Utilities, Job Creation & Youth Empowerment and Public Service & Pension Reforms remain vehicles from which to unload our Change Agenda.

 

While Education and Healthcare remain atop our list of priorities, communities across Kogi State are also being provided with electricity, water supply, roads, etc.

 

In Education, we have focused on providing quality learning environment and materials in order to unleash the genius of our students. So much has been done in the sector. For instance, I personally flagged off construction of 240 blocks of 2 classrooms each in 80 Primary Schools across the 21 Local Government Areas of Kogi State recently. Upon completion, each of them will be equipped with modern learning facilities and round-the-clock solar electricity to power the ICT components.

 

I was happy to hear from our Commissioner for Health a couple of months ago that we have met our 4-year target of 100% immunization against childhood killer diseases already. Our statistics on Maternal and NewBorn Health initiatives also show-marked improvement from what we met on ground. Most pregnant women in Kogi State today have access to free maternity kits and care today.

 

Primary and Secondary Health Care Centres across the 21 Local Government Areas have either been renovated or built from scratch and equipped with drugs and equipment. We also recruited scores of medical personnel to help improve access to medicare for our people. 12 state-of-the-art ambulances were bought and distributed across Kogi State to facilitate speedy evacuation of critically ill patients to larger medical facilities in urban and semi-urban areas.

 

Empowerment and welfare programs for our youth and other population groups have been held to one level or the other in all of the 21 Local Government Areas. We have also been lauded as one of the most responsive state to the Social Investment Programs of the Government. Like I said in my New Year message earlier this year, 2017 is going to be a hallmark year for projects.

 

The Administration will continue to apply dialogue where it can make a difference in any industrial dispute. However, at this stage in our Public Service and Pension Reforms, we have a duty to pay more attention to the law, including the Public Service Rules as well as the sustainability of the reforms we are putting in place. The whims and caprices of vested interests cannot therefore be admitted to determine our responses in any way.

We do not understand what could possibly be wrong with putting into the hands of individual workers the tools to determine their own rating (and therefore progress) on the job, even after we have left office. Our aim with the clock-in, clock-out devices which Labour Leaders are rejecting is to empower each worker to leave a digital footprint which authenticates his or her participation during the typical work day. If this aim is defeated, all of the aspirations of genuine and conscientious workers to be assessed based on actual performance will remain a mirage, like in the past.

 

Prompt payment of salaries is still a vexed issue, but we will do our best to keep our workers happy given the competing demands on the income of the state per time. However, it is inevitable that from time to time we must ask workers to stand with us in sacrifice. We hope they will oblige in the overall interest of the state.

 

In similar vein, prompt payment of Gratuities and Pensions is only possible within the ambits of a Contributory Pension Scheme. Like the automation of the workforce, a Contributory Pension Scheme for the Kogi State workforce is inevitable reform. We commend workers who come around to work to the overall interest of the State. We cannot allow ourselves to become deterred from implementing much-needed reforms. We also urge all workers not to be misled as Government is doing everything possible to address the various challenges confronting the workforce. We are a responsible Government and we shall live up to our responsibilities.

 

The Administrations was gratified to be invited by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to send a Team to the 72nd United Nations General Assembly in New York City as one of only four states in Nigeria considered success stories for their implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our Team enjoyed a successful outing at the United Nations Headquarters, made a presentation at the Nigeria side event and signed a Memorandum of Understanding for deeper collaboration with the UN and her agencies. This is good for Kogi State and her people.

 

Let me remind us that the rains are still here and there is still need to remain vigilant against flooding and other associated natural disasters. The most potent tool against flooding is to keep existing drainage systems free of garbage and other rubbish. The next is to be wise and evacuate to higher ground if flooding appears imminent and you live in a low-lying area.

 

On our part as Government, we have designated camps for Internally Displaced People in each Local Government Area deemed at risk, and should it become necessary to deploy a Camp in any locality, Kogites can expect their Government to act with despatch in sending fast responders and launching emergency protocols.

 

As I conclude this address this 1st October morning, in the year 2017, I find myself in bitter-sweet mood. The sweet feelings flow from the GREAT POTENTIALS which Nigeria possessed long before Independence, and which remain unabated despite 57 years of checkered history. The pain comes from bitter emotions evoked when I consider the COUNTLESS MISSED OPPORTUNITIES we have had from October 1, 1960 to October 1, 2017 to transform our great potentials into great progress.

 

The British may have had their own ulterior motives when they amalgamated the old Northern and Southern Protectorates into one Nigeria in 1914, but I believe they also provided us an opportunity which hitherto did not exist, i.e. the opportunity to be much more greater than we would have become as individual tribes or territories.

 

In my opinion, and I think most Nigerians will agree with me, that even though we have not harnessed our gains after amalgamation, the present Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR is making efforts to optimize our potentials as a Nation. This is evident in a more secured Nigeria after years of terrorism threat, we are consciously diversifying our economy to Agriculture and Mining, the very vulnerable are now being focused on using various current programmes and policies – e.g Condition Cash Transfer at National level, N-power and Market Money, Home Grown School Feeding Programme etc. as a State, the GYB Food Security Project, Youth and Artisan Empowerment Project and the upcoming GYB water for life Grassroot Project and finally, GYB Model Primary and Unity School to foster cohesion amongst the upcoming young ones and quality education.

 

I reiterate our commitment in Kogi State and Nigeria where there is room for all citizens and constituencies to achieve their maximum potentials.

 

In the spirit of our 57th Anniversary as a Country, I wish all Kogites, Nigerians and our motherland, Nigeria, Happy Independence!

 

May the Almighty God bless us all.

YAHAYA BELLO

EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR, KOGI STATE

 

Five Nabbed For Printing Fake Currency Notes

By Toba Ajisafe

 

Osun State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Adeoye Fimihan has confirmed the arrest of five suspected culprits for printing fake currency and duping unsuspecting members of the public.

 

Fimihan disclosed this at the Osun State Police Command, Osogbo while parading the syndicate in connection with the crime alongside a suspected herbalist who allegedly specialized in printing fake foreign currency.

 

The fake currency and other materials used in printing, recovered from the syndicate were displayed at the command before the suspects.

In a briefing, Fimihan told OSUN DEFENDER that the operation was carried out by ‘Police Special Patrol Team’ in Ife, Osun State about a month ago when the team apprehended someone with fake currency during ‘Stop and Search Operation’

 

Fimihan said, further investigation led Police to the place where the counterfeit currency is being printed and subsequently arrested the owner of the printing press.

 

He said “In the course of the investigation, a search warrant was executed which made it possible for us to recover other fake currency at the printing press that is located in Lagos.

 

The syndicate who has network around the country was arrested in Osun, Kogi and Lagos.

 

He noted that, the Police collaborating with Central Bank of Nigeria to move the machine used by the syndicate.

 

Fimihan disclosed that investigation is still on-going and the Command is trying to find out if there are others who are engaging in the illegality.

 

Fimihan said, “we know that this (printing fake currency) criminal act constitute serious threat to Nigeria economy.”

Flash Floods: Kogi Government Announces Immediate Evacuation of Nataco Axis

The Kogi State Government has ordered the immediate evacuation of the traders, shanties and temporary structures around the Nataco Junction axis of the Okene/Lokoja/Abuja Expressway in Lokoja following the flash floods that occurred there today, September 7th, 2017.
This is in continuation of the administration’s efforts to protect lives and properties of the citizens of the state as part of the sensitization program being carried out by the Kogi State Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources. The Hon. Commissioner, Mrs. Rosemary Osikoya, said the sensitization program, which began three months before the flooding season commenced, had ensured that, although certain parts of the state, including Lokoja, Igalamela, and Yagba East had experienced some flooding, no lives have been lost.
We wish to implement this immediate evacuation to forestall further loss of valuables and possibly lives in our dear state. We are thankful for the cooperation of all the security agencies, Local Government and State Government emergency workers, all other stakeholders and the good people of Kogi State for helping to minimize the effect of the flash flood. You are the true heroes of this event.
We also wish to call for the understanding of all travellers, both drivers and commuters, who use this road. The road is a major artery connecting the Northern and Southern of Nigeria, hence it is critical that we navigate the road carefully during this period and respect the men and women in uniform trying to keep traffic flowing as quickly as possible.
The State Government also wishes to commensurate with residents, who have lost homes and possessions to the natural disaster.
Relief camps have been set up in the affected areas for temporarily displaced persons to take advantage of. Relief materials have also begun to arrive the locations. Donors and volunteers are also welcome.
Petra Akinti Onyegbule
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor.

Bello Assures Igbos Of Their Security In Kogi

Kogi State Governor, Alh. Yahaya Bello, has assured Igbos in the state of the readiness of his administration to continue to protect their interests, saying Nigeria will continue to be a united entity.
Speaking in Lokoja through his Director General on Media and Publicity, Kingsley Fanwo  on the backdrop of events in Kaduna where some people are threatening the Igbo community, the Governor said he supports the stance of the Kaduna State Governor to protect the Igbos in the state.
“As a nation, our strength has always been embedded in our unity in diversity. Nigeria is home to all and we must continue to see ourselves as brothers and sisters in a united nation. Ethnic segregation is unacceptable to humanity and we must continue to wax stronger and unbroken as a nation. The God that created Nigeria is a God who believes in the strength of unity.
“The Kogi State Government under the leadership of Alh. Yahaya Bello wishes to assure all Igbos that they are not only safe in the state, but that the administration will continue to consider Igbos resident in the state as partners in the New Direction Agenda of the government. Igbos should go about the legitimate businesses in the state as they continue to contribute to our economy as a state and a people.
“With the appointment of Igbos into strategic positions in Kogi State, we are making a strong case for social integration in Nigeria. Let me once more salute the courage and nationalism of the Kaduna State Governor who has shown with his recent actions that Kaduna will remain the home of all nationalities.”
Bello tasked the  Northern leaders to continue to defend the interests and safety of non-Northerners living in the North, insisting that unity is more of an action than word.
“As we strive to move out of the economic recession in Nigeria, bloodshed would only compound the situation. We are the same before God and we should always play up the factors that unite us. We can only be strong when we are united.”
Governor Bello called on Nigerians to intensify prayers for the full recovery of Mr. President, saying the health of the President is “quite reassuring and encouraging.” He said the President is sacrificing a lot for the “greatness, prosperity and unity of Nigeria.”
“President Buhari has sacrificed a lot to ensure we remain a respected nation in the comity of nations. Nigerians should pray for his full recovery as he is determined to tame corruption and drive the nation toward prosperity, responsibility and respectability.”