Otunba Runsewe Lauds Passage of Yoruba Language Bill

The National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) Director-General  Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, has applauded the Lagos State House of Assembly for passing the Bill making Yoruba Language compulsory in Lagos schools.

The statement was made in Abuja, where Runsewe said if the Bill is given assent by the State Governor, it will greatly enhance young people’s proficiency in the use of Yoruba Language in the state.

Otunba Segun Runsewe, Director-General, National Council for Arts & Culture. He lamented that many youths in Nigeria could no longer express themselves in their mother tongues, adding that Nigerian youths are now being educated with borrowed culture.

“Our language is the primary vehicle for our cultural expression and identity as a people and to abandon our language is to endanger our cultural heritage,”

Runsewe said. The NCAC boss pointed out that many indigenous languages in Nigeria are today facing the danger of extinction because the family and the educational institutions have relegated our indigenous languages to the background.

Runsewe stated that the bold step taken by Lagos State will not only restore the dignity of Yoruba language but will also engender academic scholarship in the language and make teaching and be learning a lot easier.

He noted that learners assimilate better and faster when the language of instruction is the mother tongue than when it is a second or foreign language.

The Director-General called on other states to emulate a good example of Lagos State, stressing that no nation can aspire to any meaningful development without a strong cultural base of which language is very critical.

“The Lagos State example is very significant to our efforts at reviving our fast eroding cultural values and our search for our true identity as a people,”

Runsewe concluded. It would be recalled that on Thursday, the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, ordered the Clerk of the House, Mr. Azeez Sanni to send a clean draft copy of the Bill of making the teaching of Yoruba language compulsory in Lagos schools, to the State Governor, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode for assent.

The Bill stipulates a fine of N500, 000. 00 for corporate offenders while schools in the State which fail to comply with the law face closure and a fine of N250, 000.00.

 

Guns, Drugs Recovered As Task force Demolishes 2,500 Illegal Structures

The demolition of illegal structures at Ijaiye and Bode Thomas in Ojokoro and Surulere local councils this weekend by the Lagos State task force lead to the recovery of guns and wraps of illicit drugs recovered by the operatives. The task force also arrested suspects named; Mr Saka Lawal, Mrs Tawa Lawal and Miss Kausara Saka in connection with the recovered gun and illicit drugs.

 

The demolition was sequel to the directive by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, who tasked the agency to remove illegal structures across the state, especially those under high-tension cables. Confirming the exercise, the task force chairman, Olayinka Egbeyemi, a Superintendent of Police (SP), said over 2,500 structures were demolished with Dane guns and wraps of illicit drugs suspected to be Indian hemp recovered from Powerline Street at Ijaiye.

 

According to him, before the agency embarked on the demolition, all occupants of the demolished structures were served with ‘Removal Order’ notice by the government. He said: “The demolished structures and containers constructed under the high tension cables were an eyesore with miscreants freely smoking Indian hemp, including prostitution by underaged boys and girls around the area.

 

“Wraps of substances suspected to be Indian hemp and other outlawed drugs such as Tramadol-200 Super, Tramadol Capsules RG11 and Analgin Injection 500mg were recovered from the notorious cult group called Adura Boys, who have been terrorizing the area in Ojokoro.”

 

Egbeyemi called on landlords, local councils, traditional rulers and other stakeholders to stop allocating lands indiscriminately and collecting money from innocent citizens in order to erect illegal shanties/structures under high tension cables as anyone caught would be arrested and charged to court.

 

A resident of the area, Mr Eniola Augustine, commended the government for the demolition. He lamented that apart from people risking their lives by living or trading under high-tension cables some members of the dreaded Adura Boys usually escape into these illegal structures after attacking innocent citizens with dangerous weapons.

On Lagos’ New Lease Of Life For Education By Adesegun Ogundeji

According to famous American scientist, George Washington Carver, ‘education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom’. Really, education is critical to the growth and development of any society. It empowers the individual with necessary knowledge and set of skills to actualize potential and maximize opportunities in life.  It is for this reason that governments across the world devote a good chunk of available resources to the development of the educational sector.

In Nigeria, Lagos is unarguably the State with the highest number of public schools, students and teachers. It has consistently been churning out the highest number of candidates for public examinations in Nigeria since 1967.  As a melting point with a burgeoning population in excess of 20 million, provision of qualitative education in Lagos State has been a daunting task.

The current administration in the state clearly understands that the task of making Lagos State “the model of excellence in the provision of education in Africa” requires meticulous attention. To this end, the sum of 92.4 billion naira, representing 11.37 percent was allocated to the education sector in the State budget for 2017.

Government has directed the policy toward ensuring equal educational opportunity in the State, encourage parents who might otherwise neglect their children’s education to send their children to school and making education affordable for everyone. So, within the halftime of the administration’s tenure, the wheels of what is mutating to be a historic education revolution in Lagos were rolled off with an aggressive rehabilitation of public schools throughout the length and breadth of the state.  Several hundreds of classroom blocks have been built and renovated while thousands of students and teachers furniture supplied to various primary and secondary schools.

In line with the commitment of the present administration to expand access to knowledge for Lagosians, the State’ science laboratories are now better equipped and the enthusiasm of students to be science inclined has become very high with a lot of success recorded. Equally, the state government has completed the renovation and upgrade of public libraries in eighteen secondary schools across the State with top-class facilities. Lagos Digital Library, an online repository of education content, is ready and will as well be launched in February 2017.

The Lagos state government appreciates that as much as physical infrastructure is important, adequate and quality teachers in schools are as important.  Thus, as part of measures to bridge the gap in the teacher/pupil ratio in the state, the government recruited one thousand, three hundred (1,300) teachers for primary schools while another 1000 teachers were recruited for public secondary schools in 2016. Similarly, the government has been paying attention to teachers’ welfare.

Also, since April 2017, Code Lagos centres have been launched in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions (private and public) across the State, as well as in all public libraries and ICT spaces. The ultimate goal is for one million students in the state to have access to the coding system by the year 2019.

Cheeringly, the dividend of the state’s investment in education is paying off. For instance, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode was declared the “Teachers Most Friendly Governor” by the Nigeria Union of Teachers during the celebration of the last World Teachers’ Day in Abuja. The same day, President Muhammadu Buhari rewarded the hard work, high performance and high productivity of three Lagos State School teachers and administrator with the “President’s Teachers and Schools Excellence Award”. Nominees of the State clinched three out of the nine categories of award available to contestants from 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

The awardees, Mrs. Lufadeju Dolapo Olufunke received the Best School Award on behalf of Ojodu Junior Grammar School, Ikeja. The “Best School Administrator Award” (Senior Secondary School category) went to Mrs. Oluderu Bilikisu Oluwaseyi of Magbon Alade Senior Grammar School while Mrs. Adelegan Moronike Sarat of Civil Service Junior Model College, Igbogbo was selected as the First Runner up, Best Administrator of the Year 2017.

Earlier, five students of Lagos State public secondary schools had excelled at the Y2017 National Robot Olympiad and qualified to represent Nigeria at the World Robot Olympiad to be held in Costa Rica. It is worthy of note that Lagos State has been representing Nigeria in this competition since 2015.

On September 22nd, 2017, Oluwasegun Durojaiye of Lagos State Model College, Igbokuta qualified to represent the South-West Zone at the National Finals of the NNPC Science Quiz Competition and Atabo Ufedejo of Model College, Kankon emerged one of the best students at the national finals of the 2017 Oluwole Awokoya Chemistry Competition held in Kaduna from 17th to 22nd September, 2017.

Lagos State took the first position in the National Free Choice (Senior) Project presented by the students of Government Technical College, Agidingbi at the 2017 National Junior Engineers, Technicians and Scientists (JETS) competition in March, 2017. The State won 10 trophies and 10 medals at the event and 7 of the trophies won went to State public schools students.

Also, Seven Students/Teachers from the State Public Schools were awarded medals and Certificates at the 2017 edition of National Mathematics and Science Olympiad award ceremony organized by the National Mathematical Centre, Abuja.

The Key Performance Indices of the Education Sector is not limited to competition awards as the State has made tremendous progress in external examinations since Y2015. The result of the States performance at the 2017 WASSCE is put at 66% pass in at least 5 subjects including English and Mathematics, compared to the 50.41% in 2016, 37.27% in 2015 and 21.22% in 2014.

The question that comes to mind from the above is this: Is there a nexus among these various achievements? The answer, of course, is yes! Teachers’ training and staff welfare have been given priority attention with teachers’ salary being consistently paid regularly on the 23rd day of every month.

It is also on record that all eligible teachers since 2015 to date have been promoted as at when due while 2,320 (Two Thousand Three Hundred And Twenty) Officers were trained between May 2016-17 and much more has been done thereafter.

Car loans were awarded to 425 beneficiaries to the tune of N30, 302, 252.75k, N30 million Housing Loan was approved for 55 (fifty-five) beneficiaries in the teaching service and 4601 pensioners on the payroll of the Teachers Establishment and Pensions Office were paid regularly.

To further encourage service delivery, Education Merit Award is organized annually in honour of outstanding performers in the various categories of Award in the Education Sector of Lagos State. More than 100 Education Merit Awards are given out with the Star prize being a brand new car awarded to the Best Teacher in both the Primary-Secondary School Categories.

Apart from improved teachers’ welfare, the state government’s huge investment in education infrastructure contributed immensely to the improved status of education in the State. Fortunately, the state government isn’t resting on its oars as it is poised to do more in the months ahead.

Ambode: We’ll Construct 224 Roads In 6 Months

Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode yesterday while addressing guest at the fourth quarter 2017 town hall meeting, promised that no fewer than 224 roads would be comprehensively reconstructed in the next six months.

The governor said 181 of the roads would be local council roads while the remaining 43 would be major link roads. He however used the occasion to call on Traditional rulers to support the Neighbourhood Safety Corps and cooperate with security agencies, to curb crimes across the state.

Ambode, who said a database of all artisans in the state was being compiled to enable them improve their business through financial support from the Employment Trust Fund (ETF), warned against discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, age or religion, especially old people, in the disbursement of the fund.

The governor also promised to look into the challenge of accessing lands paid for by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and a retiree.Meanwhile, the state House of Assembly has questioned governor’s letter requesting it to re-order the 2017 budget.Upon the second reading of the letter yesterday by the Clerk, Azeez Sanni, during plenary session, Chairman, Appropriation Committee, Rotimi Olowo, said the House needed more information and clarification from the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

Olowo disclosed that the January-June budget performance report from the Executive and interaction with MDAs proves that funds meant for projects were not released even as the Executive is seeking to re-order the same budget.

All the lawmakers, who contributed to the debate, including Speaker of the House, Mudashiru Obasa, agreed that the Executive should give more clarification and information on the re-ordering bill before the House could consider its request.

Ambode: A Quiet but Virtuoso Performance by Adewale Adeeyo

In his 27 years as a civil servant in Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode was a quiet, solid achiever of immense gifts and remarkable ethos. With a bachelor’s and master’s in accounting, he was focused early enough to start his working career from the modest position of assistant treasurer, Badagry Local Government in 1988. Nearly three decades later, and after a number of courses within and outside the country, the brilliant and hardworking civil servant had risen to the position of a permanent secretary and accountant-general, even holding both positions at a time.

His accomplishments were staggering; but what was even more astonishing was the quiet manner he rose through the ranks and left a lasting impact.

It was, therefore, not surprising that less than three years after he voluntarily retired from the civil service, and with the same quiet dignity and self-effacement that have become his hallmarks, Ambode, 54, was back in government, this time at the highest level in Lagos State as its third Fourth Republic elected governor. It is not certain, despite his hardwork and accomplishments, whether he thought that amazing political trajectory possible. It is not even clear, though he has great mentors, whether a year before he assumed office as governor, anyone thought to make a political gladiator of the self-effacing financial and administrative manager.

Thirty years after he first signed up to work for the Lagos State government, through which he rose to be a consummate civil servant and adept financial manager, Ambode had become governor in extraordinary circumstances. He was indisputably sound as an auditor and accountant, even a chartered accountant, but not many, including perhaps some who voted for him in 2015, were absolutely convinced that the seemingly quiet and unpretentious financial expert and latter-day politician could muster the élan and charisma to lead the boisterous coastal state which recently celebrated its 50 years of founding. Ambode had come highly recommended by a past governor, the pacesetting iconoclast, Bola Ahmed Tinubu. And having excelled in school, he had acquired the character of showing grit, determination and uncommon brilliance. But he did not seem a natural politician, not to talk of being a lawyer and career rabble-rouser – these were the sort of people believed capable of succeeding as administrators and politicians. Ambode was different, confidently and quietly so.

But he was not the usual politician Lagosians had grown accustomed to over the decades. Indeed, shortly after he was sworn into office, the most populous state in Nigeria seemed to experience some stasis, unable to respond to the new governor’s novel methods.

But less than two remarkable and astounding years later, after Ambode had executed dozens and dozens of quality and, in some instances, expansive projects one after another, it was as if the state had been waiting for him all along with bated breath. Both Ambode and Lagos were made for each other, after all. He has not yet forsworn his self-confident disposition, yet his achievements have both been recognised and lauded, often very loudly, as if to compensate for his quietude.

Charisma is not usually associated with quiet detachment; but in the case of Ambode, his achievements have illustrated his sometimes impalpable charisma. And as every analyst knows, it is indeed possible to possess charisma without a corresponding or even ethical demonstration of progress. Ambode defies stereotypes and confounds propositions by his relentless and ironically charismatic accomplishments.

Far beyond the number and quality of Ambode’s monumental projects is the scientism of his methods, the integrated network of projects and programmes that blend with one another and create a seamless, impactful whole. Whether road projects or school and health facilities, or whether security or human development programmes, Ambode’s strides in two years possess at once a certain abstractness and concreteness.

It would be flattering to suggest that Lagos has a perfect cabinet. It probably doesn’t. However, given the achievements recorded in the past two years, and the peace and cooperation abiding in the cabinet, they are a reflection of the cerebral quality of the governor and his leadership skills as well as an indication that he has a critical mass of commissioners and heads of agencies to help him transform theory into practice. Importantly too, as is the nature of politics generally, the remarkable progress Lagos has made under Ambode reflects excellently on his interpersonal relations and financial management skills.

No matter how brilliant a cabinet, if the leader is not equally or better endowed, there would be no one to set the pace and direction. If Lagos is presenting itself as an example for other states and attracting attention from within and outside the African continent, it is an indication that a vision is in place and is being remolded and refined, and a leader possessing character and confidence is also running the show.

What is most remarkable about the solid and frenzied pace of development in Lagos today is its spread, both spatially and intrinsically. Spatially, projects are sited in concentric circles in all the senatorial districts of the state constituencies, and wards. And in one way or the other there is an engaging interconnectedness in nearly all the projects so that they can integrate forward and backward and hum synergetically to make life liveable in the Lagos megacity. Intrinsically, ongoing projects include roads, bridges, hospitals, security, apparatuses and many legacy monuments. The Epe axis is being opened up grandly.

Alimosho axis is being transformed into a behemoth, Oshodi is on the way to experiencing one of the most modern renewals ever, Lekki is enjoying a very thoughtful design makeover, and a new security architecture called neighbourhood security watch is already assembled. All these renewals and re-engineering have been made possible because they were predicated on a masterful re-engineering of the state’s financial infrastructure.

It is perhaps fitting that Ambode is in the saddle as the state marks 50, having been created in May 1967. He is fortunate to have predecessors like Asiwaju Tinubu who laid the foundations, and Babatunde Raji Fashola who built on that foundation. Ambode has placed himself appropriately to build on the works of his predecessors, and to take the megacity project to dizzying heights. As a former civil servant, he knows how to drive the civil service and get the best out of it. As a career financial manager, he has reorganised the state’s finances and put it on an even keel to make it work for the state. As a thinker and scholar, he has designed practical and engaging ways to get things done and make the state and himself respond adequately like a scientist to the challenges of statehood. And like a deep thinker, he has primed himself, standing on the shoulders of his predecessors, to envision an incredibly expansive, surefooted and glorious future for Lagos.

That Ambode is able to achieve these great strides without the accompanying and distractive noisemaking politicians are so often and clearly besotted to is a testimony to his idiosyncratic resolve to leave a mark and legacy in Lagos. He is just half way into his first term. By the end of the first term, and at the rate he is going, not to say the fluidity of his rhythm, he is expected to accomplish so much more, even as many of the legacy projects begun months back start to manifest in their splendor.

The clincher for many Lagosians and South-Westerners is that, far beyond working wonders in Lagos State, Governor Ambode is also deeply thoughtful, philosophical and ideologically expansive. His pursuit of regionalisation, where his predecessors had been fairly isolationist, speaks to his mindset as a true and well-bred son of the soil. He did not wait to be persuaded; and did not ask to be wooed. His instincts told him regionalism was right and did not detract from the state’s independence nor violated the constitution, nor yet flouted the unity and integrity of the nation. No sooner was he sworn in than he asked to be integrated into the Oodua Group, and its think-tank arm –the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria Commission.

There is no telling what six more years of Ambode will do for Lagos and the South-West. He has started well, worked well, thought well and from all indications, will finish well.

Dr. Adeeyo, OFN, is a member, Governing Council, Adeleke University, Ede, Osun State.

Abuja’s Ploy to Diminish Lagos by Emeka Obasi

We all get to learn everyday for knowledge is power. Pretty soon we shall begin to hear agitations from aggrieved Lagosians. This is the season of change, things just cannot remain the same.

When Justice Akinola Aguda was given the task of heading a committee on a new capital for the country in 1975, I doubt if he reasoned that moving from Lagos would leave scars, holes and potholes. Eko today has become the centre of abandoned Federal Government buildings, roads and projects.

Ambode
Recent revelations by Finance Minister , Kemi Adeosun, that Lagos State generates 55 percent of the country’s VAT should be of interest to all sane minds. The State is also the hub of our Maritime trade, with a huge contribution of 70 percent. The import is that Lagos means a lot to the nation’s survival.

Despite these contributions, Lagos is pathetically neglected by the Federal Government. Honestly, it does not have anything to do with President Muhammadu Buhari. It also does not have much to do with the ruling party. Count tribe out of it. Hausa/Fulani, Gwari, Yoruba, Ijaw, all our leaders are guilty.

Alhaji Shehu Shagari began the move to Abuja. Unfortunately, he lost his position while resting in the new Federal Capital Territory. Maj. Gen. Buhari operated from Lagos where he was toppled by Gen. Ibrahim Babangida. The military President was to relocate completely to Abuja after escaping death by a whisker during the Gideon Orkar coup of April 1990.

From December 12, 1991 when Babangida dragged power to Abuja till date, Lagos has remained an abandoned old Lady in the books of Abuja. In fact, Abuja behaves like a gold digger, only interested in the wealth of Lagos. Much of the income from Lagos is spent freely while the provider wallows in broken promises.

It is difficult to understand why Lagos should continue to have 20 Local Government Areas while Kano State accounts for 44. Lagos was one of the 12 States created by General Yakubu Gowon in 1967 just like Kano. That same Kano today, consists of Kano and Jigawa States. Jigawa is made up of 27 Local Government Areas.

In sharing revenue, the number of LGAs counts a lot. The import is that while Lagos makes most of the money, the state gets less from Abuja than Kano, Jigawa and so many others. And when Governor Bola Tinubu created 57 LGAs in Lagos, Abuja starved the state of funds.

Of the 12 states created in 1967, only Lagos has continued to stagnate in terms of expansion. Others were balkanised by subsequent federal governments. This is the height of injustice. At the time of creation, three Provinces: Ikeja, Epe and Badagry were added to the Federal Territory of Lagos.

It should be noted that after the amalgamation on Thursday, January 1, 1914, Nigeria was divided into three. There were the Southern provinces under Lieutenant Governor A.G. Boyle,the Northern provinces led by Lieutenant Governor Charles Lindsay Temple and Lagos Colony under the leadership of Administrator F.S. James.

Going down memory lane, Eko began to gain attention when Portuguese merchant, Ruy de Sequeira named it Lagos de Kuramo which subsequently became Lagos. When the British arrived with their gunboats and warships, the Lagos Act of Cession, 1861,made Lagos their colonial territory. On March 5, 1862, it became a Crown Colony and remained a British colony until 1960.

That was the situation when the three regions were created. By 1963, when Midwest was carved out, Lagos became a Federal Capital Territory. In 1967, it turned to a state taking three provinces from the old Western region. At that time, Abuja was one of the seven provinces of the new North-Western State.

The idea that Abuja was a virgin territory makes no sense. The name had been there before Aguda was sent to look for the centre of Nigeria, to be named capital in place of Lagos. Abuja was coined from Abubakar Jatau, an Hausa Prince from Zaria. One of the early settlers, he was.

It is disturbing that Lagos which had an Acting Governor in William McCoy in August 1861 and a substantive governor: William Stanhope Freeman,as from 1862 continues to be treated with disdain by the Federal Government in Abuja. This policy is not healthy at all.

Recently Senator Oluremi Tinubu’s attempt to free Lagos from Abuja humiliation through sponsoring a bill to grant the state special status was thrown away by majority of her colleagues. It is unfortunate that many of these lawmakers benefit so much from wealth created in the former federal capital.

I am going to throw a challenge to the very powerful Lagosians who are in power today. There is no better time to free Lagos from this Abuja approved underdevelopment than now. Asiwaju Tinubu was governor of Lagos for eight years. I call him the governor general of Nigerian politics. And he is the soul of the ruling party.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was a Commissioner in the Tinubu Administration. Senate President, Bukola Saraki is married to a Lagos woman. Triple Minister, Babatunde Fashola, was governor of Lagos between 2007 and 2015.If all these men do not do something to help our Lagos, their Lagos, it will take a long while to change things.

Yes, Lagos our Eko. There is no village in Nigeria that is not represented in Lagos. It is the easiest place to make it big. There are opportunities for all. It is like the Nigeria of our founding fathers. You have people from various backgrounds making laws. Now tell me why Abuja should abandon the National Stadium, Surulere. The Federal Secretariat, Ikoyi is an eyesore. The road to Apapa Wharf is a Memorial Park. Going to the Murtala Mohammed Airport is like death sentence.

Lagos To Punish Fake Emergency Callers

The Lagos State Commissioner for Special Duties and Inter-governmental Relations, Mr Oluseye Oladejo, has yesterday said that it would begin to punish residents who make fake emergency calls to its emergency agencies.

Oladejo said this during a press briefing on the state government emergency disaster preparedness summit themed, ‘Promoting and sustaining integrated response to emergencies within the golden hour’ slated for 26th to 27th September at the Public Service Staff Development Centre.

He expliained that false emergency calls divert emergency officers from real disasters that they needed to attend to and they put the officers under pressure.

Oladejo also said it was to ensure better response to emergency issues through being highly prepared is the reason it is holding the third edition of its emergency disaster preparedness summit.

“To prepare for the challenges associated with sustainable preparedness, there is the need to understand the nature and causes of emergency situations and disasters.

“As a government that is committed to safety and well being of Lagosians, this administration has set these two days aside to plan, partner and share experiences with governments and organisations to ensure that the capability improvement process is strengthened.

“Upholding this commitment however requires collaboration among stakeholders in order to increase our level of preparedness and response whenever disaster strikes.”

Lagos Opens ‘Nigeria’s First DNA Laboratory’

The Lagos State Government on Sunday announced the completion of the first high-power DNA Forensic Laboratory in Nigeria.

The States Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Adeniji Kazeem who revealed this in a statement said skeletal work had already commenced in the lab known as the Lagos State DNA Forensics Centre (LSDFC), and that it would be formally commissioned in coming weeks.

The State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, had last year approved the construction of the DNA forensic lab as part of the criminal justice sector reforms designed to solve crime through technology and fulfill an unmet need for DNA profiling in the country.

Speaking at a press briefing in Lagos to announce activities lined up by the state government to commemorate the 2017 United Nations International Day of Peace, Mr. Kazeem said DNA laboratory “just opened this month.”

The state’s Attorney General, who was represented at the briefing by Funlola Odunlami, the State’s Solicitor General and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, said the lab, among other initiatives of the state government, was part of efforts geared toward enhancing peace in the State.

“We are yet to commission it but it has been opened and it is a DNA crime forensic lab and at the same time, it is going to deal with other DNA matters like paternity issue,” said Mr. Kazeem.

He recalled that since 2007, the state government through the Citizens’ Mediation Centre (CMC), an agency under the Ministry of Justice, commenced collaborations with the United Nations Information Office to mark the International Day of Peace as an annual event to propagate the ethos of peaceful co-existence among residents in the State, thereby educating and sensitizing the public on the need for peaceful co-existence and respect for human dignity to engender socio-economic growth.

Mr. Kazeem said the laboratory is one of the mechanisms put in place by the government to promote investment and economic activities in the state.

Speaking of activities to mark the 2017 edition of the day tagged “Together For Peace: Respect, Safety, and Dignity For All,” Mr. Kazeem said on September 18, there would be a Walk for Peace/Legal Clinic on Ikorodu Road precisely from Funsho Williams Avenue through Ojuelegba to Yaba, while on September 19, the second Walk for Peace/Legal Clinic will hold at Jubilee Under-bridge in Ajah through Ibeju Lekki Expressway and back to the bridge.

On the same day, Mr. Kazeem said the CMC would hold a Legal Clinic at both venues where free legal services and mediation services will be rendered to residents of the state, while on September 21, the 18th Stakeholders’ Conference and Book Launch would hold at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium in Alausa to mark the day.

Every year, September 21 is observed as the International Day of Peace as declared by the General Assembly of United Nations as a day devoted to strengthening ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.

Five Men Arrested For Rail Vandalisation In Lagos

Five suspects have been arrested by the operatives of the Rapid Response Squad, RRS, of the Lagos Police Command for stealing 28 iron ballasts meant for rail lines in some parts of Lagos metropolis. OSUN DEFENDER discovered that three of the five suspects were ex-convicts.

The five suspects, who said they are scrap metal dealers, were intercepted inside a Vanagon bus with the registration number JJJ 929 EL by the operatives at 1:15 a.m on Friday in Agege area of Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.

The suspects include: Hameed Atairu (25), Akeem Muritala (23), Lawal Muritala (25), Tunde Olaunji (27) and the driver of the bus, Sarafa Ishola (38).

The suspects in their statements to the police stated that an official of the Nigerian Railway Corporation sold the iron to them.

However, preliminary investigations by the police revealed that the iron ballast were stolen from where they were kept for use.

Further investigations revealed that the iron ballast were meant for the basement of rail lines.

The suspects explained that they raised N35,000 among themselves to pay for the iron ballast.

Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Olarinde Famous – Cole confirmed the arrest of the five suspects.

He said that the suspects along with the exhibits recovered from them had been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti for further investigation.

Lagos Opens Nigeria’s First DNA Forensic Lab

Lagos State’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Adeniji Kazeem has revealed that Lagos State Government has completed the construction of the first ever high-powered DNA Forensic Laboratory in Nigeria. The project which was approved last year by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has resume “skeletal” operations and will be commissioned in coming weeks.

At a recent press briefing, Kazeem disclosed through the State’s Solicitor General and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Mrs Funlola Odunlami, that “The DNA forensic centre just opened this month. We are yet to commission it but it has been opened and it is a DNA crime forensic lab and at the same time, it is going to deal with other DNA matters like paternity issue. What we are doing now is skeletal work which we started this month.

“The Lagos State Government recognizes the fact that the State is the commercial nerve centre of the sub-Saharan Africa where all races converge for various purposes such as business, hospitality, tourism among others, and has put in place mechanisms that will foster development and promote economic activities in the State by instituting agencies that will attend to matters relating to Land Grabbers, Special Task Force, donation of police vehicles for security, introduction of DNA Forensic laboratory to archive blood samples of criminals, among others. All these actions are geared toward enhancing peace in Lagos State.