… Invites youths for Peace Walk to herald ‘healing of Lagos’
Lagos State deserves true healing after the disturbances that trailed last year’s protests against police brutality, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said on Tuesday.
He said only sustenance of harmony can guarantee the realisation of aspirations of all residents.
Sanwo-Olu spoke in a live broadcast held at the State House, Alausa, on the State Government’s position on the recommendations of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry on EndSARS submitted a fortnight ago.
The Governor said the State currently faced the hard choice of restoring harmony or doing itself a great harm, urging residents to join his administration in strengthening harmony and put the State on the path of peace.
Sanwo-Olu asked residents to reject those fueling anarchy and suspicion, clinging to unsubstantiated belief that carried no weight of verifiable evidence, while choosing emotion over facts.
His administration, he said, is ready to facilitate better communication between the youths and the State’s security machinery to resolve issues before they become intractable.
He said he would be leading ‘A Walk for Peace’ in December to herald the healing of the land, extending an open invitation to the youths, members of the diplomatic corps, civil society groups, students and the media as well as other stakeholders to join him in the Peace Walk.
The Governor specifically invited Folarin Falana (Falz), Debo Adebayo (Mr. Marcaroni), Dele Farotimi, Temitope Majekodunmi, Segun Awosanya (Segalinks), Adedotun (Just Detoun), Seun Kuti, Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu and Commander of Rapid Response Squad (RRS), CSP Yinka Egbeyemi and others to join him in the “historic march for our dear Lagos.”
He said: “Nobody will build this city for us. Let us show the world who we are. We are Lagosians. A people of great renown, driven by the irrepressible spirit of Lagos. It is a testimony to our strength and resilience as a people that, despite the huge losses incurred because of these terrible incidents, we have bounced back, with our economy as vibrant and virile as ever. I have no doubt whatsoever that our prospects are as bright as ever and the best lies ahead of Lagos State and Nigeria.
“We will make it easier for our young people to initiate formal complaints on human rights violations through the Ministry of Justice. We will also improve the coordination between the state government and the security agencies, including the police and the military. In this vein, we are studying how to improve security policy formulation, information sharing, and clarifying rules of engagement in times of social unrest.
“Just as we have established a mechanism to compensate all those who lost homes, businesses, and livelihoods to the violent destruction of October 2020, we shall also establish a detailed procedure for the just compensation of citizens with verified claims of police brutality committed during the protests.”
Speaking on last year’s EndSARS protests and the events that followed, especially the hijack of the protests by hoodlums, which led to the destruction of public and private property worth billions of naira, the Governor said the Government, the youth, protesters, the Police and other security agencies have learned the appropriate lessons from the EndSARS protests, particularly the Lekki Tollgate incident, with a view to averting any recurrence to the detriment of the State.
On mixed reactions following the release of the report of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry, Sanwo-Olu said his administration remained committed to the process that would bring a closure to a “painful episode” in the history of the State.
The much-expected White Paper, the Governor pledged, will be issued later in the day.
He recalled that the panel was originally inaugurated to investigate allegations of police brutality committed by the disbanded SARS and in the aftermath of what happened on October 20, 2020, he decided to expand the mandate to include investigating what happened at the Lekki Tollgate that night.
He said: “As a matter of good faith and a sincere commitment to uncovering the truth, we constituted a panel of individuals that we believed were independent, credible, and representative of the various stakeholder communities interested in the movement against police brutality.
“Apart from the chairman of the panel being a respected retired jurist, various stakeholders including the youths, #EndSARS protesters, the police and civil society groups were represented on the panel. I am sure no member of the panel can claim that the State Government made any attempt to influence them in any way throughout the duration of its sitting.
“While I commend the panel for undertaking its task to the best of its abilities, it is however regrettable that the panel’s work and the leakage of an unauthorised version of the report have generated much tension. Sadly, a deep wound has been reopened.
“The heated exchanges among various shades of opinion on the report have unfortunately put us all at the risk of missing the larger picture; the fact that what we all seek in common is a land in which we are all safe and secure, law enforcement agents are trusted, and justice is guaranteed for all.
“We have no intention to engage in histrionics or further inflame passion on a matter that has generated intense interest and controversy nationally and internationally. Our decisions and actions will be based entirely on the law, the weight of evidence, and unblemished respect for the truth.”
Governor Sanwo-Olu, while expressing his administration’s commitment to end human rights abuses, said he has never been in any doubt as to the sincerity, patriotism and noble motivations of both organisers of EndSARS protests and those who participated in the movement to see an end to the human rights abuses by the now disbanded Special Anti- Robbery Squad (SARS).
He said it is also on record that the Federal Government accepted all the demands of the protesters, including the immediate scrapping of SARS, adding that the National Economic Council (NEC) also recommended the establishment of State Panels of Inquiry into cases of police brutality and the Lagos State Government was the first to set up its own panel.
He said: “I can boldly say that no State took the advocacy for police reforms and justice in the face of documented brutality more seriously than we did in Lagos. We have so far paid N420 million in compensation to victims of police brutality, in line with the recommendations of the panel.
“My good people of Lagos State, you will also recall that in solidarity with the protesters, I joined our youths at various points during the demonstrations, particularly at the Lekki Tollgate and Alausa.
“I received the charter of demands of the protesters and promised to pass them on to the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari.
“I kept my word and passed on the demands to the President, who promised to act promptly on the issues raised. However, perhaps as a result of entrenched lack of trust between the government and the governed over the years, the protesters responded to the government’s concessions with skepticism, and the demonstrations continued, even growing in intensity.
“Regrettably, what had been very well organized and peaceful protests were subsequently hijacked in different parts of the country, particularly in Lagos. In the ensuing descent into anarchy, many of our compatriots were caught up in the violence. Several policemen were killed. Public and private property, including critical infrastructure, were set on fire, leading to losses estimated at several billions of naira.
“At that point, I imposed a curfew to restore normalcy in Lagos. We had only one goal in mind: the maintenance of law and order, and the protection of citizens going about their daily lives. This is more than a legal duty. It is a sacred obligation under the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which I swore to uphold,” the governor explained.
STATE GOVERNMENT ON THE PLIGHT OF LAGOS STATE CONTRIBUTORY RETIREES AND PENSIONERS
LAGOS STATE SETS THE PACE ON PENSION PAYMENTS IN NIGERIA
The administration of Mr. Governor Babajide Sanwo-olu is one poised to set a new record in the payment of accrued rights to its retirees as well as timely and prompt monthly pension contribution of over 100,000 state employees.
This fact is known and well established as there is no state of the Federation with such accomplishment. Since the commencement of this administration in 2019, a total number of 9,128 retirees have been paid an accrued rights of over N34 Billion. It is worthy to note that accrued rights of a minimum of N1 billion monthly is also paid to the State retirees’ Retirement Savings Accounts (RSAs). N1.5 billion was paid into the RSAs of 421 State retirees on 3rd December 2021. The status report on the Contributory Pension Scheme, quarterly published by the National Pension Commission affirms that the State’s pension board is well structured and level of implementation of the Scheme is above average. The State operates a structured payment method in clearing its pension obligation and as such, no one is required to disrupt the system.
Mr. Governor’s administration is one keen on ensuring that retirees have access to their Retirement Savings Accounts (RSA) as soon as they retiree as the government is positioned to clear all pension obligations.
Mr. Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu is a passionate man who operates an open door policy and prioritizes the welfare of the state’s senior citizens. His effort was recognized by the National Union of Pensioners who conferred the award of “Excellence and Greater Commitment to Pensioners’ Welfare”, on him at its 11th Quadrennial National Delegates Conference held at NAF Conference Centre, Abuja recently.
The National Union of Pensioners (NUP) is the only recognized association by law and the Government regularly updates the union on the various programs been undertaken by the state in ensuring that retirement is gratifying for its members.
However, it has been brought to our attention of the several antics in the newspapers and social media of a group called Association of Retirees and PFA Pensioners, this group is not recognized by the State Government and they do not have the legal right to represent the retirees and due to past antecedents, they should be discouraged in acting in such capacity. It was set-up by a retired teacher in the State, one Mr. Michael Omisande and whose accrued benefits have been paid over two (2) years ago without any intervention by another one. His antecedents in misleading unsuspecting retirees is renowned
Lagos State Pension Commission (LASPEC), the State’s Agency responsible for pension administration matters had previously reported this group to the Police in 2019 after which Mr. Omisande and his executives were summoned to appear at the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) on issues bordering on forcefully obtaining money from unsuspecting retirees with the promise of facilitating the payment of their accrued rights and the group signed a commitment to desist from such act.
‘Our administration has strengthened ties among arms of govt’ – Oyetola
…pledges to continue to support Judiciary in Osun to perform its role
… Oyetola’s Administration has been very supportive to our cause – CJ, Adepele Ojo
The Governor of Osun, Adegboyega Oyetola, on Tuesday, said his Administration had strengthened the fundamental ties between the three arms of government as reflected in the peaceful cohesion existing in the State.
He said the Administration has given the other arms of government a pride of place to operate without being internally or externally influenced, saying they occupied a conspicuous place in the ranking of Osun as the most peaceful State in Nigeria.
The Governor pledged to continuously strengthen independence of the judiciary, noting that the right mechanisms had been put in place for that arm of government to perform its role as the hope of the common man.
This is even as the Chief Judge of Osun, Justice Oyebola Adepele Ojo, noted that the Administration of Governor Oyetola holds the judiciary in high esteem as evidenced in his continuous support and commitment to strengthen the administration of justice and guarantee the welfare and well-being of judicial officers.
Governor Oyetola spoke during the Special Religious Services and Inspection of Guard of Honour at the Grand Finale marking the beginning of 2021-2022 Legal Year of Osun State Judiciary, at State High Court, Osogbo.
Oyetola who had earlier identified with the members of the judiciary at the Osogbo Central Mosque and Osogbo Anglican Church Cathedral for inter-denominational prayer sessions, acknowledged the harmonious and cordial relationship between the three arms of government in the State.
According to him, the Osun Judiciary has demonstrated on all fronts that it is on the side of the people at all times and it is incumbent on the government to allow the testimony to persist.
The Governor who noted that the judiciary had been part of the success story of his Administration, said “we are lucky in Osun for having harmonious and cordial relationship between the three arms of government as the existing symbiotic relationship has yielded positive impacts and unprecedented transformation in the last three years of our Administration.”
He implored members of the judiciary to continue to dispense justice and uphold the ethics of their profession.
“I therefore urge you to sustain this confidence by always allowing the fear of God and truth to be cardinal considerations in the dispensation of justice.
“You must also ensure that you sustain professionalism and the ethics of your profession that have stood you out as the friend of the common man and the hope of the people in a democracy.
“Our Administration holds the Judiciary in high esteem. We shall always ensure that the right mechanisms are put in place to ensure its independence at all times so that it can perform its role as the hope of the common man and the people.
“The three arms of Government have been remarkably united in serving the people without compromising their independence and distinctive roles under our Administration.
“The Judiciary occupies a conspicuous place in the ranking and recognition of Osun as the most peaceful State in Nigeria in view of its commitment to ensuring that justice is served in all situations and at all times. I thank the Officers in the Temple of Justice for this display of professionalism and patriotism,” Oyetola said.
He said his Administration has been working hard to ensure social inclusion and sustain peace hence the need to institutionalise inclusive and participatory governance.
Oyetola stated further: “The ultimate goal of instituting these laudable objectives is the delivery of a stronger, more prosperous and better Osun. This is only achievable in an atmosphere of peace.
“We invite the Judiciary to continue to complement our efforts by dispensing justice in a manner that will not only ensure peace but make the people to believe in and trust government.
“As you have wisely committed this Legal Year into the hands of God, I have confidence in the Almighty that it shall be a peaceful, eventful and successful year and a prosperous and rewarding one for Osun.”
In her remarks, the Chief Judge of Osun, Hon. Justice Oyebola Adepele Ojo, expressed gratitude to Governor Oyetola for giving the judiciary the pride of place to operate without interference or hitches.
Justice Ojo lauded the Administration of Governor Oyetola for continually allowing mutually-beneficial relationship between the three arms of government, this, she said had helped to retain and sustain the relative peace existing in the State.
She appreciated the Governor for always coming to their aid, saying this had gone a long way to ensure smooth dispensation of justice at all levels.
“The relationship between the Osun State Judiciary and other arms of government remains ever cordial with mutual respect for each other. We must commend Mr. Governor for his good sense of leadership duty and for his prompt response to issues affecting the Judiciary as occasions call for them.
“We are equally grateful to Mr. Governor for his unending love for Osun State Judiciary and we know that with Your Excellency’s support, this new legal year will be best ever in our history,” she added.
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