The federal government in a renewed effort to fight banditry and other forms of insecurity in the state has shut down all telecom activities in Zamfara state. This is barely six months after declaring Zamfara State a ‘no-fly zone’,
This is following a directive by the Nigerian Communications Commission mandating all telecommunication operators in the country to stop extending services to Zamfara and its environs, effective Friday, September 03, 2021.
The tone of the letter which was signed by the Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Prof Umar Danbatta and addressed to the Chief Executives of all the telecom operators in the country, signifies that neighbouring states to Zamfara like Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger, Kaduna and Katsina among others, may be affected by the telecom black-out, considering that signal to or from a telecom tower in Zamfara could extend services up to 45 miles away.
The latest development comes on the heels of a similar directive by the governor of the State, Bello Matawalle who last week, announced the closure of all weekly markets in the state as part of measures to address the worsening security situation in the state.
Part of the NCC’s letter titled “Re: Shutdown of All Telecom Sites in Zamfara State” reads: “The pervading security situation in Zamfara State has necessitated an immediate shut down of all telecom services in the state from today, September 3, 2021. This is to enable relevant security agencies to carry out required activities towards addressing the security challenges in the state.
“In line with this requirement, you are hereby directed to shut down all sites in Zamfara State and any site(s) in neighbouring states that could provide telecommunications service in Zamfara State. The site shutdown is for two weeks (September 03-17, 2021) in the first instance. Your urgent action in this regard is required”
As usual, a conservative Public Affairs department of the Commission is yet to confirm that the letter emanates from NCC as both voices call, text messages and WhatsApp messages to the Director Public Affairs, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde were ignored.
Also, the Chairman Association of Licensed Telecom Operators in Nigeria, ALTON, Engr Gbenga Adebayo also refused to either pick his calls or respond to inquiries on the issue, as at the time of filing this report.
However, some of the telecom service providers who spoke to Sunday Vanguard in confidence confirmed receipt of the directive and have complied with it as directed.
Sunday Vanguard gathered authoritatively that the federal government’s latest move could be a prompt response to a letter dated August 3, purportedly written to an agency of federal government by the Zamfara State Governor, asking for the shutdown of telecoms service in the state.
A close source to the agency, dictated Part of Matawale’s letter to read: “Following the escalation of insecurity in the state, the State Security Council resolved that extra measures for public safety and strengthening the battle against banditry in the state should be taken.
“Accordingly, a task force was set up to ensure that the new measures are enforced. The Council noted that one of the greatest hurdles to combating banditry is the issue of informers, who use mobile networks to communicate with bandits about the movements of troops. The bandits also take advantage of the availability of the networks to coordinate their attacks.”
The source said the state felt that the best strategy was to block phone access to the state so that bandits who always get tipped off whenever a military offensive is being planned, would not be able to communicate with their informers.
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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