LAGOS LEGISLATORS SEEK INCREASED PARTNERSHIP WITH CHINA

. By Chioma Anifowose

The Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly Rt. Hon Mudashiru Obasa has sought stronger partnership of China with Lagos State.
Rt. Hon. Obasa made this known during a courtesy visit by the Chinese Consul-General in Lagos, Mr. Chao Xiaoliang on Tuesday, 30th August, 2016 to his office at Alausa, Ikeja.

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The Speaker, who was welcoming the new Chinese Consul General, said that Lagos State will cooperate in the area of economic ventures between Lagos and China. In his words “ Lagos would sustain relationship with China through you, we appreciate the investments and relationship of your home country and further request for an increased partnership in areas of power, transportation, aqua agriculture, Agro-Allied industries, and more.
While commending China for the positive role it is playing in this critical period of Nigeria’s drive towards reviving its economy, Rt. Hon. Obasa assured Xiaoliang of adequate security for business activities in the state.
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The Chinese Consul-General pledged his support for Nigeria and promised to sustain efforts in solidifying the relationship between both countries. Xialong reiterated his desire for more bilateral relationship, saying ‘this friendship will continue in my tenure as Consul-General’. According to him, the diplomatic relationship which was established 45 years ago would blossom and be of mutual benefits to both countries.

Lagos Assembly Starts Live-streaming Of Plenary Sessions; First Legislative House In Nigeria To Do So

The Lagos State House of Assembly has commenced live-streaming of its plenary sessions.

The record breaking feat commenced on Monday, August 29, 2016 when members of the House resumed plenary after a month recess.

The Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade, who announced the commencement of the live streaming exercise at plenary sitting of Tuesday, August 30, 2016 stated that the commencement of the live streaming would afford Nigerians all over ‘the world to watch the sittings of the Assembly live from the comfort of their homes, offices and even while travelling.

According to Hon. Agunbiade, the need to make the legislative proceedings in the Lagos State House of Assembly conforms with acceptable modern standard all over the world was responsible for the introduction of the live streaming of its plenary sessions.

“The leadership of the House under the able leadership of Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, is committed to taking the House to greater heights through innovations and adequate infrastructure development. Our e-legislative processes have thus been completed with the commencement of the live streaming of plenary sessions of the House. Already, the Twitter handle, instagram and Facebook are fully functioning while the website is on 24/7,” Hon. Agunbiade said.

According to the Majority Leader, interested members of the public can watch the live streaming of the House plenary sessions by logging on to www.lagoshouseofassembly.gov.ng/live.

With this achievement, the Lagos State House of Assembly thus become the first ever legislative House in the country to have its plenary sessions live-streamed to the outside world. Not only that, the House is second only to South Africa parliament in Africa to have its plenary live-streamed.

OIL EXPLORATION: LAGOS ASSEMBLY CALLS FOR STAKEHOLDERS’ MEETING

The Lagos State House of Assembly has called for stakeholders meeting over the discovery of oil in Badagry area of the state.

Some of the stakeholders identified by the assembly include exploration companies, state officials and the host communities.

The Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Mineral Resources, Hon. Folajimi Mohammed said in a Motion he moved on the matter during plenary on Monday, August 29, 2016 that the stakeholders should come together to discuss the socio-economic importance of the exploration of oil in the state and related issues.

Mohammed said that efforts must be made to ensure that the state does not go the way of Niger Delta and other oil producing states in Nigeria, who he said are suffering from environmental degradation with the activities of oil companies.

He stressed further that the discovery of oil in the state has called for the recognition of the state as an oil producing state, but that it was important to consider the consequences of the exploration.

Commenting on the matter, the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa stated that there was need for the state government to be pro-active on the matter and learn from the past.

In his words, “We must safeguard the host communities and we must commend the companies that have been investing in oil exploration in the state over the years before oil was eventually discovered there.

“All necessary infrastructures must be put in place to protect the state and the host communities so that we would prevent what is happening in Niger Delta from happening in Lagos State,” he said.

The Speaker added that the oil companies have to stop production if they have started so that the state government would be better prepared before they start operation.

In his view, another lawmaker in the Assembly, Hon. Rotimi Olowo from Somolu Constituency 1, made reference to the degradation of Rivers State after the discovery of oil in the state, and pointed out that adequate infrastructure should be provided for the people of the area.

He said further that despite the fact that Nigerians were happy when oil was initially discovered in the country, it later turned to a source of sadness with the activities of the oil companies.

This was buttressed by Hon. Gbolahan Yishawu from Eti Osa Constituency 2, who added that a special account should be created for the 13% derivation that would accrue to the state from the Federal Government as an oil producing state.

The lawmaker from Badagry Constituency 2 in the House, Hon. David Setonji explained that he received the news of the discovery with mixed feelings.

He however, expressed fears that the exploration would negatively affect his people, and that a percentage of what would accrue to the state from oil revenue should be given to the area.

He said: “Fishing activities would be affected in the area if the government does not do anything about it. We need Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on the discovery to know what would eventually happen to our people, when exploration starts.

“We should take all the necessary steps so that we would not regret the discovery,” he said.

Another lawmaker, who hails from Badagry and who is representing Ojo Constituency 1 in the Assembly, Hon. Victor Akande said that the oil companies should be made to employ 60% Lagos residents, especially those from Badagry area.

Also speaking, the Deputy Speaker of the House, Hon. Wasiu Eshinlokun, observed that there was need to learn from the past with the destruction of marine life, environmental pollution and oil spillage in the Niger Delta.

He recalled the efforts of the past government to provide palliatives for oil producing states and the people of the Niger Delta in the country, and that the oil companies must tell the state government how they would handle the consequences of the exploration.

The House subsequently adjourned sitting to Tuesday, August 30, 2016.

Deliver projects or face sanctions, Transport Committee Chair warns contractors

The Chairman Lagos State House of Assembly committee on Transportation, Fatai Mojeed has given contractors, Quattro Alchemy and FCC, handling works at Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) and Iyana-Oworoshoki to speed up the works as laid down or face sanctions.

The project at Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) is being handled by Quattro Alchemy while FCC is in charge of three lay-bys and parallel road at Iyana-Oworoshoki.

The lawmaker, who handed down the warning on Thursday while on fact-findings exercise as part of its oversight function noted that tax payers money must be spent prudently.

Mojeed who was accompanied by a member of the committee, Abiodun Tobun observed that the three sites visited were designed to provide lay-bys and parallel road to ease traffic congestion in the state.

It was gathered that the three sites visited by members of the committee were TBS, Iyana-Oworoshoki and Alapere where work were still on-going.

According to the chairman, “If at the end of the day, we are not satisfied with the work done in line with specifications, the House has the right to advise the executive on what step to be taken as regards those contracts.”

He explained further that, “Out of the three projects that we visited, it is the only one at Alapere that the contractor is on the site. They commenced the work in June but I believe they will complete it within the specified period.

“The other one at TBS, the ministry has released 70 percent of the contract sum but with the physical assessment we have carried out, we discovered that only 35 percent of the job has been done but the contractor has given assurance that any moment from now they move back to site.

“The one at Iyana-Oworo and Kosofe axis, the contractors were not on site. They are yet to commence the major part of the work which has to do with the road.

“We have instructed them to move back to the site. We don’t want a situation where tax payers money will not be judiciously spent. The ministry has mobilized the contractor with 70 percent fund.

“The reason we are inviting them is to see all the necessary documents. These are procurement certificate, letter of the award, performance payment certificate, BOQ, which specify the scope of the work,” Mojeed added.

The representative of the Quattro Alchemy at TBS, Omotayo Sheni told the committee that what was delaying the canopy was as a result of issues they had with Customs over canopy imported to be installed on the lay-bys.

Sheni added that, “they have given assurance that within the next four days we will get the consignment,” saying the work will be completed as soon as they get the consignment.

Also Thomas Connighan who spoke on behalf of FCC, the contractor handling the Iyana-Oworo, which has three lay-bys and parallel road, said that the construction of the road had been hampered as a result of a ‘green house’ that was not demolished.

Land Grabbers Would Face Tough Times In Lagos Again With The New Law – Tunde Braimoh

Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State recently signed the Land Grabbing Bill into Law and the people of the state are still debating its implementation.
In this interview he granted, Chairman,House Committee on Information and Strategy, Hon. Tunde Braimoh speaks on why the law came into being and what the government plans to do with the defaulters amongst other matters of interest.

The Governor recently signed the Land Grabbing Bill into Law, how would you react to this?

The law is not a decoration, it has to be obeyed, I have no doubt in my mind that the law would be obeyed by the people of the state. We are not begging anybody to obey the law, whoever does not obey it would face the consequences of the law because the law passed through due process. It was not made by the fiat of the assembly, we had public hearing on it, where we got the input of the people. I would appeal to the people not to misuse their liberty. We cannot continue to allow the issue of land grabbing or unnecessary take over of land to continue the way it was in Lagos State. There is need to intervene on the issue of land in Lagos because it is like the oil in Niger State, a plot of land is sold for as high as N500 Million in some parts of the state. That kind of sector cannot be overlooked because lives and properties have been lost over this. So many ridiculous things are happening in that sector, you would see some people claiming money at every stage of development of a building and they even collect money when people deposit materials on their land. Some people’s fathers claim money for pieces of land sold by their forefathers decades or centuries ago, so we must regulate the way things are being done in that sector, which is what the law is all about. The law is to regulate land so that we don’t turn ourselves to Thomas Horbes kind of society, where everybody does what he or she likes. We cannot allow that.

How can the law deal with some powerful people that are behind this land grabbing issue and ensure that men of the judiciary perform their duties on land matters as expected?

Equity does not suffer any wrong remedy, everybody should be vigilant. People should not sleep on their rights. The law is that if you are in an undisputed or undisturbed piece of land for a period of 20 years, then you are the owner of the land. Of course, if there is a disturbance or litigation, that means something is going on about the land. If there is no disturbance or litigation, it means there is no problem. But if anyone has issues about land in the state, he has to go through a task force or the office of the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in the state or office of Land Bureau to claim the land. You don’t just go there personally, it would be tantamount to violence. No court would execute judgment without the other arms of government such as the Land Bureau, Attorney General of the state and others, who would look at the propriety of the judgment. A case of people trying to resell old land would be discouraged, the government would look at the whole thing. Now, there is a synergy amongst all the arms of government on land matters. The Governor made sure that the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, and the Chief Judge of the state were there when he was signing the bill into law, so the synergy is there. If there is a political will to do something, it would be okay, the law would work and the way it would work is because of the synergy amongst the three arms of government.
The Governor has told the Chief Judge of the state to set up a special court, not a mobile court, that would give room for accelerated cases of land matter. They are specially for land matters and there would be a task force on the matter. I want to appeal to anyone, who does not want to spend a long term in jail no to deal unlawfully and illegally about land matters in Lagos State anymore.

What can you say about the Neighbourhood Safety Corps Law that was also signed by the Governor?

The law is basically about how to raise the consciousness of people about policing. Nobody can police the environment properly like those, who know the terrain. We are not asking them to take up arms. What we are saying is that everybody must be conscious of security. Men of the corps would be organised on gathering intelligence information from the neighbourhood on the issue of security. There is need for an organised vigilance in the neighbourhood. In the past, people believed that if they give information to the police about criminals, the criminals would be told and they would come after them. This one is different, most of these people that forment trouble live in the neighbour hood and it would be easy to deal with them by the vigilance corps. So, everybody would be aware of security and people would be more confident to disseminate information to security agencies.

How many are the corps members?

As much as possible, the government has limited funds for this, but it is not a job, where you get salaries. If we give anybody money, it would be stipends, incentives or allowances. That is why it is Neighbourhood Safety and Vigilance Corps. We expect money from donor agencies and well-spirited individuals. If you look at it critically, some people have as much as three or four security men in their individual homes, why can’t we join hands to have one or two in our area and everybody would be happy. That is what we want to do to ensure a safe neighbourhood.

There is a general economic hardship in the country, what is your take on this?

Yes, it is a general problem, the economy is biting hard. Of course, you know we operate a monolithic economy, we depend solely on oil. This is the first time that the source of financing our budget is divided into three; one is from non-oil sector, the second from non-oil sector, while the third is from borrowing. In the past, it used to be entirely from oil. When the price of crude oil crashed in the international market, we all knew that there would be problem in the country. The way out is that we have to reduce our dependent on foreign spending. We are earning 30 or 20 from outside, but we spend as much as 100 outside, so the simple economics is that the lower the supply the higher the demand and the higher the demand, the lower the supply. We must reach an equilibrium, where the demand does not exceed supply. We must try and see that supply exceeds demand, if our supply of dollars exceeds demand, it would be better. In a situation, where people send their children abroad and they go their for healthcare, what do you think would happen. Look at what our state Governor did at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), we have state of the arts facilities there. They have laboratory equipment, beddings and others. But people don’t want to use them, they prefer to go to a mushroom hospital in India, when they are sick. They import all sorts of things from overseas with dollars. When we were growing up, we used to have motor plants in Nigeria that were producing Volkswagen and Peugeot cars. Then, it was compulsory that civil servants must drive either Volkswagen or Peugeot products, but what is happening now, they drive the most exotic cars in Nigeria. This show of affluence and flamboyance must stop, and we must change our orientation. We must stop our excessive crave for foreign products. There is no way we can get out of this unless we have enough oil to sell. Even if we have enough, the regulatory agency, the Organisation of Petroleum Producing Countries (OPEC) is there to control our supply. When we are given the quota that we could supply, but we are not supplying it because of the activities of Niger Delta Avengers that are blowing up the pipelines. So, we have these multi-faceted problems and the dollars we earn is so low and there is no magic to it. We cannot manufacture dollars. We should change our orientation, I have issues with people each time I travel abroad because of the way they treat Nigerians. Look at what the United States of America did to some House of Reps members, who were alleged to have committed rape, yet they could not proof the allegation. I am not supporting them, if they did it, it is another thing. Nobody can accuse the Americans anyhow, when they have not committed any offence. They are just saying they would revoke the visa of the reps members and they are saying all sorts of things. It is a civil matter that is on probability, if it is a criminal matter, you must proof it beyond reasonable doubt. If America had done it, I would have respected the ambassador, the way he did it was undiplomatic and it smacked of a ready-made mind that they don’t just want us. That is why we should reduce our travelings abroad unless it is very necessary. If we want to train about 10 people, why can’t we bring the resource persons here. It is even better the way they are treating us so that our people can learn.

LAGOS SPEAKER, OBASA RECEIVES VISITING KOGI SPEAKER, HON. MEMBERS

The Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa has received a delegation of the Honourable Members of the Kogi State House of Assembly, led by their Speaker, Rt. Hon. Umar Ahmed Imam.
Accompanying the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa to receive the visiting lawmakers were the Majority Leader, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade; Chairman, House Committee on Information & Strategy, Hon. Tunde Buraimoh, Chairman, House Committee on Local Government Administration, Hon. Kazeem Alimi; Chairman, House Committee on Youth, Sports & Social Development, Hon. Adedamola Kasunmu and Chairman, House Committee on Arts, Culture & Tourism, Hon. Desmond Olushola Elliot.7A4A3206
A meeting was later held between the two states’ lawmakers, during which the Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Umar Imam, informed the gathering that the purpose of the visit was to familiarize with the legislative process in the Lagos State House of Assembly and as well gather more experience on legislative duties.
‘‘We have come as united lawmakers, not as a divided House to visit the Lagos State House of Assembly – a senior Assembly and big brother -in order to gather more experience on how things are done,’’ Kogi Assembly Speaker said.7A4A3242
This is just as the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa commended Kogi State House of Assembly for resolving the differences that ensued among Members earlier this year amicably. He was of the opinion that the people of Kogi State would benefit immensely from the new spirit of fellowship, noting that the Leaderships in the Assembly and the State are interested in the development of the state.7A4A3297
In this regard, Rt. Hon. Obasa called on legislatures across the federation to come together to channel their energies towards creating moral high standards, untainted integrity and determination to assure the people of the Parliaments’ readiness to serve them better.7A4A3227
While declaring that all the arms of government are equal, Rt. Hon. Obasa challenged lawmakers to ‘‘summon the courage to identify ourselves as lawmakers and obtain what is good for our people’’. 7A4A3371 (1)

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At the end of the parley, the Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Umar Ahmed Imam presented a portrait of the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa to him. Speaker Obasa also presented souvenirs such as the Assembly’s calendar, pamphlets and writing materials.

Commendations For Lagos Assembly As Ambode Signs Neighbourhood Safety Agency, Anti-Land Grabbers Bills Into Law

By Chioma Anifowose

It was praises and commendations galore for the Lagos State House of Assembly on Monday, August 15, 2016, as the state Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode signed two major bills passed by the House into law.
The Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa was among guests at the signing ceremony.
The two bills, which are private member bills sponsored by the Speaker of the House are: a law to establish the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Agency for the Regulations and Control of Neighbourhood Safety Corps Activities and for Connected purposes; and a law to Prohibit Forceful Entry and Illegal Occupation of Landed Properties, Violent and Fraudulent Conduct in Relation to Landed Properties in Lagos State and for Connected Purposes.
Speaking at the event in the State House Monday on the new laws, the Speaker Obasa expressed utmost fulfilment in seeing the bills finally passed into law.
Rt. Hon. Obasa said that the security situation in the country calls for concerted efforts at putting in place structures to fight crime at all time.
Obasa gave an insight to why he came up with these bills. In his words, “the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Agency will control the activities of vigilante groups in the state and this will enable a uniformed and controlled performance by these groups’’.
He stated further that the vigilante groups will collaborate with the Police in combating crimes.
“The vigilante groups will be guided by the rules and regulations of the agency and will not go contrary to the provisions and stipulations provided in the law establishing the supervising agency.
“It is therefore imperative that all illegal activities detected by these vigilante groups will be reported to the Nigerian Police. The vigilante groups are not to take laws into their hands but to liaise with the Nigerian Police especially in the area of arrest.
“The Safety Corps Agency will be established in all local governments and local council development areas in the state. For now it will be the alternative to state police as it will engender communal policing aimed at reducing crimes to the barest minimum,” the Speaker said.
On ‘’the Law to prohibit forceful entry and illegal occupation of landed properties’’, Rt.Hon. Mudashiru Obasa said that the incessant activities of hoodlums popularly called Omo Onile or Ajagungbale prompted a great need to bring sanity to occupation of landed properties in Lagos State.
He said ‘’ the overwhelming activities of these hoodlums have given Lagos a bad name when it comes to land and property acquisitions’’.
Obasa said that firm measures are now put in place to curb these illegal activities through the enactment of the law.
The Governor of Lagos state, Akinwumi Ambode concurred with the Head of Legislature saying that the signing of the bills into law would engender socio-economic development and growth of the state by providing the needed enabling environment for investors to thrive.
Governor Ambode commended members of the state Assembly, especially Speaker Obasa for their pro activeness in ensuring the smooth passage of the bills. “The is a confirmation of the cordial working relationship existing among all arms of government in the state which has contributed to development and growth of the state,” the Governor said.
The state Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, Adeniji Kazeem who gave general overview of the bills also commended the state Assembly for a job well done.
Apart from Obasa and Ambode, also present at the event were: the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Funmilayo Atilade; the Chairman of the Lagos Assembly on Lands, Hon. Sikiru Adebayo Osinowo; his Information, Strategy and Security counterpart, Hon. Tunde Buraimo; the Chairman of the Governor’s Advisory Team, Professor Adebayo Williams; members of the state executive council, executive; members of the Ikeja branch of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA); and captains of industries among others.

Lagos Speaker Obasa Congratulates NGE President Egbemode, Says She’s A Role Model

The Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa has congratulated the Managing Director and Editor in Chief of the Telegraph newspapers, Mrs. Funke Egbemode on her emergence as the substantive President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE).

Rt. Hon. Obasa, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Musbau Razak, said the emergence of Mrs. Egbemode as the president of one of the most highly recognised and respected professional bodies in the country is a confrmation of her professionalism and the high esteem she is held by her colleagues.

“I have follow your writings over the years and you’ve proved to be a role model for budding journalists who have the desire to excel in their chosen profession.

“Your emergence therefore, is not only a confirmation of your professionalism but also a confirmation of the high esteem members of this association, one of the most highly recognised and respected in this country, hold your humble self,” the Lagos Assembly Speaker said.

Rt. Hon. Obasa urged Mrs. Egbemode not to relent in using her position as the NGE President to ensure that the association continues its commitment to the protection and promotion of the country’s democracy.

“Nigerians look up to the NGE not to relent in its commitment to the protection and promotion of this hard earned democracy and.I’m sure that the Guild under you will not drop this responsibility,” the Speaker said.

“On behalf of my colleagues at the Lagos State House of Assembly, I congratulate you on this honour and I wish you a successful tenure in office,” Rt. Hon. Obasa said.