Breaking: Desist from extorting Courier/Logistics Operators, Lagos Assembly orders LGs, LCDAs

The Lagos House of Assembly on Monday ordered Local Government councils and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in the state to desist from extorting and harrassing operators of courier and logistics services in the state.

This was as the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. (Dr) Mudashiru Obasa, emphasised that local government councils and LCDAs so not have the power to tax logistics and courier services. He said the power of the councils was limited to registration of bicycles as dictated by the constitution of the country.

Obasa said it was lamentable, especially as such acts affect ease of doing business “and it is very important that we do something about it.

“We have to make them understand that going out to disturb well-planned and organised businesses that stand to create employment for our youth especially with the rate at which students graduate with nothing much to do is not good at all.

“The services of courier services reduce poverty in the state and how much do they even charge?

“Local governments have nothing to do with the registration of motorcycles and tricycles. Operators of courier and logistics services should not be made to pay in all the local governments considering what they charge for their services.”

The House therefore resolved that local government councils should be aware of their limitations in this regard as well as stop using alleged touts and street urchins to collect revenues in other areas where they are legally empowered.

In the decision of the House which followed a motion earlier moved by Hon. Ganiu Sanni Okanlawon (Kosofe 1), the lawmakers further resolved to call on the Lagos State Government to direct the Commissioner for Transportation and other relevant agencies to ensure that operators of courier services and logistics are not harrassed by the local governments.

The House also directed the state Commissioner of Police to ensure that all extortionists in the state are apprehended.

“The House calls on Local Governments and LCDAs to desist from harrasing and extorting operators of courier and logistics services and restrain their traffic department from doing so.

“The Ministry of Information and Strategy should educate operators of Courier and Logistics Services and informed them about what is expected of them,” Okanlawon said.

Okanlawon stated that the laws and restriction orders on the ban of motorcycles in some areas in the state exempted the movement of motorcycles of courier and logistics services.

In his contribution, Hon. Bisi Yusuff said that the motion was timely and that the use of local government taskforce to deal with operators of courier services was an embarrassment to the state government.

According to Yusuff, some operators took some local governments to the court on the issue in the past and won.

Leader of the House, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade, said that courier and logistics services help people in different areas to interact with their customers.

Agunbiade added that the operation had a way of boosting the economy of the state and empowering the people through employment.

“The motion did not say they should not be regulated. A courier service should not pay from one local government to the other or else it would defeat the purpose of theur business.

“The revenue should be centralised among the local governments. The House once passed a law to regulate collection of fees by local governments. The law stated that whoever is collecting levies for the local governments must be identified,” he suggested.

Hon. Lukman Olumoh (Ajeromi/Ifelodun 1) accused some of the local government officials of issuing out fake documents. He suggested that consultants should be employed for such activities.

Hon. Fatai Mojeed (Ibeju Lekki 1) stated that some of the riders of the bikes are graduates who have no other jobs, and that there have been many cries concerning the harrasment of courier and logistics operators by local government officials.

On his part, Hon. Abiodun Tobun (Epe 1) lamented that some of the courier services organisations do not live up to expectations.

“Some local governments use consultants and we cannot stop them because of their excesses. We must not throw the local governments out totally as they have a role to play as an arm of government,” he said.

Also speaking, Hon. Lanre Afinni (Lagos Island 2) suggested that the collection of revenue for the local governments could be centralised and shared among them, adding that multiple taxation affects the profit of courier services companies.

In his view, Hon. Moshood Oshun (Lagos Mainland 2) said that most of the local governments and LCDAs have traffic sections and that they charge exorbitant fines.

He urged that the traffic sections of these councils be looked into because they sometimes go the extreme of arresting and harrassing people.

Hon. Jude Idimogu (Oshodi/Isolo 2), who said he had personally experienced the harrasment of the touts, supported the motion.

Also supporting the motion, Hon. Setonji David (Badagry 2) said that courier operators play major roles in the state but that the local governments do not see it from this angle.

“Most of the receipts issued by the local governments are fake. We must ensure that the local governments limit themselves to what they ought to do.

“We have to find a way to stop the local governments from bothering the courier services since they are recognised by law. They also help transportation in the state as they help in distributing items,” he said.

Speaker Obasa congratulates Sanwo-Olu at 56, hails Gbajabiamila

* Commends Governor for cordial relationship between executive and legislative arms

* Urges Governor to renew his zeal for a greater Lagos

* Says Gbajabiamila has shown true leadership as Reps Speaker

The Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. (Dr) Mudashiru Obasa, has congratulated Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on his 56th birthday describing him as one who continues to prove his belief in the development and prosperity of the state.

Speaker Obasa, in a message released by his media office on Thursday, said the Governor’s actions and activities have been such that have helped the State to maintain its enviable position in Nigeria.

Obasa further commended Sanwo-Olu for the cordial relationship enjoyed by the executive and the legislative arms adding that this has continued to reflect in the successes achieved by the government thus far.

“I heartily congratulate our amiable and hardworking Governor, who has, like many of us, continued to experience sleepless nights in his zeal to sustain the tempo of growth and development in Lagos.

“Our dear State is proud to have had leaders who are passionate about its progress and you remain one of them.

“Last year, I attested to a cordial relationship between the executive and the legislative arms of the government of Lagos State and this has been sustained by you and your cabinet.

“I also spoke about some of your exemplary qualities, the wisdom and strength that God has blessed you with as well as how you have been able to effectively implement policies for the benefit of the people who you serve as Governor.

“I want to reaffirm that we have remained brothers, bonded by the need to continue to make Lagos one of the best places in Nigeria and where residents would live happily with their neighbours,” Obasa said.

While promising that the House of Assembly would continue to support and collaborate with the executive arm and its good courses, the Speaker urged the Governor to see his birthday as a fresh unction from God for more strength to lead the State through the path to more successes.

In a related development, Speaker Obasa has hailed the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila as he clocks 59.

Obasa congratulated Gbajabiamila for ensuring a rancour-free House of Representatives.

“Your effective leadership of the House of Representatives has helped in no small measure to strengthen democracy in the country.

“I congratulate you and wish you many more years in good health,” the statement read.

Why Lagos Lawmakers Approved Sanwo-Olu’s Request For N85bn Bond

The Lagos State House of Assembly has approved Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s request of ₦ 85 billion special dispensation for bond redemption as well as ₦85 billion for bridge loan for a quarter.

This is in pursuant to the approval of Bonds, Loans and other Security Law of Lagos State 2015 and comes at 9.25% per annum to bond financing programme.

At a sitting on Monday, the Chairman of the Committee on Finance, Hon. Rotimi Olowo, stated that the terms of reference of the request received from the executive arm appraise the request for a special dispensation; enquire into the debt profile of the State and ascertain the source of the fund for repayment and refinancing.

According to Hon. Olowo, based on briefing and documents received, the redemption of bonds will allow for extension of maturity of the same with a two years moratorium in 2031 and the special dispensation approval will enable the State earmarks for capital projects.

Addressing journalists after the approval, Hon. Olowo explained that the request from the governor had two aspects.

The first was for an approval for Bond Brigde Loan which would allow the state to access bond market as soon as possible while the second aspect is a loan from a commercial bank at the interest rate of 9.25.

Olowo explained that as at February this year, the federal government went to bond market at coupon rate of 12% , saying that in june it had increased to 13.5%.

He also said comparing the rate with the bond secured by the state government in 2016 and 2017, the least of all was 16.6%, adding that the highest was around 17.25%.

Olowo explained that the opportunity the market provided was enough for the state to access it now, adding that the state would be able to get the rate cheaper and that the current bond of the state would mature in 2024.

“When you look at our Consolidation Debt Service Account (CDSA) we have about N22billion and we are talking N101.2billion in the next 2 or 3years. It will amount to a lot of pressure on our debt obligation, so what we thought that is necessary is that we should quickly access the bond market with the approval of the House so that we can get it at cheaper rate and it will be for 10years with 2years moratorium.

“What it means is that, in the next two years after securing the bond we will not pay any money. We will not pay the interest and the capital, it will be like tax holiday. It will relieve the state the burden of sourcing for money to pay the creditors.

“On the second aspect, if today we don’t access the commercial loan from one of the banks at a single digit of 9.25%, we will still be losing because what we will still access, we will pay the holders of the bond between now and the next one months. That means we have been able to save money worth an average of N1.5billion in form of seeking fund to be able to make up to 2023.

“So, if we don’t pay that in the next three years, what it means is that we have gotten a saving of about N75billion. It is obvious that there cannot be a better time for the state to go for the bond market which we called ‘ Special Dispensation Bond’ and the second is a loan from a commercial bank at the interest rate of 9.25 which is very cheap. That is the reason why the Assembly speedily supports the executive. We always want to support the executive when it comes to infrastructure,” Olowo said.

Lagos Assembly moves to criminalise illegal trade in human parts

* Bill scales second reading as lawmakers call for more sanctions

* Speaker Obasa wants ritualists punished by bill

A bill to criminalise illegal trading in human organs has scaled second reading at the Lagos State House of Assembly with the Speaker, Rt. Hon. (Dr) Mudashiru Obasa, describing it as one of the best things to happen to the state.

Before committing the bill to the House committee on Health, Obasa said it should also make provision for the criminalisation of the activities of the ritualists.

He directed that the administration of criminal justice law be studied so that the Organ Harvest and Transplantation bill being considered can be all-encompassing.

Earlier, the chairman, House Committee on Health, Hon. Hakeem Sokunle (Oshodi-Isolo 1), explained that the bill captures the legal framework for the regulation of organ transplantation from donors either living or dead to patients in need.

Sokunle said the bill has seven parts with 37 sub-sections and tries to curb illegal trade in human parts.

Under its offence and penalties clause, the bill states that a person who removes the organ of another person for a reason other than for therapeutic purposes commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a term of 10 years without an option of fine.

The bill also stipulates that a person or any hospital and “who, for the purposes of transplant, conducts, associates with, or helps in any manner in the removal of any organ without authority commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding N5 million or a term of 10 years.

Contributing to the debate, Hon. Gbolahon Yishawu (Eti-Osa 2), said that the bill would help in putting a stop to organ trafficking. He called the attention of his colleagues to some grey areas in the bill.

Hon. Rotimi Olowo (Somolu 1) condemned the act of harvesting organs for monetary gain in some parts of Nigeria adding that the bill would put an end to such as well as protect minors and the mentally ill.

Olowo argued that the bill would bring about the sanctity of life and human dignity, adding that penalties for such acts should be stiffer than what was prescribed in the bill.

The lawmaker added that the bill provides for certified medical laboratories for the organs donated by donors and that this is aimed at stopping the involvement of quacks and the criminally minded.

Also, the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni, lamented the high rate of organ trafficking in the country, adding that the bill was all encompassing and that it should be supported by all members of the House.

The Leader of the House, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade, described the bill as a product of deep reflection on the part of the state government.

Itemisinng the various processes of organ transplantation as prescribed by the bill, Agunbiade added that it would improve procedure and discourage the act of organ harvesting for financial gain.

“The bill will ensure that organ transplanting is not all-comers affair in the health sector in Lagos,” Agunbiade said.

Breaking: Lagos Assembly amends LASIEC law

The Lagos State House of Assembly on Monday reviewed and amended a portion of the law creating the state’s Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC).

The Assembly amended the law by creating a subsection for Section 2 of the law.

The newly added subsection 5 gives the Governor of the State the power to extend the tenure of the commission based on exigencies.

While Hon. Sanai Agunbiade, Leader of the House, told his colleagues that the amendment was permitted by existing law, his colleague and chairman of the Committee on Judiciary, Public Petitions and LASIEC, Hon. Victor Akande, explained that the amendment is to resolve the lacuna that could occur between the period the tenure of the commission elapses and when new members are appointed by the Governor.

“The bill is just for a singular amendment or a fraction of the law and the major issue is that it is seeking for us to give the Governor a leverage in case of scarcity of time,” he said while urging his colleagues to support its passage.

Contributing, Hon. Gbolahan Yishawu (Eti-Osa 2) said the amendment is in good faith for the progress of the state and effective running of the government.

He, however, suggested that the amendment should be in such a way that there would be recourse to the House should there be any reason to extend the tenure of the commission.

On his part, Hon. Tobun Abiodun (Epe 1) supported the amendment and noted that it was being done to “ensure we abide by the law.”

He noted that the amended portion of the law states that if the tenure of the commission expires when the government has yet to make fresh appointments, the tenure could be extended by six months.

Concluding the debate, Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. (Dr) Mudashiru Obasa explained that the portion of the law was being amended to meet the exigencies of time.

He explained that the amendment became expedient to ensure that the process leading to the effective conclusion of the local government election in Lagos State is not hampered as a result of the soon-to-end tenure of the members of LASIEC.

To this end, he argued, a legal extension of the members of the commission would help them effectively conclude the elections with the backing of the law.

He, however, noted that an additional six months as suggested by the bill was too wide since the period is simply meant to perfect fresh appointments.

While suggesting a reduction of the time period to three months, the Speaker also opined that the request for such extension should be subject to a review and approval of the House.

He directed the Clerk of the House, Mr. Olalekan Onafeko, to pass the clean copy to the Governor for assent.

Lagos Assembly calls for engagement with agitators, true federalism

– Speaker says Nigerians have right to speak on how they are governed

– House calls on National Assembly to ensure true federalism

– Requests for public enlightenment on security consciousness

The Lagos State House of Assembly on Tuesday called on the federal government to engage agitators across the country rather than employ the use of force.

This is as the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. (Dr) Mudashiru Obasa, argued that the use of the military in an attempt to quell agitations for secession would not yield the desired result since it is part of democracy for a people to speak out concerning how they are governed.

Obasa, who noted that the 22 years of unbroken democracy being enjoyed by Nigeria is worthy of celebration, however, said there many things yet to be done after so long adding that these had led to the tension in the country.

The Speaker, who made the comment during the debate on a motion about the 22 years of unbroken democracy in Nigeria raised by Hon. Setonji David, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for signing an executive order granting autonomy to state legislatures and judiciary and for honouring the late MKO Abiola with the declaration of June 12 as democracy day.

Noting that democracy is a wholesome package, he added: “It is not about electing us alone. Those that elected us also have freedom, they have the right to protest where they think things are not working.

“The right to protest should not be taken away from them as long as such right is not taken for granted.

“There is no crime in seeking for separate nations within an existing nation,” he said as he mentioned some countries where the citizens have called for disintegration.

“Those representating the people through the ideology of social contract must listen to the people,” he said urging the government to engage the groups and calling on the National Assembly members to go beyond weeping on the floor of the House and truly rejig the constitution.

“For the southern governors, having stated their position, they should not go to sleep. They should follow it through,” he urged.

Concerning the issues of insecurity, the Speaker said: “We will continue to cry that we have state police and devolution of power.”

He said restructuring, which he described as part of the solutions and not a problem, should have addressed economic challenges and poverty level just as he lamented that the Naira has continued to fall against the Dollar.

He praised Lagos as the true example of democracy and promised that the state would continue to lead in this area.

The House observed a minute silence in honour the late MKO Abiola and all those who lost their lives in the course of the struggle for democracy.

Earlier in his contribution, Hon. Rotimi Olowo described the current constitution as fraud.

“This 1999 constitution amended so many times can no longer be embellished. It is fraud,” he said as he called for the semblance of regionalism where the interest of the minority is taken care of.

To him, the current amendment is another effort in futility and a new constitution reflecting the will of the people has to be produced.

Hon. Gbolahan Yishawu suggested an overhaul of the constitution while noting that some items on the exclusive list be devolved.

On his part, Hon. Bisi Yusuff noted that Nigeria’s democracy is not a true reflection of the will of the people adding that the constitution was promulgated through a decree.

Supporting the motion, Hon. Desmond Elliot said Nigeria will not progress more than it is now if the constitution is not overhauled.

Other lawmakers who spoke concerning the motion include Hon. Tobun Abiodun, who complained that states are not allowed to manage their resources, and Hon. Kehinde Joseph, who noted the high level of insecurity in the country.

The House also called on the National Assembly to ensure true federalism while it urged Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the government to engage in enlightenment of the people on security consciousness.

LAGOS ASSEMBLY BEGINS COMPLIANCE EXERCISE FOR MINISTRIES, OTHERS

The Public Account Committee (State) of the Lagos Assembly has commenced its annual compliance exercise for the Year 2019 Auditor-General’s statutory report for ministries, departments and agencies.

Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Saka Solaja, who explained that the exercise was in accordance to section 125 (5) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria (as ammended), noted that the committee’s action was designed to ensure that queries raised by the Auditor-General in 2019 were responded to with the necessary documents and evidences to back them up.

Hon. Solaja stated that the exercise was not a witch-hunt, adding that it was part of the functions of the House of Assembly and meant for the committee to correct anomalies observed from the MDA’s.

“This exercise is very important to the committee because some MDAs are in the habit of not complying with the queries issued to them,” he said.

Some of the queries raised concerned ongoing projects, payment vouchers without due stamp, abandoned projects, fixed assets, multiple bank accounts, capital expenditure and others.

The committee chairman informed the MDAs that appeared before it that they should always get clearance certificate from the office of the Auditor-General to confirm if their queries have been cleared.

The exercise is to end on the 25th of June, 2021.

Lagos Assembly: Bill to assist victims, protect witnesses scales second reading

A bill for a law to provide for the rights to entitlements by victims as well as the protection of witnesses in Lagos has scaled second reading at the state House of Assembly.

Members of the House said on Monday the bill would further endear the government to the governed and give residents confidence to speak out where victimisation has occurred.

The Speaker of the House, Rt (Hon) Mudashiru Obasa, said the bill will strengthen the administration of criminal justice.

He added that the bill would help build confidence in witnesses that would want to testify before the court.

Aside this, the Speaker said the bill would help motorists because most of them only have third party insurance which hardly work.

“This bill is for the society. It will give an assurance to witnesses that they are protected while testifying before the court. The bill will also protect victims of trafficking,” the Speaker said before committing the bill to the House Committee on Judiciary to report back in two weeks.

Earlier, the Chairman House Committee On Judiciary, Petitions, Human Rights and LASIEC, Hon. Victor Akande, told his colleagues that the bill would help to protect victims and as well provide assistance to them in the face of challenges.

Akande added the bill would provide for right to entitlement by victims, adding that there was need by the government to come to the aid of victims when such is needed.

In his contribution, Hon. Rotimi Olowo (Somolu 1) said that there are people who suffer from different forms of victimisation in the state.

He added that it is relatively difficult for victims to seek compensation, thus, there was need to protect them.

Olowo stated that the bill would provide for the establishment of an agency that would address the rights and protect victims and witnesses.

According to him, that the bill is for every resident of the state.

“If we look at what is happening in Nigeria and Lagos in particular, it shows that there is need to protect victims of disaster. The bill is to protect the rights of those that suffers injustice.

“The bill is for every strata of the society. A lot of people have suffered from different victimations, some people’s properties are taken over unjustly and so it is certain this bill will address all the issues. I will urge my colleagues to support it,” Olowo said.

Adding to the debate, Hon. Abiodun Tobun (Epe 2), said the bill takes care of the protection of witnesses that would testify in the court of law, adding that most witnesses are scared of testifying because of the fear of being victimised.

Tobun called the attention of the House to the provision of the bill that creates for the appointment of a board. He argued that the membership of the board should be subject to the ratification of the House.

The Leader of the House, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade, said the bill is responsive to the yearnings of the people and that overtime there had been clamour by lawyers that justices should not be for society alone but also for victims.

Agunbiade said: “This bill is to recognise the right of the victims. The bill is to close the gap of waiting for police report before attending to victim of accident. The bill will allow witnesses to freely go to court without fear of testifying. This bill will attend to several lapses in the administration of criminal justice in Lagos state.”

In a related development, the bill to amend the Lagos state Pension Reform Law 2021 scale second reading on Monday as the bill was committed to the House Committee on Training and Establishment after extensive debate by the lawmakers.

Lagos Assembly Moves To Expand Healthcare Training With Bill Amendment

The Lagos State House of Assembly on Wednesday held a stakeholders’ meeting to consider an amendment bill that seeks to expand the provision of training for health workers.

The bill is entitled; ‘A Law To Repeal And Re-enact The Lagos State College of Health Technology And For Connected Purposes.’

With 54 sections, the bill which went through public hearing at the Assembly premises on Wednesday, June 3, will further provide better training for workers in the health sector.

Deputy Speaker of the House, Hon. Wasiu Eshilokun-Sanni, who represented the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, stated that the esssnce of the amendment is to make the bill more functional and in tandem with the need of the people.

“Of recent we had Ebola, now we have COVID-19. We need to have the needed manpower.

“In the olden days, they provided the manpower that could man the health facilities across the nation.

“Nowadays there is need for us to revisit that. The bill is more thorough and defines the functions of the council, members of the academic board, and the students’ welfare. Everything is well stated and in tune with modern reality,” he said.

Also speaking, the Chairman of the House Committee on Education (tertiary), Hon. Ajani Owolabi, stated that the institution has various categories of qualifications and various courses have been approved for them.

Owolabi said that the bill tries to expand the kind of knowledge to be given to the students .

He added that there are clauses in the law that takes care of funding of the institution.

“We all know that healthcare is an expensive venture so we need to put everything in place for that.

“The machineries for the training can be expensive. The school has a provision for that to make it possible for it to purchase equipment,” he said.

The Deputy Provost of the institution, Mrs. Rotimi Ayodele, said there ought to be provisions for emoluments of staff of the institution, their welfare and the Student Union Government (SUG).

She commended the Assembly for coming with the amendment of the bill that established the institution in 1920.

A participant at the meeting, observed that there is no provision for medical centre in the college and that the statutory retirement age for the staff should be 65 while non-academic staff could retire at 60.

He also observed that the Lagos State University College of Medicine (LASUCOM) is the apex healthcare training institution in the state and that such should not be ascribed to the college.

According to him, this would prevent rivalry between the institutions and foster unity among them.

The Provost of LASUCOM, who was also at the event, Professor Abiodun Adewuya, advised that the issue of disciplining of the student should be part of the jobs of the academic board.

Another stakeholder, Dr. Mustapha Daud, from Havana Specialist Hospital, advised that students should be made to go through industrial attachments in other healthcare facilities.

Earlier, the Leader of the House, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade, who did the overview of the bill, said all grey areas would be worked on.