Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, on Friday, expressed excitement over the release of six students of Igbonla-Epe Model College who were abducted in their school premises on May 25.
Pelumi Philips, Peter Jonah, Adebayo George, Judah Agbausi, Farouq Yusuf and Isiaq Rahmon were released after two months in captivity in one of the Creeks in Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State.
Security officials handed them over to the school authorities on Friday afternoon.
In a statement, Ambode, speaking through his Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, congratulated the parents of the students and all concerned stakeholders over the development, just as he said the students would undergo series of medical tests and trauma therapy before they are reunited with their families.
“This is a welcome development and the State Government has always believed that the students would be released unhurt. The news of their release is, therefore, a confirmation of that belief and we are glad that they would be reuniting with their families,” Ayorinde said.
He said the State Government remains resolute in its commitment to ensure the safety of lives and property of residents in the State and has already beefed up security in schools to prevent a re-occurrence.
“It is on record that the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode-led administration has invested massively on equipment and welfare of security personnel so as to ensure that the State remains safe for residents and investors.
“This government has already taken giant steps to secure all our schools especially those in the suburbs and riverine areas and we are confident that the steps taken so far will go a long way in nipping a repeat of such in the bud,” Ayorinde said.
The commissioner also quoted Ambode as commending the efforts of security agencies who worked tirelessly to ensure the safe release and return of the students.
Six students kidnapped from the Lagos State Model College, Igbonla in the Epe Area of Lagos have regained their freedom.
This followed talks between the abductors and some government officials from Nigeria’s southwest region.
This comes more than two months after gunmen stormed the school during the morning assembly and abducted the students.
The kidnappers had on May 25 attacked the school premises firing gun shots to scare the students and parents.
Policemen on guard attempted to intercept them and called for reinforcement but the six abducted students were unlucky as the gunmen whisked the students away through the waterways.
The incident had led to outrage and six days later, the House of Representatives called on the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to ensure that the students are rescued as soon as possible.
The Lagos State government also vowed to do all within its power to ensure the safe return of the students.
It is not the first time that students of the school have been abducted.
On October 6, 2016, four students and the school principal and is vice were kidnapped while on the assembly ground.
In that incident, police operatives swiftly rescued two of the victims, while the kidnappers demanded N100m ransom for the other victims.
It is not clear if the ransom was paid but the victims were freed, five days later, on October 11, 2016.
A divorce-seeking wife, Bola James, on Thursday told an Idi-Ogungun Customary Court at Agodi, Ibadan, that her husband of 23 years is too lazy.
This is even as she told the court that her mother had been aware of her infidelity with the man whom she now loves and wants to marry.
Bola is seeking divorce on the grounds of joblessness and laziness on the part of her husband, Gbenga.
She prayed the court to end her 23-year-old marriage, saying that she had made up her mind to love another man.
“My lord, my husband’s laziness made me be having an affair with another man who is assisting me to cater for my family.
“Mother even knows about the affair.
“Gbenga lives with me in a house I built with my sweat; he is jobless and not ready to do any work. I shoulder all the family responsibilities.
“I can no longer cope with his laziness,’’ she said.
Responding, Gbenga, pleaded with the court not to grant the request.
“My lord, I still love my wife; my love for her is still intact. Don’t grant her request for divorce.
“It is the current economic situation that is affecting my business and finances; I promise to find another means of livelihood,’’ the electronic repairer told the court.
The first child of the couple, Lara, also pleaded with the court not to dissolve the marriage.
She appealed to her mother to forgive her father for her sake and that of her three siblings.
The President of the court, Chief Mukaila Balogun, urged the couple to resolve the matter amicably.
He appealed to the petitioner to put the welfare of the four children into consideration.
Balogun adjourned the case to Aug. 2 for report of settlement or continuation of hearing.
CULLED FROM NAN
The Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA) has urged the Federal Government to pay the outstanding debts of $2 billion owed marketers on fuel importation.
The Executive Secretary of the association, Mr Olufemi Adewole, made the plea on Thursday in Lagos.
Adewole said that the plea became imperative following the Federal Government’s approval of N2.7 trillion for the payment of contractors, pensioners and oil marketers.
Finance Minister, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, said on July 12 that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) at its meeting approved N2.7 trillion to settle the payment of contractors, pensioners and marketers.
Adewole said that the unpaid claims had greatly hindered business operation of his members and access to credit from financial institutions.
He said that it had led to retrenchment of workers in some distressed companies.
“We are told that payment has been approved to marketers since last week, but we are yet to know when it will be paid.
“We appeal to the Minister of Finance to expedite action on the payment of marketers’ claims to save many of us from indebtedness to the banks,’’ he said.
The association’s scribe urged the Ministry of Finance to carry the marketers along in the reconciliation of accounts for transparency.
He said that the capacity of Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and DAPPMA to import petroleum products had been reduced.
Adewole said that this was because of the huge unpaid subsidy claims and mature Letters of Credits (LCs) arising from the old subsidy regime.
He said that government should let the marketers know the mode of payment, either by promissory note or cash payment, saying, “the marketers are kept in the dark’’.
The Nigerian Sex Workers Association has called on the Federal Government to decriminalise prostitution, saying such would curb the spread of HIV.
The association added that HIV infection had continued to increase because the government treated prostitution as a crime.
It stated that law enforcement agents, especially the police, consequently harassed sex workers and sometimes demand sex without using condoms.
Enemo was said to have played an active role in gathering information for the report, which was compiled by the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, the University of Manitoba, United States, and the World Bank.
She said, “Sex workers face violence, especially from their clients and law enforcement agents. Sex work is seen as a crime and the police raid streets and brothels to arrest sex workers. They collect money and if the girl cannot pay money, she will have to give sex to the policemen. If the law enforcer does not want to use condom, the sex worker has to agree and this is why HIV is on the increase.
“So, in this study, all the sex workers we interacted with said their biggest trouble was law enforcers.”
The 36-year-old said several studies had shown that countries where prostitution is not illegal had lower cases of sexually transmitted diseases, while Nigeria, where it is illegal, had one of the highest rates of HIV in the world.
She said sex work should be made legal, and government should not saddle sex workers with the responsibility of paying tax.
Enemo said, “When I visited Amsterdam (Holland), I was able to visit the red light district where sex workers work because prostitution is legal there. I have also visited New Zealand where they have decriminalised sex work.
“When you decriminalise it, there will be less exploitation of sex workers and the violence will reduce.”
Emeno said since HIV is a communicable disease and had no cure, sex workers should be given proper treatment and not victimised.
She said an infected sex worker could directly or indirectly infect as many as 100 people, adding that the government must not hound, but partner them.
Emeno added, “Decriminalise the work so that all of us will be healthy. It might interest you to know that Nigeria has the second highest risk of HIV worldwide and we are hoping to get to zero before 2030.
“How can it end when the drivers of the epidemic are being criminalised?”
In his remarks, the Director, Strategic Knowledge Management, NACA, Dr Kayode Ogungbemi, said sex workers must be taken seriously since married men also patronised them.
He said the message of use of protection must also be taken to mega stores and other places where sexual relationships began.
Ogungbemi added, “This report looks at the history of casual sex, transactional sex and commercial sex. If we do not reach these women, the infection will continue to spread. So, we must teach these women the use of condoms and going for HIV tests because if we don’t do that, they will continue to spread it. Even married people patronise them.”
Also speaking, the Country Coordinator, Centre for Global Public Health, University of Manitoba, Dr. Kalada Green, said the exercise, which was funded by the World Bank, was done in order to improve the efficiency of HIV prevention methods.
Union Bank of Nigeria on Wednesday unveiled a new version of its mobile banking applications, UnionMobile and *826#, designed to enable customers to make card-less transactions anywhere, among others.
Mr Emeka Emuwa, the Chief Executive Officer of the bank, said at the launching in Lagos that the introduction of the new applications was to improve its services to customers and to mark the bank’s 100 years anniversary.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the new applications allow customers to perform banking transactions through short code messaging on their mobile phones.
Emuwa said that the platforms were specifically made to make customers’ lives simpler and smarter without exposing them to any risk while meeting their needs.
He said the upgraded online banking platform, UnionOnline, was designed with aesthetic improvements, new features and targeted offers for customers.
“With *826#, Union Bank joins a growing financial industry trend which hopes to extend banking services to less tech savvy customers and customers who want to avoid internet banking which requires data as well as the financially excluded,” he said.
Emuwa said the bank had worked tirelessly for two years to deliver these solutions which the bank invested resources to understand what their customers really needed and how they could deliver the solutions to meet those needs.
According to him, the investment in understanding their customers’ needs has led to the innovations and first-to-market features in the new applications.
He said the new platforms married simplicity, functionality and aesthetics to deliver a seamless and improved user experience to customers.
Emuwa said customers could now deposit without being at the banking hall, using the mobile app.
He said that customers could locate the Union Bank Direct Sales Agent (DSA) closest to them and request cash collection for deposit or withdrawals using the mobile app.
“Agents can also open accounts and assist customers with other banking services at a location convenient for them, he said.
Enuwa said: “*826# is the smarter way to spend your 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Naira,’’ adding that with the new USSD code, customers could make balance enquiries, buy airtime, buy air ticket with 15 per cent discount and much more.
Mr Carlos Wanderley, the Head of Retail Banking, said this new feature was designed to support customers dealing with smaller businesses.
According to him, the “Locate an agent” feature was developed to provide a much convenience for small businesses and sole entrepreneurs.
“This is an on demanded service which allows them to conclude basic banking transactions at a time and location most convenient for them.
“It saves them time and provides one-on-one VIP service they would likely not get at the branches,” he said. (NAN)
The bank’s destiny had hinged on the tripod stand-the three owners. The handwriting had been on the wall only that it has cleverly been whittled down amicably by concerned friends, colleagues and associates of the principal actors in the current emerging leadership crisis that are threatening to rock the very foundation of the thriving financial institution, Guarantee Trust Bank Plc.
It might be of no consequence at this juncture to recall the skirmishes that reared its head shortly before and after the death of the immediate past MD/CEO, Tayo Aderinokun few years back but the court case instituted against the bank by the eight year-old daughter of the deceased MD, Miss Oluwatise Aderinokun on how the bank allegedly manipulating her father’s major shares in the bank, has suddenly given rise to yet another round of face-offs among the top hierarchy of the bank.
The actors involved are Mr. Fola Adeola, the pioneer MD/CEO of the bank, the current MD, Mr. Segun Agbaje and a couple of principal stakeholders in the bank. The contention has been that since Agbaje took over the mantle of leadership at the bank, directly or indirectly, he has been effecting certain measures that have not been favourable to the Fola Adeola and Aderinokun nests of the bank. To the extent that most sensitive management positions are now being occupied by some of Agbaje’s goons in the bank, much to the distaste of certain major shareholders in the bank, especially Fola Adeola, who is believed to be the principal architect of the bank at inception, of course in alliance with the late Tayo Aderinokun.
The assumption in many circles is that, Agbaje who joined the bank in 1991 as a foundation staff, and rose rapidly to executive directorship status before ultimately assuming the head honcho rank, couldn’t have been muscling much executive powers to the detriment of the founding partners, whether dead or alive. But as the internal wrangling raged on, albeit in under currents and silently being handled by the concerned parties, the little Oluwatishe Aderionokun court case has simply shown that the matter is far from being settled, as it has opened up more wounds than closed them up.
Contemptuous as the case may be now, observers in the financial circuit are beginning to read a riot act from different corners of the divide. With the tenure of Agbaje gradually coming to a statutory end as the MD, some senior staffers of the bank who are presumably not in sync with Agbaje’s management style, are already planning to turn in their resignation, before the long arm of Agbaje catches up with them in the unfolding super power tussle in the bank.
Their assumed contention is that Agbaje may use them as the sacrificial lamb by checking them out, within his executive powers, before his tenure lapses. On the other hand, the de facto founder of the bank, Adeola, is allegedly also not said to be taking the matter lightly, since he might probably have an upper hand in who succeeds Agbaje, and as such, might bring on someone who will come in to come and clean the Augean stable, purportedly created by Agbaje.
Invariably, the next MD might be used by Adeola to equally flush out known disciples of Agbaje upon his exit. The situation also might get more complex, if going by rotation, the next MD after Agbaje’s successor will automatically come from the Aderionkun nest, and the witch-hunting exercise might just continue. Perhaps this is why the case of little Oluwatishe is not being taken with kids’ gloves by her mother, Mrs. Salamotu Aderionkun.
Sources believe that if the substance and grounds of the case are decided in their favour, then the substantial shares of Aderinokun’s in the bank will stand them in good stead for a deciding factor in critical decisive matters that concern who gets what in the bank, especially when it comes to the turn of the next CEO of the bank at the appointed time.
All these are still conjectural, but industry watchers remain undaunted in their belief that this is where the rather unpleasant matter is grinding to, and the verdict or judgment of the Federal High Court will go a long way in giving a breather to the scenario. Financial experts are also trite in their aversion that this is common in many jointly-financed companies, as the death of one or more principal founders/partners often leads to premature or total collapse of the organization.
For the records and even to whet your appetite on how the whole unpleasant matter reared its ugly head, certain faceless people and rabble-rousers had years back gone to town with the unfounded rumour that there was no love lost between Adeola and Agbaje. They had claimed then that the two financial guru were dangerously poised to tear at each other like loaded guns. They predicated their argument on the frosty relationship that ensued between Adeola and late Tayo Aderinokun with whom he founded the bank.
The duo allegedly fell out with each other and subsequently related like cat and dog until Aderinokun unfortunately passed away. Agbaje however, incurred Adeola’s detest, courtesy his known chummy relationship with late Aderinokun. The current GTBank M.D was very close to Adeola’s late partner and thus became his foe by default. No sooner did Aderinokun die, did Adeola and Agbaje acknowledge their undisguised contempt for each other, they claimed.
The relationship between Adeola and Agbaje has reportedly deteriorated to the extent that there are fears in high-powered circuits of the banking sector that if eventually Adeola succeeds Godwin Emefiele as the CBN governor, as it was being touted then, he would gun for Agbaje, subject him to a tough inquiry and make mincemeat of him. For now, no one knows where the matter will gravitate to but the tell tales of an imminent cold war among principal stakeholders are daily being relayed within the bank. It is that unsavoury for the once ‘guaranteed bank’ whose esteemed customers might be the ultimate end-losers if the unexpected happens.
Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode on Tuesday, 25th July 2017 swears in the newly elected chairmen of the 57 Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas, LCDAs of the state, warning them to shun corruption by embracing transparency and accountability.
“It is now time for hard work and the fulfillment of all the promises made to the people. The people have, by their votes, discharged their responsibility. It is now your turn to discharge your part of the social contract you made with the people of your communities, wards and local councils.
“At the State level, so much is being done to harness the potentials of our State and make it a preferred destination for local/foreign investors and tourists. We are implementing policies and programmes that will promote socio-economic activities and maximise the economic potentials of the three Senatorial zones of the State. This is in line with our commitment to ensure inclusive growth and create opportunities for wealth and job creation.
“As you settle down to the business of governance, you must bear in mind that the participation of the people in governance does not end with elections. The people must be carried along and given the opportunity to have a say in policy making process and implementation,” he said.
According to Ambode, it was from the chairmen that the state government expected to get feedback from the people, adding that “you must be accountable and transparent in the management of the resources put in your care for the benefit of the people.
“I want to put it on record today that the elections have come and gone; there must be no discrimination of any form. The dividends of good governance must be fairly distributed to all people without prejudice to political affiliation, gender, religious beliefs or ethnic background. We must cherish and nurture the cosmopolitan nature of our State because it is a key factor in our strength and prosperity.”
The governor said the state government had recorded a major success in its quest to control its resources and enshrine the true spirit of Fiscal Federalism, saying that Last week, the Court of Appeal Lagos Division allowed the Appeal of the Lagos State Government and set aside the Federal High Court Judgement which gave the Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority to regulate transportation and sand dredging.
“The era of uncontrolled dredging is over and this serves as a clear warning that the Lagos State Government will now take firm control over its inland waterways and the adjoining lands including all sand dredging activities. This will further aid our efforts in abating flood in the State,” he said.