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N50m G-Wagon: Lawmaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, reacts ‘I saved for years for wife’s birthday’

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That Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila has been in the eye of the storm in the last three days is a fact that needs no contestation. No thanks to a piece of information that sent both the new and traditional media in a frenzy that he coughed out whooping N50million to buy a wonder-wheel for his wife, Salamatu, as a gift for his golden age attainment, at a period such as this when the economy has just been barely pulled out of recession economic austerity and when his religion, Islam, expects him to be ascetic.
The four-time House of Representatives member has reacted in his quest to set the record straight and disabuse the public mind against the notion created by the deliberately skewed news.
Gbajabiamila, whom many have acknowledged as one of the shinning lights of the 8th National Assembly and one of the most meticulous and committed legislators in Nigeria on the basis of his robust representation and ever-present empowerment programmes whose beneficiaries extend beyond his Surulere 1 Federal Constituency, took out time to render his stewardship on the one hand, and how he had been saving towards the event in appreciation of a wife who has acted as his loyal friend who has stood by him through thick and thin.
According to the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, the birthday celebration was not an impromptu event but one had been anticipated and planned for a couple of years to convey his gratitude to a wife who has weathered all kinds of storm with him. “I could never have been half the man I am today without her support and unbelievable understanding.
Truly, the monetary value of any gift real or imagined, pales in significance when I consider how much of a ‘rock and pillar’ she has been to me…(it was) an expression of deep appreciation and love for my wife of almost thirty years, rather than one of flamboyance.,” Gbajabiamila said.
He explained that he was not unmindful of the pervasive poverty around, and especially the need to be conservative and ascetic in the month of Ramadan. He took these into consideration and decided to make the matter a private family affair witnessed by family members and friends in moderate numbers. Ordinarily, that kind of event would have attracted the crème de la crème judging from the fact that Gbajabiamila has clouts and the networks but he chose to make it a private affair.
With regards to his stewardship in the National Assembly, from the records made available to us, Gbajabiamila comes off as a utilitarian politician with socialist leaning. It is to Gbajabiamila’s credits that a bill which seeks to criminalise and prohibit the extorting issuance of estimated bills which is perennially foisted on Nigerians by power distribution companies DISCO has passed second reading and is slated for public hearing next week, June 5 precisely, all things being equal.
This will be a watershed in the history of power billing in Nigeria and the entire populace of Nigeria will be its beneficiary. The sponsorship of the Nigerian Students Loan Bill (2016), the Nigerian Labour Act (Amendment Bill (2017), the Physically Challenged (Empowerment) Bill (2017), Amendment to Immigration Act (2016), the National Minimum Wage (Amendment Bill to mention few, are to his credits.
His constituency outreach programmes range from Entrepreneurial Empowerment Programme Conducted by SMEDAN for 250 youth drawn from 9 Wards in Surulere 1 federal constituency, training and distribution of Fish Farming Tools to 100 Youth and Women, partnership with Eko Club (Atlanta Georgia,USA) provided Free Medical Outreach, presentation of CCTV Tool Box to 50 Youth trained on installation and maintenance of closed circuit television, football tournament, and many others worthy of mention but for space constraint.
In all of these, Gbajabiamila might have been mindful of the need to celebrate his virtuous wife and become a stickler for robust legislative responsibilities; what he appears to have failed to be very mindful of was the ubiquitous power of the social media. Just one image and…boom! Discretion is the better part of valour.
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Nigeria’s Excess Crude account stands at $2.09bn – NEC

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The National Economic Council (NEC) says Nigeria’s Excess Crude Account stood at over $2.09 billion as at Oct. 16.

Bauchi State Governor, Mohammed Abubakar, said this while briefing State House correspondents after NEC meeting on Thursday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Abubakar said that the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, gave the update on the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), Excess Crude Account, Stablisation Fund Account and Natural Resources Development Account.

“She presented a budget estimate for the FAAC meetings of 2018; usually these budgets estimates are prepared by the Office of Accountant General and tabled before the NEC for approval.

“A total budget of N650 million was approved for the conduct of the FAAC meetings for 2018, later on the minister gave update of the Excess Crude Account as at Oct. 16, 2018 which stood at 2.09 billion dollars.

“The Stablisation Fund Account stands at N21.9 billion and then the Natural Resources Development Fund stands at N119. 7 billion.’’

He said that there was also an update on the ad hoc committee set up by NEC to address the problem of crude oil theft and its prevention and control.

Abubakar said that the committee used to be headed by the then Governor of Delta State, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, but NEC had approved the nomination of Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, to head the committee.

The other governor members of this committee are governors of Akwa Ibom State, Delta, Bayelsa, Cross River and Ondo.

He listed other members of the committee as the Ministers of Budget and Planning, Finance, Petroleum Resources, and representatives of the all the security agencies in Nigeria.

Abubakar said that the Minister of Youths and Sports, Solomon Dalung, gave a presentation on the sporting activities that were conducted by his ministry.

He said that Dalung spoke specifically on the National Youth Games and the National Sports Festival.

“He indicated that the National Youth Games has been held successfully with 32 states participating and that the next edition of the National Sports Festival is in high preparation.

“The Minister of FCT has agreed to host the 19th edition of the National Sports Festival. He called on governors to support the process by preparing participants on time and supporting their participants to the venue.

“Giving adequate security for the participants including also kitting the participants for the festival as well as paying their participation fees to the organisers of the festival, ‘’ he said

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NHIS boss, Usman Yusuf suspended indefinitely

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The governing council, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has suspended the Executive Secretary of the scheme, Prof Usman Yusuf indefinitely to pave way for investigation into allegations leveled against him.

Meanwhile Prof. Yusuf has called off an earlier scheduled press conference. He was expected to react to the story during the conference.

The chairman of the governing council, Dr Eyantu Ifenne at a briefing in the scheme head quarter on Thursday said, based on the review of various documents on allegations leveled against him, they have resolved to constitute an administrative panel to investigate and submit their report in the next three months.

“The ES is suspended indefinitely to pave unfettered space for the committee to do thorough investigations into the matter.”

Dr Efene added that approval has been gotten from the Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole.

“The council has also resolved that Dr Abubakar Sadiq Adamu immediately step into the acting capacity of the ES to allow activities to run smoothly.”

Prof Yusuf was suspended by the Minister of Health in July, 2017 but was called back by the presidency in February, 2018.

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Refuse: Lagos Assembly orders PSP to go back to work, disowns Visionscape

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The Lagos State House of Assembly has ordered the 20 Local Governments and 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in the state to call on the PSP operators in their areas to go back to work with immediate effect.

Speaker of the House, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, who gave this directive on Thursday on behalf of the lawmakers during plenary also ordered the Clerk of the House. Mr. Azeez Sanni to invite the Commissioner for the Environment, Hon. Babatunde Durosinmi-Etti to appear before the House on the matter next week.

This followed an Urgent Matter of Public Importance raised by Hon. Gbolahan Yishawu on heaps of refuse scattered all over the state.

The Speaker, Obasa  emphasised that the Lagos State Government does not know about Visionscape.

Obasa stated that there are three arms of government including legislative, executive and judiciary, and the state government ought to have consulted the House on Visionscape before they started operation.

“We insist that we don’t know anything about Visionscape because we were not consulted before they started work.

“We once wrote the Commissioner for Finance, Hon. Akinyemi Ashade not to pay Visionscape again and any money paid to them after our instruction would have to be returned to the State government.

“We will go back to that, when the time comes. We have to do the needful now.

“We are calling on the 20 local governments and 37 LCDAs in the state to have meetings with the PSP operators to go back to work and they should start paying them and make the residents to start paying the operators. We have to avoid epidemics and be proactive,” he said.

The Speaker also warned those stopping people from dumping refuse at the dumpsites to desist from doing so, adding that he saw a lot of refuse trucks in a bad state and that some of them have been abandoned.

He insisted that the House ought to have approved the refuse disposal policy before Visionscape started work.

“We are inviting the Commissioner for the Environment to come and report to us within one week. The Clerk should write all the councils to do the needful and the Commissioner for the Environment to work on this and report to us in a week,” he said.

Hon. Gbolahan Yishawu had said that there were still refuse on Lagos roads, adding that it was not like before “because some PSP are now working and the state government has bought some trucks- visionscape.

He said: “Some refuse are taken to Epe and Ikorodu but it is a bit far now as 300 instead of 800 trucks are disposing refuse now.

“We used to dump them in Olusosun, but the place was gutted by fire. “We can give the place to private stations.

“The sanitary land fill in Epe is not being utilised and the transfer loading stations too are not working effectively and the turn around time of packing the refuse is not being utilised. It is not all the PSP operators that are working. May be we can recall the PSP Operators to go back go work and reopen Olusosun and the land fill sites should be operated properly.”

The Majority Leader, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade from Ikorodu Constituency 1 revealed that refuse is worse in his area, and that for the state to have good sanitation,  a law on environmental sanitation was passed in Lagos State, but that it seemed it was not properly done after that.

“The refuse on the road and on the streets are hazardous to the people. Flies from the refuse mix with the food people are eating.

“One day, Olusosun would not be able to accommodate refuse any longer. If we can change our policy on refuse disposal it would be better.

“I will suggest that we should challenge those in the Ministry of Health and those in the Ministry of the Environment.

“We can invite the people in the Ministry of the Environment to know their challenges. This has become an eyesore in Lagos State. We should invite the people in charge,” he said.

Also speaking, Hon. Bisi Yusuff from Alimosho Constituency 1 revealed that eight people died in Igando, where they dump refuse in his area.

Yusuff stressed that Visionscape does not know the job, and that they did not even allow PSP operators to help the people.

“There are big rats on the roads now and they could even make a vehicle to stumble.

“We should look at it critically. They are not picking any refuse in the state. It is an important matter that should be handled urgently,” he said.

In his comment, Hon. Abiodun Tobun from Epe Constitueny 1 stated that Lagos State is dirty and that only God would help the state.

He stated that Epe is not benefitting in Epe from the system and that their water has been contaminated and that all their roads are now bad.

“There is no industrial estate in Epe, but they have in other places. “They cannot bring refuse dump to Epe, they can relocate it if that is what we are benefiting. We want better things in Epe such as industries and other things,” he said.

In Eti-Osa East Local Government, there are refuse there and in other places on my area. In the days of PSP, people knew when they would come and they prepare their refuse. We should invite both the commissioner and LAWMA officials as well as the local government. We should be able to do our best because we need the people’s vote now.

Hon. Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni, in his submission said, “There are refuse in Idumagbo, Martins and other areas in Lagos Island. We should call on the government to clear the refuse as fast as possible. We should be proactive so that we would not go back to 1999 era.

Other lawmakers who contributed to the issue also corroborated the fact that there constituencies are facing the problem.

The House also ordered reopen of all dumpsites for the PSP operators.

It would be recalled that the spokesperson for the Association of Waste Managers of Nigeria (AWAM), Olugbenga Adebola  reiterated the readiness and commitment of PSP in moving Lagos back to that part of honour, where several accolades were received by them and the government.

(more…)

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