-Pledges to commence his persecution immediately
-Assures residents of protection
It was a big boost for the efforts of the Lagos State Government in curbing the menace of land grabbers popularly known in the local parlance as ‘Ajagungbale’ on Thursday, June 15, 2017, when Alhaji Kamorudeen Lamina, popularly known as ‘Sir K Oluwo’, was arrested by the Special Task Force on Land Grabbing set up by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
THE IMPACT learnt about the arrest on Thursday afternoon and it was further confirmed by a press statement released by the Ministry of Justice, Lagos State.
A reliable source also disclosed to our reporter that the suspect was arrested in his home in Magodo.
According to a statement issued and signed by Mr Kayode Oyekanmi, the Assistant Director, Public Affairs, Ministry of Justice, he was allegedly arrested due to several petitions bothering on illegal dispossession of residents of Ikorodu division and its environs of their lands.
It was revealed that the Special Task Force has been on the trail of the ’Ajagungbale’ Kingpin for a long time before his arrest on Thursday.
According to Mr Jide Bakare, Chairman of the Lagos State Special Taskforce, “Alhaji Lamina fell into the waiting hands of the Taskforce when he was tricked out of his hideout in a well-orchestrated operation carried out in the Alausa area of the State.”
He also said his office had received tons of petitions written by innocent residents who have been allegedly deprived of their legitimate investment in landed property by the ‘Ajagungbale’ kingpin who according to report,had been a torn in the flesh of his victims.
Bakare, in a statement, said that the arrest of Sir K Oluwo by his team was a clear indication of the commitment of the Ambode-led administration to ensure that the lives and properties of residents across the State was secured and protected under the law.
He said the State Government had made its zero tolerance stance against land grabbing offences very clear, just as he assured that every legimate investment made in the State would be protected by the Government.
The Chairman, further assured residents that information given by them against the nefarious activities of land grabbers will be treated with utmost confidence.
According to him, “The State Government would immediately begin the prosecution of Alhaji Lamina to serve as a deterrent to others that no one is above the law in Lagos State.”
While warning those in the act to steer clear of Lagos, Bakare also said that the Task Force would intensify efforts to make the State unbearable for their nefarious activities.
It would be recalled that earlier this year, at the commissioning of the new office of the Special Taskforce on Land Grabbing, the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Adeniji Kazeem promised to go after any godfather aiding and abetting the criminal activities of the ‘Omo Oniles’ in the State, saying “no matter who you are and your Status, we will come after you and prosecute you.”
Meanwhile, one of his lawyers and friend,who spoke with THE IMPACT on phone, confirmed his arrest and stated that efforts to see him yesterday in the custody of the police proved abortive.
“That is true but we are yet to confirm the grounds he is being arrested for because he has stopped what people termed, ‘Ajagungbale’ activities even before the state government set up the Task Force.
Responding to the statement that he was tricked out from his hideout before he could be arrested, the source said, “We all know that ‘Sir Kay’ is always available anytime. He was arrested in his home in Magodo on invitation and not in any hideout”, he stated.
The Special Task Force on Land Grabbing in Lagos has arrested an alleged ‘Ajagungbale’ kingpin, Alhaji Kamorudeen Lamina, popularly known as “Sir Kay Oluwo” on Thursday, June 15,2017.
-To Train 12, 000 Students On Entrepreneurship, Employability Skills
The Lagos State Government on Thursday, June 15, 2017, announced the opening of its website to register intending applicants for the 2017 edition of Ready.Set.Work (RSW) scheme which is an entrepreneurship and employability initiative designed to equip final year students of tertiary institutions in the State with the right skills to add value to the society.
Special Adviser to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode on Education, Mr Obafela Bank-Olemoh, who disclosed this at a news conference, said interested applicants would be able to access the website – www.readysetwork.com.ng from June 16, while the training will run from July 1 to September 16, 2017.
He said as an improvement on the initiative which started in 2016, students of six tertiary institutions in the State would benefit, while three centres have been designated to host the training.
The six institutions, according to Bank-Olemoh are Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education (ACCOED), Lagos State College of Health Science (LASCOHET), Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH), Lagos State University (LASU), Michael Otedola College of Education (MOCPED) and University of Lagos (UNILAG).
Bank-Olemoh said out of the 12, 000 students, 2,000 final year students would be selected for the training at the three designated centres, while the remaining 10,000 would be selected from students in their penultimate year at the institutions and trained through the online platform and also registered for the RSW Academy.
He said: “When the administration of Governor Ambode came on board, one of the issues he was confronted with from the private sector was that there were major gaps in the work readiness of graduates, and his immediate response was to come up with a scheme to equip graduates from our tertiary institutions with the right skills needed to add value to the society.
“And so, the vision of the RSW is that every graduate from a tertiary institution situated in Lagos must have the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to gain meaningful employment or be self-employed and our plan is to train all graduates in tertiary institutions through the RSW.”
He said beneficiaries of the scheme would be selected to participate only on competence, and would be trained for thirteen weeks on labour market, mindset reorientation, 21st century skills, entrepreneurship, employability skills and teacher track.
He said about 750 of the beneficiaries would be helped to secure internship placement and given skill for life, while there would also be seed funding for winners of the business pitch competition to be held as part of the training.
Responding to questions on sustainability of the scheme and the need to accommodate other tertiary institutions in the State, Bank-Olemoh said plans are afoot to integrate the RSW into the education curriculum of the State, and also expand the modules as well as the benefiting institutions.
Out of the 500 students that were registered for the scheme in 2016, only 422 graduated after the rigorous training with Sarunmi Oluwafemi and Dada Samuel who emerged as the overall winners of the pitch competition walking away with N6million seed funding and N100, 000 monthly working capital for six months.
The second and third place winners also got N500, 000 and N250, 000 respectively with N100,000 working capital for six months.
Kunle Adelabu & Femi Oduwole.
The three rival cult groups in Ikorodu Division on Thursday, June 15, 2017, came together to denounced cultism and form alliance against crime and violence acts.
The cult members, belonging to Axe, Eiye and Buccaneer confraternities across the division converged at the Onyabo headquarters along Ireshe Road in Ikorodu from where they marched with the chieftains of the local vigilance group to the Ayangbure palace for Peace Talk.
Recent peace move was brokered among the rival cult groups by Mr Lanre Olabinjo and Olalekan Pelumi (Rado), leaders of the Onyabo Vigilance Group…
About a week after the Academic Staff of Polytechnic, (ASUP), Lagos State Polytechnic chapter and two other unions of the school had embarked on series of strike and recently declared an indefinitely strike, the teaching staff have petitioned the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, to save their souls from threats.
In the petitioned dated June 9, 2017, and titled, “Save Our Souls: Incessant Use of Security/Agencies Against The Staff and Students of Lagos State Polytechnic” and signed by the ASUP Chairman and Secretary, the lecturers are calling on the governor to intervene by investigating and liberating the staff, pensioners and students of the school from constant harassments.
The petition, which listed series of allegations including the illegal acquisition of arms by the rector of the institutions who also is being alleged to have employed the services of vigilante and other conventional security apparatus to threaten and harass the students and staff alike, condemned the state of affairs in the institution and called on Governor Ambode,who is also the Visitor/Moderator to the Polytechnic, to investigate aforementioned security breaches and issue sanctions where appropriate.
“We are using this medium to plead with the Moderator of Lagos State Polytechnic and Governor of Lagos State,MrAkinwunmi Ambode, to quickly intervene, investigate and liberate the staff , pensioners and students of Lagos State Polytechnic from constant security harassments at the instance of the rector, Mr Oluyinka Samuel Sogunro”, they alleged.
The petition stated that since the advent of the rector about a year ago, the academic environment has been militarized,thereby resulting into constant harassment.
“The staff and students have been at the mercy of the gun-toting security guards since the current administration assumed office. Students are always escorted out of the campuses with guns and siren like common criminals and equally molested in the name of dress code meant for adults of a tertiary institution ages.”
The lecturers also alleged that the rector is intolerant of dissenting opinions in an academic environment where dissenting views and disagreements should be thriving and that he’s always quick in unleashing both conventional and unconventional security personnel on them. “It will interest you to know that, on Tuesday, 8th November, 2016, when the Non Academic Staff Union (NASU) was having a meeting with the Governing Council on the implementation of CONTISS 15 Migration, ,the rector ordered the Onyabo Vigilante group and also dispatched a police van to swoop on the staff inside the Ikorodu campus,owing to what the rector termed as ‘unruly behavior’ of his staff. The confrontation was so fierce that it took the intervention of well-meaning senior staff to avert bloodshed”, they alleged.
The petition, a copy of which was sent to THE IMPACT, also alleged that the management,which has refused paying their CONTISS 15 Migration Salary arrears, has spent over N6million so far in buying 15 magnum series of semi-automatic pump action guns to increase the number of guns in the school’s arsenal and also recruited the services of the militia group, Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC),on the Ikorodu campus of the institution and this according to them,has brought about panic.
“The militarization of the campuses received a boost when the rector approved the purchase of fifteen (15) magnum series of semi-automatic pump action guns through the BLACK MARKET to the tune of Six million , Four Hundred and FiftyThousand naira (N6, 450, 000) in addition to the 25 pieces of existing guns on campus, and also recruited OPC members and many other untrained hands to carry arms on the campuses.”
“This singular action increased panic and defiance actions amongst the staff and students. It is however sad to know that an institution,that could not afford to buy consumables for students’ practical across departments , expended a whooping sum of N6,450,000 from the students’ acceptance levy on unlicensed guns to ‘terrorize’ its staff and students. These guns were later discovered from a grapevine to have been bought by the Deputy Rector (Administration),Dr Ola Olateju”,the petition stated.
Aside OPC, the rector and his management team have also been alleged to have used personnel from Department of State Security Services (DSS), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and soldiers to harass, intimidate and brutalized students and staff alike whenever there is dissagreement
“In the wake of the industrial face-off between the Sogunro led Management and the labour Unions, the rector had unleashed the Department of State Security and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps on the Non Academic Staff Union Executives under the pretense that he was going to be kidnapped. Sogunro roped his staff members with kidnapping and attempted murder cases and walks freely touting his regular threat that “if you stand on my way, I will crush you.” they alleged.
“The height of Sogunro’s penchant for militocracy was exhibited on Wednesday, 7th June, 2017 ,when soldiers from 174 battalion, Odogunyan,invaded the peaceful demonstration of the Non Academic staff and students respectively, and brutalized the defenseless citizens. The school Management had fabricated different stories to cover up the dastardly act and paint the demonstrators bad, but the true confession of the Nigerian Army spokesperson, eyewitness reports, pictures and video footages vindicate the protesters.
“To this end, We condemn in totality the preference for illegal acquisition of guns to meaningful academic needs, naked display of arms on our campuses, brazen and flagrant use of military force to evacuate the students from campuses daily, harassment by both the internal and external security agents, militarization/invasion of our campuses and despotic style of leadership of the rector”,the staff stated in their petition.
They then called on the governor to investigate the invasion of the academic environment on Wednesday, June 7, 2017, which led to the molestation and brutality of students, residents and staff in the Lambo-Lasunwon community. “We call on the Governor to investigate all these aforementioned security breaches, especially the ruthless and bestial invasion on Wednesday, 7th June, that led to infliction of pains, brutality, wanton destruction of properties, disruption of business activities in Lambo Lasunwon community, molestation of innocent students and staff in 4their hostels and homes, etc. Sanctions should be appropriately meted out to anybody found culpable to avoid the reoccurrence of such undemocratic act in future and serve as a deterrent to undemocratic tendencies”, the petitioners requested.
Attempt to reach the Rector and the Public Relation Officer of the institution before going to the press proved abortive.
THE intriguing fact that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode is celebrating his 54th birthday today as the 14th governor of the famed Centre of Excellence, Lagos is no mere coincidence. It is divinely ordained; piloted by the hand of God! That indeed, underscores the significance of the noble role one’s personal relationship with God plays in shaping his destiny. This raises the salient questions: Could he have fathomed that he would clinch the elusive status of becoming a chartered accountant at the tender age of 24? Of course, not. Could he also have dreamt about the feat of clinching the number citizenship of the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria, back in his teenage days? Not in his wildest imagination.
Here was a young man who was written off by his concerned uncle, at early age .That was when he expressed his desire to becoming an accountant, in response to the question about his dream profession .” No, Akin, you are too playful, too un-ambitious to become one. You better think of something else”, the man had laughed him to the point of scorn. But by a twist of immanent fate and more like Sir Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein and Charles Darwin, who were similarly written off in their youth, Ambode has gone ahead and broken the jinx! Newton was derided by his class teacher that he, “would never amount to someone of substance”. Einstein was described by his Chemistry teacher as a nonentity. Darwin was told off by his own father that he would be better off as hunter of rats and rabbits! But none of them gave up.
While Newton, now regarded as the Father of Physics defied his teacher to discover the gravitational force and Einstein gave the world the Theory of Relativity and was unanimously voted TIME Magazine’s Man of the 20th Century, Darwin broke the rules with the ground-breaking Evolution phenomenon. In a similar vein, Ambode has today become not just the governor of Lagos State, the 5th largest economy in Africa but is widely acclaimed as one standing tall, head and shoulders above his peers. As Bruce Lee(of blessed memory) , had once admonished, “great people turn their stumbling blocks into stepping stones”. From it they climb to higher heights, just like our ever amiable, humble, focused and highly determined governor has done. That is life for you and a lesson for all.
Indeed, the hand of God guiding Ambode’s life has been most instructive and inspiring. For instance, when the Ibrahim Babangida regime liberalized the banking sector, the young Ambode, then fully qualified as a Chartered Accountant saw that policy as a golden opportunity to make his mark in the private sector. He was enthusiastic about it. He was thrilled and passionate as he junketed from one bank to the other. But surprisingly, not one of them employed him? Did he fail their interviews? Not at all. So, what was really happening? Unknown to him the all-knowing God had a different career path well cut out for him.
He too had a change of heart. If the private sector was not the one for him, so be it. Ambode focused on his civil service. He took off from Lagos Waste Management Board( LAWMA) to Badagry LGA as an auditor. The chequered journey spanning 27 years took him from there to Kosofe, Alimosho, Ojo Mushin , shomolu ,and some others, numbering 13 out of 20 LGAs. He was either an auditor or accountant, eventually rising to the enviable post of the Accountant-General of the state. What was unique about this was the fact that he became that below the age of 50. Again, like most great achievers it seems Ambode is one born to break the rules. The rest, as they say is history and an interesting one at that.
Or how do we explain the situation that Ambode was just four years old when the state was created? What about being in the saddle as the governor when it recently celebrated 50, seen as a celebration of freedom and jubilee? This follows the Biblical dictum that: “Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings. They will not serve before officials of low rank”.(Prov. 22:29). The hand of God is therefore, evident in all the remarkable achievements made so far in the sub-sectors of the economy such as higher inflow of the Internally Generated Revenue(IGR), unprecedented in the history of Lagos state, massive infrastructural development, transportation, education, and healthcare delivery. What about food security, employment generation and internal security? Despite the challenges he is squaring up to them with a lion heart, all because God is with him. “And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom 8: 28).
Another significant factor that has seen to the governor’s success is being blessed with a sound, strong and solid family of his own. Both he and Bolanle, his loving wife have their lives firmly rooted in God. Both of them seem to be made for themselves by God as they both born at EPE General hospital.She is there as a pillar of support and as one who has stood by him through thick and thin. Unkown to many ,she is an epitome of humility, as manifested in how effectively she treated Ambode’s support team before, during and after the campaigns for the governorship in 2015. Even as the First Lady of the state , she has carried herself with dignity.
When translated to the public service, such exemplary passion for wife and children, unqualified humility, dedication to God and duty, courage, candour and loyalty will continue to see the state rising to heights of more laudable achievements. As he rightly noted in his speech at the birthday of the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, he too has become a blossoming symbolic coconut, imbued with tremendous attributes of all the parts, useful to mankind as food and a unique plant with healing powers. He is a God-sent leader for now and the future. For a man who has no iota of betrayal in his DNA whose youthful energy is fully focused on fulfilling his party’s vision for the state, Ambode is set to score more goals.
I ,therefore, wish my boss, my mentor , my leader and our beacon bearer 54 hearty cheers and more glorious years in the service of Lagos, God and Mankind.
- Ajanaku is the Senior Special Assistant to Lagos State governor on Media & Strategy
The Lagos State Government on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, refuted accusations by the civil right groups that it was planning to replace the statues of late Chief MKO Abiola and late Chief Gani Fawehinmi at the Ojota parks with another monument.
Acting Commissioner for Tourism and Special Adviser, Arts and Culture, Hon. Adebimpe Akinshola, while reacting to a media report that the State was planning to replace the statues, said the ongoing remodeling of both parks was to accommodate bigger sculptures of the two prominent Nigerians.
According to her, “Rather than replace the two conspicuous monuments, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture with the approval of His Excellency, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, the Governor of Lagos State, commissioned group of artistes to remodel the entire park and erect a new but bigger, better and more aesthetic sculpture of the two prominent Nigerians for better appreciation of their contribution to the development of Nigeria”.
She said the Government was already set to complete the remodeling of Late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola Garden at Ojota with a new statue and water fountain to enhance the aesthetic value of the park for better appreciation by visitors and enhancement of the June 12 presidential election narrative.
The Acting Commissioner said the remodeling work on Chief MKO Abiola statue commenced late January 2017 and was presently about 70 percent completed.
She said the project also includes additional facilities such as a water fountain and a designated mini park, adding that the Chief Gani Fawehinmi sculpture also at Ojota was about 60 percent completed, while the park was being enhanced with another work of art called “The Possibility”.
Akinsola reiterated the resolve of Governor Ambode’s administration to change the face of Lagos with the ongoing erection of 29 artistic sculptures and monuments at strategic locations across the State.
She said while many of the new world class creative monuments are at advance stages of completion, six of them completed and officially unveiled including the statues of the first settler in Lagos, Prince Olofin (erected at Ijora); the first King of Lagos, Prince Ado (erected at Moloney Junction, Lagos); Ojuloge (erected opposite the National Theatre), which celebrates and conveys the sense of beauty, grace, style and passion for fashion of Lagos Women.
She listed other completed monuments including The Drummer (erected at Ipakodo, Ikorodu), which depicts the Yoruba music culture, Youth Empowerment (erected at Sabo Yaba), which depicts situations and resources the youths deploy to improve quality of life as well as The Fisherman (erected at Badagry junction) which depicts one of the occupations and heritage of the people of Badagry.
Nigeria Union of Journalists, Lagos state council, has condemned Monday, June 12, 2017, invasion of the Apapa-Lagos premises of The Sun Newspapers by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The Council in a statement issued by the Chairman, Deji Elumoye, described as barbaric the gestapo- style seal up of the newspaper house.
The Union wondered why EFCC will ransack the premises of the media outfit without any search warrant and subject innocent workers to unnecessary harassment and stress.
According to the statement, the EFCC by the invasion had infringed on the fundamental human rights of the workers whose movement in and out of the company was curtailed by security operatives for over an hour
“This is a great violation of the freedom of movement and association of the affected Nigerian citizens as entrenched in the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria as amended”. The Council, therefore, gave EFCC a 72-hour ultimatum to publicly apologise to The Sun management and the affected staff for the un warrarranted siege “failure which we will not hesitate to ask our team of lawyers to seek redress in court”.
Lagos NUJ added that if The Sun as a media outfit had erred or had issues with EFCC or anybody/ organisation, the court of law is the proper place to seek redress “rather than taking the laws into their hands as EFCC just did”
The Lagos State Government and the Federal Government have concluded arrangement to help over 15 million Nigerians in diaspora to trace their roots back home through the Badagry Diaspora Festival scheduled to hold between August 23 and 25, 2017.
Speaking at a news conference jointly addressed at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Diaspora, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa and the Special Adviser to Lagos State Governor on Oversees Affairs and Investment, Professor Ademola Abass, both governments said the festival, which would be a replica of the 1977 Festival of Arts and Culture otherwise known as FESTAC 77, had been designed to assist Africans in diaspora to reunite with their ancestral roots.
Apart from putting issues of Africans in diaspora on the front burner, the festival, according to Dabiri-Erewa, would also provide platform to showcase the rich cultural heritage of Lagos State and Nigeria to the world and also promote tourism potentials of the country.
The presidential aide, who commended Governor Akinwunmi Ambode for throwing his weight behind the festival, said the event would host the largest gathering of Africans in the world, and that it was a thing of joy that many Africans in diaspora had already indicated interest in tracing their roots back home.
She said: “For the first time, we have been having in Badagry a festival that brings people in the diaspora together but when we attended this festival few years ago, we sat together and said this would be the biggest cultural event to come out of Africa and so after years of planning, we have been able to come out with this programme this year coming up on August 23 to 25.
“United Nations already has declared ten years as decade for Africa, and so within the said decade, Nigeria in particular, and Lagos will be putting up one of the biggest gatherings of diaspora all over the world that will gather in Badagry later this year.
“One of the unique events of the festival is the ‘Door of Return’. A lot of people and things were taken out of Africa and Badagry in particular, and so our people in diaspora would be coming back through that door that we are calling the Door of Return, which is the opposite of ‘Point of no Return. Beyond that, we will be showcasing the beauty and culture of Lagos State in particular and Nigeria in general through the festival,” Dabiri-Erewa said.
Responding to questions on number of people in the diaspora expected to grace the festival, Dabiri-Erewa said many Nigerians in the diaspora have already indicated interest to be part of it, adding: “We don’t have an accurate database but we are working on 15 million Nigerians in the diaspora and a lot of them are already coming.”
Also speaking, Professor Abass said the State Government was delighted to partner with the Federal Government and other promoters of the festival, as the event was in sync with the cardinal objective of the present administration in the State to use tourism, hospitality, entertainment and sport to promote excellence.
He said apart from the fact that the festival was coming at a time the State was celebrating the 50 years of its existence, the festival would be utilized to showcase the giant strides of Governor Ambode’s administration in transforming Badagry to the next tourism hub in Africa.
“This festival is going to be utilized to promote the huge efforts that the present administration in Lagos State has been putting into turning Badagry around in terms of infrastructure, in terms of tourism and so many other things and so this forthcoming celebration falls squarely within our government agenda to promote tourism and also to promote investment.
“As you know, we are developing a Sea Port in Badagry among so many other things and so the festival will be a win-win for everybody especially for us in Lagos State,” Abass said.
On his part, Mr Babatunde Mese-Waku, President of African Renaissance Foundation, one of the promoters of the festival, said a Brazilian, Baye De Santos, whose root has been traced to Ketu in Benin Republic, would be honoured at the festival for his contribution towards promoting issues relating to Africans in diaspora.
Also, Mr Rufai Ladipo, Managing Director of Agile Communications Ltd, the marketing firm for the festival, said series of activities have been lined up for the festival including carnival procession, boat regatta, fishing competition, dark era procession, diaspora dinner, beauty pageant, cultural displays, heritage site visits, heritage night, festival market, international music concert and international symposium, among others.
-Targets 20,000 Recipients By December
Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode on Tuesday presented cheques totaling N924.7 million to 1, 438 beneficiaries of the Employment Trust Fund (ETF) scheme initiated by his administration to provide entrepreneurs, artisans, traders and others with capital to boost their businesses thereby reducing unemployment and increasing wealth among the people.
So far, about 4, 000 businesses have benefited a total of N3.5billion from the scheme, while the target of the State Government is to support about 100,000 micro, small and medium enterprises and create at least 300, 000 direct and 600, 000 indirect jobs by 2019 through the initiative.
Governor Ambode had in January presented cheques totaling about N1billion to 705 beneficiaries who were selected after scaling through a transparent screening process.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony held at De Blue Roof, LTV 8 in Ikeja, Governor Ambode expressed delight that the government was on course to meet the objectives of the initiative, adding that it was also encouraging that the previous beneficiaries have started repaying their loans, thereby expanding their businesses and creating jobs.
Governor Ambode, who was represented by the Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Dr. Babatunde Durosinmi-Etti, made particular reference to one of the earlier beneficiaries simply identified as Jand2Gidi, saying that it was a thing of joy that they have started contributing to the growth of Lagos economy.
“One of the success stories of this programme which I am very proud of is the achievement of one of the first set of beneficiaries, a company called Jand2Gidi, run by two young women.
“Today, they have invested their loan in buying motorcycles for their delivery men, and hired people to operate those motorcycles. Not only are they repaying their loan, they have also created at least 10 direct jobs for Lagos residents, thereby increasing the economic activity across the State. We eagerly expect to celebrate many more success stories like this,” the Governor said.
The Governor, who commended the ETF Board for the good work done so far, equally charged them to increase the pace of work and ensure that by the end of 2017, at least 20,000 businesses would have benefited from the loan program, just as he expressed optimism that the overall target of the scheme would be met by 2019.
While congratulating the new 1,438 beneficiaries, the Governor charged them and other potential beneficiaries to emulate those who are repaying their loans, thereby ensuring the success of the program
He said: “It is only when you pay your loans back, and grow your businesses, that we can truly celebrate the success of this program. Your success is our success, and together we will grow Lagos State’s economy and create jobs for our residents.
“This initiative is another example of taxpayers’ money working for the people. I cannot thank enough all taxpaying citizens for providing the resources from which the State Government contributes N6.25billion tranches annually to the N25billion Employment Trust Fund.”
Besides, Governor Ambode urged other existing businesses or people desirous of starting one to take advantage of the scheme, assuring that the process of assessing and selecting beneficiaries would continue to be transparent and meet globally acceptable standards.
In her opening remarks, Chairman, Board of ETF, Mrs. Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru said the presentation ceremony was another milestone by Governor Ambode’s administration, saying that the vision of the Governor in setting up the Fund, which is the first of its kind in Nigeria, and his unwavering commitment to its success deserved commendation.
Omoigui-Okauru also revealed a partnership between the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to improve technical and vocational training in the State.
Under the programme, she said the LSETF will contribute Naira equivalent of $3million, while UNDP will contribute $1million and the funding will be used to train eligible Lagos residents in manufacturing, construction, healthcare, hospitality and entertainment, while successful trainees will be placed in jobs at the completion of the programme.
Responding on behalf of beneficiaries, Mr O.A Goriola of November 16 Nig Ltd, commended the State Government for the initiative and pledged that the funds would be judiciously utilized.