By Oladapo Sofowora
Not many of her peers would shoulder the responsibility of creating succour to the less privileged around them. They would rather invest their resources on frivolities and absurd materials that would never impact peoples life positively. Maryam Onikijipa Belgore, chooses to be different as her giant stride towards creating an egalitarian society, where equity, justice and fairness thrive seems to be actializing. Just like the proverbial rattle snake that saunter through the rocky path without it’s presence recorded, Maryam has made an indelible mark, cresting her name in gold as history will forever be kind to her for contributing to humanitarian ideals. If Cheerful giving were to be a craft, maryam would have had a mastery of it. She does it effortlessly without blinking an eye.
During her formative years, she has always had this covenant with her creator on using her God given wealth to service humanity. She further promised that; she would invest in the education of many girl-child and empower them to reach their full potentials. She has since been living her dreams, fulfilling her heart desires. Not much people are blessed with such a benevolent heart Maryam is blessed with, she has showed the world that; you can be beautiful in and out and still be a kind person.
Despite having an aristocratic and bourgeois background, born into the family of popular clergyman; Sheik Sulaiman Farooq Onikijipa, she was raised Inline with the tenents of Islam which gives strong references to ‘Zakat’ ‘Giving’. Through her Maryam Onikijipa Belgore Foundation, she has done fantastically well. She has extended her hands of help to the downtrodden. She has visited several IDP camps in Nigeria, where she sponsored children educations, distributes sanitary towels to kids, distributes Food items, toiletries and other important materials for survival.
Apart from her philanthropic gestures, The graduate of Cresent Univerisity is an advocate against rape, child abuse, genital mutilation and sexual abuse. She has constantly lend her voice by galvanazing the private sector in the need to address illiteracy affecting children as they are all entitled to quality education and good life regardless of their background. Despite the recent surge in mental health related issues leading to depression, suicide, trauma and low self esteem, She has also assisted by raising funds through, mental health care and policy advocacy. The fund will be used to cater for anyone who needs mental health recovery either as a result of drug abuse or other mental health related issues.
Today the 3rd of October, the super pretty mother of three saunters into a new age on earth. At a time when the world is currently ravaged by a global pandemic, she spent million of Naira in distribution of palliative to people in Lagos, Abuja and Kwara. Like popular Nigerian Professor and writer and dramatist; Prof Femi Osofisan wrote in one of his masterpiece; ‘Birthday are not for Dying’; which aptly captures that birthday are for the living. Being alive to witness such day is a clear indication that the creator still watches over his own people. Maryam sees birthdays as a day not only to celebrate by throwing big soiree and entertain friends but a time to reflect on the past and work on the future.
To further show her commitment to humanitarian related works, on Thursday the 1st of October, Maryam and her crew visited the Durumi IDP Camp in Abuja, where she donated food items, sanitary towels, cash. She also cut her birthday cake with displaced children who sang and merried with her. For her, celebrating her birthday in such a way was the best. The children she fed matters more as it gives her great joy to put smiles on their faces and share her birthday cake with them.
As she would have loved to throw a massive Shindig in celebration mood, most expecially her Cosmopolitan husband, Abdulsalam Belgore, would have treated her to an expensive birthday treat, that would never be forgotten in a hurry but Maryam chooses to keep it on a lowkey and also spend time praying to her creator to grant her many more years in good health and wealth. For those willing to visit her Abuja Home, Maryam will be displaying her culinary skills as she hosts her close friends, family to a special dinner.
Those privileged to attend would be treated like Kings and Queen with grand opulence. Trust Maryam when it comes to hosting a shindig, you should expect the very best of continental and local dish laced with lavish supply of high cost Champagne, Cognac, Vodka, Rums, Whisky, Red and White wines. As she celebrates, we indeed wish her many more years with continuation of her philanthropic and humanitarian works.
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The National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity), has warned security agencies against extra-judicial killing and harassment of innocent Nigerians in the course of fishing out those responsible for the killings of security personnel and attacks on security formations and those fuelling insecurity in the South- East and South-South.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Tuesday during deliberations of the Security Council meeting approved undisclosed new security measures for the two regions aftermath of multiple attacks on security formations.
The NAS Capoon, Mr Abiola Owoaje, in a statement titled ‘The Growing Tempest in East & South’ said it is important “that the security services do not engage in presumption group-blame, collective punishment, and extra-judicial killings in the course of investigating these crimes”.
Owoaje pointed out that such “unbridled illegalities and high-handedness will only go to further alienate local communities, and deepen the antipathy that already characterizes the relationship between them and law enforcement agencies.”
The association while strongly condemning the attacks and killing of security personnel condoled with families that lost loved ones and urged the government to do all within the confines of the law to get the perpetrators and make them face the fall wrath of the law.
According to him, NAS is disturbed that the insecurity in the two regions has further exacerbated the deteriorating security situation in the country.
Owoaje called on the government to move swiftly, and with unaccustomed competence and diligence, to arrest the current climate of insecurity across the two regions.
The statement read in part “This gradual slide into anarchy in the South-East and South-South regions has the potential to expand the number of ungoverned spaces in Nigeria, further, stretch our security apparatus, and engender devastating social and economic consequences for the country as a whole.
“We urge the security agencies in the two regions to resist the temptation of seeing themselves as a force of occupation out to subjugate the people and unleash terror among the teeming law-abiding citizens. They should approach their task with a sincerity of purpose, and rein in the criminal elements intent on foisting terror and bloodletting. Evidence abounds of previous overzealous interventions by security agencies that have aggravated insecurity in the two regions rather than contain the same. Unprofessional conduct and prejudice from those entrusted with such operations must not be tolerated.
“The government and security agencies have a constitutional duty to protect the lives and property of the peace-loving residents of the two regions from harm. No innocent Nigerian should be harassed, intimidated, or made to suffer under any guise of combing for suspected criminal elements in the South-East and South-South regions.”
As part of efforts to develop manpower that can address future challenges in Nigeria, the Lagos State Lotteries Board (LSBL) has established a science-based educational quiz competition that would aid young inventors towards achieving their goals of producing technologies that could proffer solution to human needs across the country.
The science-based quiz competition, LSBL said, is Eko S.T.E.M Quiz, would prepare the students for science and technology and bridge the invention gap between Nigeria particularly in Lagos and other major cities globally.
According to the lotteries board, the EKO STEM competition was designed for the public and low-cost private secondary school students in Senior Secondary School (SSS) 2 to boost their passion for science and technology.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the lotteries board, Bashir Are, while addressing pressmen yesterday in Ikeja, added that the aim was to further sustain the ongoing development in the education sector embarked upon by the State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to take education to next level in Lagos.
Are noted that the intervention was part of the board’s functions, saying, we are allowed by section 33 of Lagos State Lotteries Board (amended) law of 2008 to give some interventions in Education, infrastructure, environment, social, and health in the state.
He added that the intervention in education development would ensure that the state has a skilled workforce that could address its challenges in science and technology which had continued to alter previous workforce arrangements globally.
Earlier, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Lotteries, Olufunmilola Olotu, stressed that to prepare the students for the future, “it is important to proactively promote the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum”.
Olotu stated that quiz competition is a form of education, just as she described education as a process of acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.
Olotu explained that this competition would provide the ground for the state government to achieve its goal in technology, preparing the mind of the students for the future, adding, the contents could be re-used for teaching.
The senior special assistant explained that the competition was essential for the children and that it would not only educate but also entertain the students in the country particularly Lagos.
She argued that the EKO STEM quiz competition would afford the students an opportunity to choose their career path and understand importance of teamwork.
Olotu, who emphasized that the year-long competition would be broadcast on Television for viewers that would watch from home, hinted that the ultimate prize for winners is a Scholarship award to study anywhere globally and a visit to the Silicon Valley.
“lt is our belief that in any educational system, academic competition is of utmost importance because it contributes to a child’s development and learning process. A healthy competition among academic institutions nurtures various values and opportunities, including but not limited to prestige, media exposure, monetary donations, and research grants,” she added.
Explaining modalities for the competition that is set to provide a platform for over 1,500 students to achieve their dream, the governor’s aide explained that preliminary examination would hold May 15th for both public and private schools across the 57 Local Government and Local Council Development Area (LCDA).
According to her, all results will be collated and input into the online system, and with the system cut-off mark, those that had better scores will proceed to the Computer-Based examination stage and other stages.
… 21 Schemes In The Works, Says Commissioner
By the end of 2023, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu would have delivered 35 housing schemes to close the huge deficit in the sector, Commissioner for Housing Mr. Moruf Akinderu-Fatai has said on Tuesday.
Of the schemes, 14 have been delivered within the first two years of the Sanwo-Olu administration, adding over 7,000 affordable housing units to the market.
Akinderu-Fatai spoke on the achievements of the Ministry of Housing during the ongoing inter-ministerial briefing to commemorate Governor Sanwo-Olu’s second year in office.
He said the Government was committed to reducing the housing deficit and providing affordable homes for the greater number of residents, stressing that the Sanwo-Olu administration would be delivering 21 housing schemes before the end of 2023.
The Commissioner was optimistic that the administration would realise its mass housing programmes, despite the prevailing economic situation in the country, adding that policies initiated had enhanced access for low- and high-income families.
He said: “The last two years have been eventful in the Ministry of Housing, as we have strengthened our efforts to realise the housing programmes of the current administration. We have completed and delivered various schemes across Lagos, including Lateef Jakande Gardens in Igando, Lagos State Affordable Public Housing Scheme in Idale Badagry, LagosHOMS Lekki Phase 2 and Babatunde Raji Fashola Estate, Courtland Villas, Igbokushu, among others.
“We have four housing schemes recently completed and are due for commissioning in the coming days. They are located in Odo Onosa Ayandelu, Agbowa, Magodo/Omole, Gbagada and Ibeshe. In all, a total of 14 schemes have been completed and these added over 7,000 affordable housing units to the market. We have other ongoing housing projects, totalling 21 schemes, which are being developed through budgetary allocation and joint ventures.”
Speaking on affordability and accessibility of the schemes, Akinderu-Fatai said the homes are for both low and high net worth individuals in highbrow and low-income settlements, including Igando, Igbokusu, Lekki, Badagry, Igbogbo, Odo-Onosa/Ayandelu, Agbowa, Sangotedo, Epe, Ilubirin, Epe and Egan-Igando.
On the strategies to tackle the housing deficit, Akinderu-Fatai hinted that the State Government was partnering multinational development partners for the construction of mass housing estates. He said henceforth, housing provision would be in the realm of thousands of homes to drastically reduce the burden.
The Commissioner praised Sanwo-Olu for his commitment and passion at ensuring that greater number of residents achieve their dream of becoming homeowners, adding that the State Government needed the support of all stakeholders towards providing decent and stable shelter for residents.
He said: “The task of bridging the housing gap in Lagos is demanding and we are extending our willingness to private sector participants to come in and invest in the housing sector to reduce the hardship faced by the people in their quest for decent shelter.”
Akinderu-Fatai said that the Lagos Mortgage Board had strengthened the “Rent-to-Own” policy, putting many residents on the homeownership ladder. He pointed out that the scheme targeted first-time homeowners, saying: “It has given a good opportunity to both to the low and middle-income citizens to become home owners.”
In the housing development projects, the Commissioner said the State Government had boosted the local economy by hundreds of local workers, artisans, suppliers and contractors for the scheme.
“There are intense construction activities on many housing schemes all over the State revitalising the housing delivery value chain. The fact that the construction sites are active means economic engagement for hundreds of workers, artisans, suppliers and contractors. This brings vibrancy that increases the economic resilience of our people,” Akinderu-Fatai said.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Housing, Mrs. Toke Awoyinka-Benson, said the Government made efforts to make Lagos an investor-friendly State, given its housing development laws, and establishment of the Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority (LASRERA).
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