•Governor Donates Official Vehicles, Secretariat
•‘All Lagos’ Retirees Get Their Pension Benefits Every Month’
On the occasion of International Workers’ Day commemoration, Lagos workers, on Saturday, reaped a bumper harvest of welfare packages – thanks to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
The Governor approved 10 hectares of land in Idera, Ibeju Lekki, and Badagry for workers housing schemes .
Sanwo-Olu handed over the title documents to chairmen of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) at an elaborate event organised to commemorate Workers’ Day.
The event, with the theme: “COVID-19 Pandemic, Social and Economic Crises: Challenges for Jobs, Social Protection and Peoples’ Welfare”, was held at Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan in the heart of Lagos.
The two housing schemes will be built by the labour unions with funds from Federal Mortgage Bank. The Ministry of Housing will supervise the project.
Also, the labour unions will now have a befitting secretariat to aid their operations, the Governor said. The secretariat, Sanwo-Olu promised, will be ready before next year’s May Day.
There was applause as Sanwo-Olu announced the package. He was hailed as “the best worker friendly Governor”.
Sanwo-Olu said a productive workforce remained the backbone of a prosperous society, pointing out that Lagos workers are important stakeholders in the growth of the State’s economy and they deserve more than just an increment in the minimum wage.
Sanwo-Olu was the first Governor to fully implement new salary structure that raised minimum wage from N18,000 to N30,000. The Governor approved N35,000 minimum wage, which is above the national benchmark.
Sanwo-Olu said his administration, in the last 12 months, had initiated welfare programmes specifically targeted at improving workers’ welfare and helping them to stabilise their livelihoods, following the economic disruption occasioned by spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the State.
He said: “Today, I am handing over 10 hectares of land to organised labour unions in Lagos State to het mortgage scheme and build a housing estate for workers. The title documents to lands have been approved and I am happy to hand them over to the leaders of the labour unions at this occasion. This intervention is part of our interventions to reduce burden on our workers whose means of livelihood have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In the past year, we took a major step in promoting workers’ welfare by revising the 2020 Budget to accommodate the social and economic impact of COVID-19, and to prioritise spending and investment that fulfilled the two primary goals of keeping our people alive and helping them sustain their livelihoods.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, we asked most of our civil servants to stay at home and work from there. I am proud to say that we did not lay off workers, despite the economic recession that accompanied the pandemic and the downward review of the State’s 2020 Budget. We strengthened our social safety net to prevent a widespread loss of jobs, which would have led to a reversal of the progress we have made in the reduction of poverty.”
The Governor specially recognised the sacrifice and selflessness of frontline workers in the COVID-19 response, extending his appreciation to medical personnel and sweepers disposing medical waste.
Henceforth, Sanwo-Olu said the labour unions shall have a representative on the Board of the Pension Commission, pledging that the State Government would extend the courtesy to other labour-centric statutory bodies. He asked the organised labour to immediately forward the name of their representative for the pension board.
He said the State Government had demonstrated sincerity in implementing most of the demands of workers, pointing out that Lagos paid the statutory uniform allowances for medical workers. He pledged commitment to fulfilling demands of the unions that were yet to be redeemed.
Sanwo-Olu disclosed that his administration had cleared the backlog of pensioners’ benefits and did not owe any retiree their monthly allowance.
He said: “We are in the process of increasing the fleet of our buses and we are going to consider supporting labour unions in Lagos with buses for Labour City Transport to assist in movement of workers. We have reviewed the composition of appointees in the Pension Commission; we will make amendment to ensure the labour representative in included.
“We have increased allowance we pay to pensioners and we have consistently ensured that pensioners get their pension the same time State workers get their monthly salaries. There is no pensioner we are owing today; we will continue to ensure that retirees who have served the State are not left behind in our welfare programmes.”
The Governor also donated official vehicles to the NLC and TUC chairmen to assist them in running the unions.
State chairman of NLC, Comrade Funmi Sessi, extolled the Governor’s leadership qualities demonstrated in combating COVID-19, praising Sanwo-Olu for the payment of full salaries of workers who could not go to work during the first and second waves of COVID-19.
The labour leader stressed that Lagos Government had demonstrated exemplary leadership in granting judiciary full autonomy, adding that Sanwo-Olu had created labour-friendly environment for workers in the State, which resulted from the appointment of Special Adviser on Labour Matters.
Lagos TUC chairman, Comrade Gbenga Ekundayo, said the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic had led to an upsurge in the violation of the rights of workers in the private sector.
He urged the Governor to strengthen social security support and initiate actions that would adequately protect workers in the informal sector and private firms.
He said: “Employers of labour and their human resources advisers have deployed different orthodox and unorthodox measures to mitigate their financial exposures in this period of COVID-19, some of which are not known to Nigerian Labour and Employment Laws.
“Workers in the informal sector who are not organised are more vulnerable and their situation made worse due to the non-existing social security system. Government must urgently look for a way to strengthen social security support so that workers can be adequately protected at all times.”
Highlights of the event included a march by many unions. Sanwo-Olu took the salute.
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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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