By Sola Alabadan
Lagos State Government has commenced moves to stop the payment of pensions to former governors and their Deputies in order to keep the cost of governance low.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu stated this today at the State House of Assembly, where he unveiled a 2021 budget proposal of N1,155 trillion.
Sanwo-Olu disclosed his administration’s determination to keep the cost of governance low in the face of dwindling revenues and general inflation occasioned by multiple factors, announcing the repeal of the State’s Payment of Pension Law of 2007, which provides payment of pension and entitlements to former Governors and their deputies.
The Governor said he would be sending an Executive Bill to the Assembly for the repeal of the Pension Law, noting that public service would now be predicated on selflessness in the State.
He said: “In light of keeping the costs of governance low, we will be sending a draft executive bill to the House of Assembly imminently for the repeal of the Payment of Pension Law 2007 (Public Office Holder), which provides for payment of pension and other entitlements to former Governors and their Deputies. It is our firm belief that with dwindling revenues and inflationary growth rates, that we need to come up with innovative ways of keeping the costs of governance at a minimum, while engendering a spirit of selflessness in public service.”
In the “Budget of Rekindling Hope” the government will be investing heavily in the development of human capital, with special focus on youth employment and provision of social safety for young people. The focus will be raising human capital, creating jobs and strengthening security for businesses to flourish.
The expenditure is for the restoration of economic balance as the State continues to navigate its way out of the negative impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the destruction of public assets, following the EndSARS protest hijack.
The budget, the Governor said, will be funded from a projected Internally-Generated Revenue (IGR) of N962 billion. The N192.495 billion deficit will be financed through bond issuance, internal and external loans.
About N704 billion, representing 61 per cent of the total budget, is earmarked for capital expenditure in the proposed 2021spending: an estimate of N451.75 billion, representing 39 per cent, will go for recurrent expenditure, which includes personnel cost and other staff-related expenses.
Sanwo-Olu said the budget was designed to improve the state’s economic conditions and create the social safety needed for the youth and all hardworking residents to flourish. He said the Government would leverage its developmental efforts and focus on sectors with job-creating potential, such as agriculture, construction, technology and security.
He said: “The year 2021 is one of Rekindled Hope, in accordance with recent events of global and national proportions, especially the coronavirus pandemic, the EndSARS protests, the general feeling of disenchantment in the polity and the socio-economic yearnings of Lagosians for good governance. This budget reflects our desire to rebuild the trust of the people in this Government, even as we commit significant human and financial resources to the rebuilding of Lagos while doing all we can to move on from the destruction and vandalism recently witnessed in the State, barely three weeks ago.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and EndSARS protests have only heightened the need to urgently implement various programmes under the T.H.E.M.E.S. agenda. The 2021 budget will, among other things, provide for youth employment, security, and youth engagement and social works. We are set to improve the economic conditions and social safety needed for our youth to flourish. We are committing resources to sectors that need to grow for our people to become self-reliant and economically empowered. In Agricultural sector, our food security plan has a cumulative budget of N22.21billion while we are committing a cumulative budget of N311.43billion to provide infrastructure.”
Niger Delta Militants Threaten To Attack Lagos, Abuja
Niger Delta militants under the aegis of Supreme Egbesu Liberation Fighters have threatened to destroy infrastructure in Lagos State and Abuja .
In a video posted on Tuesday by AIT , members of the group were seen wearing masks and putting on a military uniform .
One of them , who read a statement on behalf of the group , lamented poor implementation of the amnesty programme in the region, saying , “ there are no schools , no potable water , no light , no hospital and access roads for our people to enjoy till date” .
He said , “ Over the years, the Niger Delta people have made frantic efforts to create an enabling environment but to our great dismay, the Nigerian government over the years has decided to handle the issues of the Niger Delta with kid gloves .
“ They have betrayed the struggle and have left the people to their fate ,” a member of the group read from a statement .
“ Rather, what is visible is the presence of military gunboat and the numerous military personnel dispersed to the Niger Delta who are killing, raping , and maiming the innocent people of the region.
“ Look at the security surveillance contract taking place in our region through the federal government these agencies in place have decided to shortchange our people . Now in our territorial waters , it is an Israeli company that is providing waterway security which we have competent hands with expert knowledge to manage.
“ Don ’t worry, because we are coming to destroy all your infrastructure in Abuja and Lagos . As a group committed to giving total liberation to our people , we will destroy the oil facilities both onshore and offshore in no distant time , we will be seen to be crippling the Nigerian economy. ”
Ogun To Arrest Illegal Occupants Of Forest Reserve
The Ogun State government said it would soon start combing its forest reserve to arrest and prosecute illegal occupants .
The State Commissioner for Forestry , Tunji Akinosi , said this while responding to questions from journalists in Abeokuta , the state capital.
Akinosi said the government had written letters to the traditional rulers in the areas asking them to tell the illegal occupants to leave or be arrested .
He said, “ We have asked those that are illegally occupying our lands to leave , and now we are moving to the second stage of combing the areas ourselves and arresting those that are still residents in the reserve. ”
The Commissioner, while speaking on the depleted condition of the forest reserve, said, “ In the last 18 months , this administration has taken the bull by the horn in getting the Imeko and Aworo Forest Reserves back and running .
“ Unfortunately , the depletion did not start right now , it has been there and government this year alone had met twice with the Iledotun project coordinators and had taken 108 ,000 hectares of the forest reserve in Imeko and Aworo for regeneration .
“ We call it LND project , Land Degradation Neutrality project where you bring people of diverse nations to regenerate that place , and I am sure that between now and the next few months , you will see the work that would start there in reclaiming all the land that is there .”
Police Misconduct Responsible For #EndSARS Protests —PSC
The Chairman , Police Service Commission , Musiliu Smith , has attributed the # EndSARS protests to the misconduct of officers of the Nigeria Police Force.
Smith , a former Inspector -General of Police , decried the level of misconduct in the police force saying his office was always inundated with complaints from Nigerians .
The PSC chairman stated this at a retreat with the IG and his police management team , in Abuja on Tuesday .
Smith ’s statement contradicted claims by the Minister of Information and Culture , Lai Mohammed that the October protests were instigated by political and religious leaders .
He also said the demonstrations which were subsequently hijacked by hoodlums leading to widespread violence and looting , were aimed at overthrowing the Federal Government .
But puncturing these claims in his first public comment on the incident , the retired IG said, “ We are always having a lot of complaints from the members of the public against police officers. I believe that # EndSARS resulted from serious misconduct of some of our personnel .
“ I want to advise that we review the arrangements we are making for investigating such cases . Let ’s ensure that investigations are thoroughly conducted and whoever is the police officer that has been indicted will be punished according to the law . If we are doing that , some of the public complaints will go down . ”
Smith , who had been at loggerheads with the police leadership on the recruitment of police constables , also admonished IG Mohammed Adamu to work closely with the commission on the recruitment of credible Nigerians into the force.
Smith added that the number of court cases against the police was alarming , stressing that the force may not be able to pay the damages awarded against it .
In his remarks earlier, the IGP noted that the retreat was to bridge the communication gap and engender a better understanding and working relationship between the force and the police service commission .
The Attorney – General of the Federation and Minister of Justice , Abubukar Malami , who also spoke at the retreat, harped on the need for a harmonious working relationship among all the agencies of the government .