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…Launches Motor Park Health, Safety Initiative

GOVERNOR Babatunde Fashola (SAN) has urged Lagos motorists and vehicle operators to patronize the approved Driving Institutes located across the State in order to improve their driving skills.

He spoke at the New Garage, Ojota, in Kosofe Local Government Area, while flagging off the Health Sensitization and Awareness Campaign in commemoration of the World Mental Health Day and launching the Motor Park Health and Safety Initiative of the State.

Supported at the occasion by the State's Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris and his Transportation counterpart, Comrade Kayode Opeifa, the Governor said such training would enable the recipients be ”both a better person at work and a more efficient person in the course of his or her duties.”

In stressing that an automobile is not a toy, Fashola said, “an automobile requires people who are skilled to manage it and that is why Lagos State Government has, as at today, built five Drivers' Institutes located in Epe, Ikorodu, Oshodi, Ikeja and Lagos Island to train motorists, both private and public, about techniques, driving methods and driving habits.

“I urge members of the Road Transport Unions, Road Transport Employers' Associations, the Taxi Drivers' Unions, NUPENG and all of them to patronize these institutes to improve their driving skills. It may save your lives and make you a better person at work.”

The Governor enumerated the facilities installed at the Centres by the Government, to include  those for eye test adding that “although many people who drive today take it for granted, the result from the institutes indicates that many people who manage vehicles on our roads have eye defects which can be corrected or assisted with eye glasses.

Making himself as an example, he said, “I chose that I would rather live with the inconveniences of wearing eye glasses than to fall off the 3rd Mainland Bridge into the Lagoon.”

He spoke at length on accidents and their causes, saying, “Accidents are influenced, induced and precipitated by substance abuse  alcohol particularly, and drugs  which impair the ability of the driver to manipulate and manage that machine called the automobile”.

“As I said earlier, an automobile is not a toy. Not only do you need skill training to operate a car, you also need to be aware and to be alert for your safety and the safety of other road users”, the Governor said adding that to check incidences of accidents induced by substance abuse, the Government has introduced an instrument that would help monitor the level of alcohol and other substances in a driver's system before he could be allowed to drive.”

He told the hundreds of drivers and park operators at the occasion that, “I have come here today to launch this Breathalyzer and work with you to improve awareness about its uses and benefits, starting with commercial vehicle operators so that we can monitor the level of alcohol and other substances in their systems before they are allowed to drive vehicles”.

Governor Fashola said although the machine, which has a disposable mouthpiece, is currently imported, the State Government was willing to partner with interested entrepreneurs in the country to begin to manufacture it in Lagos or any part of the country “so that we can keep this economy within us; so that our people can get opportunities to get employment in so doing”.

Explaining how it is operated, the Governor said “it is inserted in the mouth of the person to be tested and the person is required to breath on it after which it is read and the mouth piece disposed of adding that one mouth piece should not be used for more than one person.

The Governor said the Sensitization and Awareness meeting was aimed at increasing awareness about mental health and what could be done, not only to prevent it but also to cure it adding, “There is nothing unusual about mental health. It is part of the Healthcare Plan for the sustainability of our people and for improving their life expectancy”.

He said  his administration would undertake High blood pressure tests, Diabetes tests, Cancer screening tests, Counselling and Guidance for all the park operators adding, “but it is also important to emphasize that this is all about safety; safety of transport workers, their members and also citizens who patronize them. There is clear evidence that accidents should not happen if the basic things are done”.

Pointing out that despite all the driving skill training and other precautions, accidents would always happen “wherever you have so many people moving across”, Fashola expressed regrets that lives had been lost across the country in most cases simply because of lack of emergency response.

“Lagos State has built up that emergency response capacity today. We have 767 and 112 toll free lines you can call in periods of emergency. Our LASAMBUS and Ambulance service is, probably, second to none and the best in the whole of the country today. If you call them, they will be there”, he said.

In addition to all these, he said, “we have built a Trauma Centre in the busiest highway, at the Toll-Gate end of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and we hope that other states will follow and build this kind of trauma centre across the 36 states as we go on in order to improve our capacity to save life”.

Urging the people to vote massively for the Action Congress of Nigeria in the coming Local Government election, Governor Fashola told the Park operators, “I appeal to you to participate fully. This is the most important government to you. It is the one that is closest to your homes; it is the one that is closest to your wives and children. Get involved; support the Action Congress of Nigeria because we have a plan to continuously make life better for you in Lagos State.

•Donates N3m drugs, mosquito nets to community clinic

BENUE state chairman of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria, (ALGON),Hon. David Sevav, has awarded scholarships worth over N5million to  final year student of universities in the country that are of Ukum Local Government origin. .

Sevav, who is also the Chairman of Ukum Local Government Council, has donated drugs worth N3million and mosquito treated net to community health clinic for smooth health care delivery.

He charged beneficiaries of his gesture, particularly students “to consider the token as aid to foster their project as final year students.”

He disclosed that the scholarship scheme would be an annual event which he expected would help alleviate hardship of the beneficiaries.

In pointing out that the aim before the gesture was not politically motivated, the ALGON state chairman said “it is rather borne out of a desire to help young boys and girls who are prospective graduates of Ukum local government origin.”

He therefore called on all sons and daughters of the local government to do same for the over all development of the local government, educationally.

Coordinator of the Hon. David Sevav Scholarship Scheme (DASEMA), Dr. Tersoo Kpelai, thanked the chairman for his ideas, saying,”it is first of its kind in the history of the local government for a serving chairman to think of taking away sorrows from undergraduate final year students of the local government, who are engaged in project writing as such critic stage of their educational pursuit.”

The undergraduate final year students were drawn from eight universities in the country, and 13 council wards of Ukum local government, respectively.


THE Lagos State Government is set to discontinue the services of two of its tax consultancy firms,  Alpha Beta and TAMAC- in revenue collection.

Speaking in Lagos, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Taxation and Revenue, Mr. Bola Shodipo, said the government would from next year discontinue with the revenue/tax consultancy system.

He noted that the two consultancy firms had outlived their usefulness, adding that “their services may no longer be needed.”

In their own assessment, the organised private sector under the auspices of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), had accused the revenue consultants of alleged outrageous lifestyle, describing them as “squandering tax-payer's money.”

MAN also accused the consultants of double- standard and encouraging multiple taxes in the state.

The private revenue/tax consultants were introduced when Asiwaju Bola Tinubu was governor of the state.

One of the firms, Alpha Beta is being linked to the former governor.  There are indications that recent reforms carried out by the government had empowered the state Board of Internal Revenue to bring in tax/revenue experts, as its core staff.

The internally-generated revenue of the state has been put at over N20 billion, monthly.


FORMER Governor of Zamfara state, Senator Ahmed Sani Yarima, has revisited his bitter experience with his predecessor, former Governor Mahmuda Aliyu Shinkafi, saying his application for the payment of his entitlements was “turned down.”

For the four years he piloted the affairs of Zamfara State, Shinkafi refused to pay my entitlements, even on demand.”

Yarima went memory lane at his Gusau residence during an interaction with journalists.

After leaving office in 2007, he said, his entitlements “such as free house, an office, two vehicles, and free medical treatments abroad, free children education and office staff were denied me because of the political misunderstanding between us.”

The Ex-Governor lamented what he described as “unfair treatment by his former deputy for eight years from 1999  2007, who later succeeded him in office, as the State Governor.”

In making a comparison, he said, “former Governor Hashidu of Gombe State was paid the sum of N250 million, while  Rabiu Kwankwaso was paid N900 million by the former Kano State Governor Ibrahim Shekarau.”

He wondered why Shinkafi “threw his reminders into a waste paper basket in Zamfara State.”

The Senator explained   that when he was elected and wanted to move  to Abuja, he had to secure N250 million  loan from United Bank for Africa (UBA),out of which, he said, he paid the bank N65million deposit to pay up his present house in Abuja.

He refuted claims that his relationship with former Governor Shinkafi broke up because of “my attempt to have over bearing influence on him.”

“I never sent anybody to governor Shinkafi throughout his tenure. I also told him that anybody who comes to tell him that I sent him for any thing should be rejected. So the issue of attempting to influence his government did not arise” he said.

Making a comparison, he said, “my eight years tenure and the four years tenure of Shinkafi are an open book for any one to see what had been achieved by the two administrations, in the first place.|

Yarima maintained that Shinkafi who was his deputy for eight years “has no moral justification to accuse him of not developing the State during his tenure.”

He noted that the 2011 general election in Zamfara proved Shimkafi's claim wrong stressing that if he did not do anything in the state “how come the people revolted against Shinkafi and his PDP through the ballot box even while he was in office.”

The Senator was of the view that |everything between Shinkafi and himself, “ “was just the battle for political supremacy.”

On a serious note, he said, “the allocation he collected in eight years is what Shinkafi received in just four years.”

Yarima recalled that he introduced the Zamfara Poverty Allegation Agency (ZAPA) during his tenure, “ to give succor to the citizenry,  which is the main reason why I am regarded as the political leader in the State.”

GOVERNOR Babatunde Fashola has commissioned 72 units of three bedroom flats at Elegant Court located in Ikota in Lekki area.

Speaking at the occasion, he said “the State will continue to partner with the private sector to develop similar accommodation for middle cum upper income strata and use the proceeds to fund its social housing provision.”

The Governor Fashola recalled that during the campaigns for the last election, many opponents had criticized the State Government for partnering to invest in luxury apartments, stressing that they were only exhibiting their ignorance.

“What they fail to realize is that if we don't invest in these types of houses and take the money to go and fund social housing, we will not find enough money to do it. We are the only creative government that can create such novel programme”.

“Over the next few weeks, months and years, in fulfilment of our electoral promises, Lagosians should expect to see the commencement and completion of many more of these types of housing projects funded directly by Government and also in partnership with the private sector.

“For our government in Lagos, and our party , the Action Congress of Nigeria, housing delivery remains one of the time tested policies for creating growth, economic development, galvanizing employment and reducing crime”, the Governor stated.

He recalled that a little over 16days ago when he commissioned the 80 units of three bedroom flats in Ojokoro, he stated that the solution to the Lagos housing deficit did not lie with the State Government alone,” but will require a broad based coming together of all stakeholders, from the State to the Federal and to the private sector.

He said the State Government had been working diligently to create a platform for such collaboration.

“We have come this far because of our clear understanding that there are entrepreneurs in our society who have what we want and that we also have what they want. They want to do legitimate business by building houses to be sold to the middle and upper income strata of our society where there is a clear market demand. We have the land that we hold in trust for the people”.

“We have thus engaged them to create a partnership where they offered to take credit from banks to finance construction and we offered to provide land and share the profits from the sale of the houses to be built”, he said.

The Governor reiterated that the 72 units of bedroom flats, built on 1.9 hectares of land represented  one of the visible results of that partnership, while among the invisible benefits are the profits made by the financing bank, Skye Bank,  which, he said,  “saw the opportunity for business and lent a hand to it.”

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