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COVID-19: Lagos Excos Makes History With First-Ever Virtual Meeting

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It was an exciting moment this morning at the Lagos State Executive Council (EXCO) meeting – the first-ever virtual meeting in the history of governance in the State. Nigeria? Well, not clear.

The Chairman is no other person than Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu. The Deputy Chair is Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat, the Deputy Governor.

Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso said the meeting was held via Zoom, a free HD meeting application with video and screen sharing for up to 100 people.

It was all in compliance with the directive against gatherings as part of the anti-Coronavirus battle-plan.

“The meeting was slated for 10.45am but almost all EXCO members had hooked up to the system by 10.00am, awaiting the arrival of Mr. Governor to kickstart deliberations for the day,” Omotoso said.

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Governor Sanwo-Olu came online at about 11.05am. On top of the agenda was the review of the management of COVID-19, especially the provision of additional isolation centres; the fumigation of the State against the spread of the virus, and the package for the less-privileged and daily income earners, the indigent.

“The Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Gbolahan Lawal briefed members on the distribution of the relief packages to local governments and local council development areas. Members reviewed areas where teething problems occurred and proffered ideas to solve identified problems,” he added.

There were comments by some members. As the debates and clarifications went on, the Chairman announced that those eager to speak should spend a minute each.

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While acknowledging the excitement of members for being part of the first virtual meeting of the Lagos State Executive Council, the Commissioner said the feat affirmed that governance in Lagos will proceed seamlessly despite the 14-day restriction announced by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Lagos and Ogun States as well as the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja are on a 14-day lockdown.

“Members were in high spirits. Some of us were in our offices; others attended the online meeting from the comfort of their homes. With this historic achievement, residents are assured that governance in Lagos State will continue, irrespective of the situation around us,” Omotoso asserted.

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The idea of the online meeting was mooted by Governor Sanwo-Olu, who directed the Ministry of Science and Technology to facilitate it. The Special Adviser (Innovation and Technology), Mr. Olatunbosun Alake, moderated the meeting, reading out the dos and don’ts of the session which Science and Technology Commissioner, Hakeem Fahm described as “historic”.

“We should let our people know about this,” Waterfront Infrastructure Development Commissioner, Kabiru Ahmed said excitedly after the meeting.

Also part of the meeting were, Banters here and there, waving of hands and laughter.

“Can you see me?” Am I connected?” “Yeah, I’m here”.

Suddenly, at about 11.05am, the Chairman enters and announces his presence by calling the house to order. All is quiet.

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Breaking: Labour Suspends Today Planned Strike As FG Reverses Electricity Tariff Hike

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The Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress have suspended the strike scheduled to commence today (Monday).

This followed an agreement reached with the Federal Government at a meeting which started at 8.30pm on Sunday and ended at 2:50am this morning.

After exhaustive deliberations on the issues raised by the labour centres, the meeting agreed to suspend the application of the cost-reflective electricity tariff adjustments for two weeks.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, read the five-page communique signed by the representatives of the government and labour.

The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba; and his Trade Union Congress counterpart, Quadri Olaleye, amongst others signed on behalf of Organised Labour while the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige; Minister of State Petroleum, Timipre Silva; Minister of State Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo (SAN); Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed; and the Secretary to Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha and others, signed on behalf of the government.

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Olaleye confirmed the development in an interview with The PUNCH on Monday morning.

He said, “Definitely correct. We just left a press conference. We signed a document to suspend the action for two weeks for the government to implement those things that we agreed in the agreement. So, we are suspending for two weeks.

“We don’t need a notice again to re-convene if there is a need to do that.”

The parties agreed to set up a technical committee comprising Ministries, Departments, Agencies, NLC and TUC.

 

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Senator Abbo’s followers Pledge Loyalty To Gov Fintiri

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Some key followers of Sen Ishaku Abbo of Adamawa North District have declared a shifting of loyalty to Governor Ahmadu Fintiri.

Although, Abbo is in the same Peoples Democratic Party ((PDP) with the state governor, Abbo has been a critic of both the party and the governor, waging an unending battle against both.

In an action indicating disaffection against him by some within his own support base on Friday, however, many among his supporters visited Governor Fintiri, pledging their loyalty to him.

Members of the delegation to the Government House in Yola, led by Abbo Support Group’s former Coordinator, Peter Ishaya Kwache, told Fintiri that he now had their “complete shift of loyalty”.

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Mr. Kwache said they were members of the PDP, who worked to ensure the success of all candidates of the party in the 2019 general election, particularly Abbo, but that they had for a while been at a loss about Abbo’s relentless criticism of the party and the government led by Fintiri.

 

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Water Bill: A Northern Agenda To Righten The Noose On The South – Rep Member

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The Member representing Ughelli North, Ughelli South and Udu federal constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Francis Waive, has described the Water Resources Bill as a Northern agenda to tighten the noose on the Southern part of the country.

Hon Waive who is a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC from Delta State in a statement, weekend while expressing concerns on the bill, explained that though some provisions in the bill are welcoming and warm, because of the nature of governance and the tendencies to misuse powers in the country, “we cannot at this point in time properly handle this kind of a law without causing more harm than good.”

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According to him, “One will be tempted to ask, what is the intention behind this law? Is it really for the general good of the Nigerian people as it states? How well has the various natural resources been managed for the general good?”

Speaking further, he said: “The oil from the Niger Delta region has not positively impacted the life of the people from the Niger Delta and the one who bears the impact of the exploration activities.

“The various River Basins which are currently under the control of the government, has not been properly managed; instead it has been grossly politicized, how then can the government manage and control all the water bodies in the country.

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“According to public opinion this law is a Northern agenda to further tighten the noose on the South, because obviously the majority of the states from the middle belt down south are surrounded by water. There is also a high resemblance of intentions of some provisions of this act with that of the unsuccessful RUGA bill.

“In my opinion, the bill is of no immediate benefit to the generality of the populace at this point in time, plus we have not developed enough as a country to be able to properly manage all the resources we have to now begin to look at water. Water is the least of our problems as a country.”

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