Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, on Monday, warned that the state government will not tolerate lawlessness and the violation of the state’s building codes.
The governor also denied any political motives in the partial demolition of DATKEM Plaza, Ijebu-Ode.
Prince Abiodun formally reacted to the demolition and the attendant accusation after inspecting the 8-kilometre Mowe-Ofada Road, in Obafemi Owode Local Government Area of the state.
According to the governor, the partial demolition exercise carried out by the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development was in line with the laws of the state.
He denied accusations in some quarters that the exercise was political, adding that necessary steps were taken by government officials when contraventions were observed in the course of constructing the edifice.
The governor noted that in Ogun State, and Nigeria, nobody is above the law. The law that governs ordinary citizens, according to him, also applies to the VIPs.
He said: “But for the fact you have ambushed me, I was not prepared to formally address that subject matter. And the reasons are very simple, we are a responsible government. We are responsible to our citizens. We are a law-abiding administration. I’m sure that everyone would testify to the fact that since I assumed office in 2019, I have ensured equity, fairness and upheld the rule of law. I have not in any way attempted to be vindictive or in any form or manner appear like someone who is trying to witch-hunt anyone.
“Having said that, because these are some of the insinuations I have read on social media and nothing could be farther from the truth. You all have seen the position of the Ministry of Physical Planning, which is the ministry that is entrusted with ensuring that people adhere to our different building codes. Because if we don’t respect building codes, if we don’t abide by building laws, it means that we are nothing but a chaotic society.
“These are the people charged with ensuring that our cities and towns are well laid out, well planned and the buildings that are constructed are safe to live in. We are all living witnesses to what has happened in the state and Lagos State when buildings have collapsed. And proactively, our government and across the country have brought some buildings down for violations of different building regulations.
“Only a few weeks ago, the new minister of the FCT said any person who builds in FCT without approval no matter how highly placed they are, be it a minister or anybody, the building will come down. And recalled sometime last year, when a building collapsed on Gerald in Lagos, a building that belonged to someone that I know personally, I held a press conference and said we would not allow for this to happen in Ogun State. You build without approval, you build beyond your approval, if you don’t build in line with our regulations, that building will come down.
“Now, let’s go to this DATKEM. First I can assure you that our physical planning team do not have the responsibility of unmasking who the owner of a company is. It is beyond their mandate. As far as they know, a company called DATKEM had applied for approval to erect a five-story building. That approval was filed in 2009, way beyond our administration. But sometime in 2022, a contravention notice was sent to the owners of DATKEM.
“In Ogun State and in Nigeria, we don’t have a set of laws for the common man and the VIP. That is not the way it works. There is one law for everybody. Nobody is above the law. And the law is not the respecter of VIPs or VIPPs. So, they sent the contravention notice to DATKEM, regardless of who the owner of DATKEM was, which was not their priority. After they sent that contravention notice in May 2022, they sent a stop order notice to DATKEM, saying you are in contravention, stop working on this project until you come and correct these contraventions. They followed that stop order with another stop order. They sent a violation order. They sealed the premises. “The owners of DATKEM in their minds must have felt they were above the law. It smirks of impunity if the Ministry of Physical Planning sends you a contravention order, sends you a seal order and you continue with the construction in violation of the safety of all of us in Ogun State.
“They sent you a demolition order, you still did not respond. You begin to sneak into the building at night, you begin to work there. You begin to attempt to grease palms so that they can overlook your contraventions. But, of course, a day of reckoning will always come.”
The governor said properties are demolished every day in the state without any noise being made, adding that he had instructed that if his property violates state laws, it should be brought down.
Addressing the accusation of vindictiveness, the governor recalled his intervention in another property belong to the alleged owner of DATKEM.
He said: “Let me take you down memory lane. The purported owner of this property, when I assumed office in 2019, had a property in Abeokuta. It was meant to be a hotel. My predecessor had sealed that property for eight years. He had issued a stop order. He was going to demolish that building, but for my intervention. I pleaded with him. That building remained under lock and key until I resumed office. The first day I was sworn in was the very day the owner moved into that property for the first time in eight years. And today, the property is called Conference Hotel in Abeokuta.
“How do you now begin to accuse the same me that facilitated the completion of that project despite different court actions that were brought then, despite different charges by the EFCC that were hanging around the project. I actually commissioned that project alongside the former vice president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo. You are now trying to use media, trying to attract unnecessary sympathy, playing the underdog that I, Dapo Abiodun, demolished a property that first I didn’t know it was yours; your name is not on that property. You never came forward to say this property is yours.
“You expect that someone, who is a serving senator, a former governor of this state, would show a level of more responsibility. I have said it that I, Dapo Abiodun, if I have a building that violates the building code, bring it down.
“And by this, I am sending a strong warning to all of us across the state. There are many of you who have buildings without approvals. There are many of you who don’t even have C of O. If you have built without approvals, the long arm of the law will soon be catching up with you. We will not tolerate lawlessness in this state. We will not be defined by lawlessness and half hazard development when you just build anyhow.”
BREAKING: Fire Guts Supreme Court
A section of the Supreme Court complex in Abuja, was gutted by fire on Monday morning.
It was learnt that the fire, which started around 7am, caused panic among staff members of the court who scampered to safety.
Though no human casualty was recorded, however, it was not clear whether sensitive documents and files were destroyed by the early morning fire at the court situated at the Three-Arm-Zone, Abuja.
It was learnt that the fire might have been caused by electrical malfunction in one of the offices within the administrative wing of the court.
The source confirmed that three offices, including that of Justice Mohammed Saulawa, was touched by the fire before it was eventually put off.
Abiodun Pays Tribute To Alaperu’s Late Wife, Harps On Enduring Legacies
Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun has extolled the exemplary virtues of the late wife of the Alaperu of Iperu, Olori Kehinde Idowu Basibo-Odoru, describing her as a strong pillar for her husband and a unifying factor for the entire royal family while alive.
The late queen was born on April 23, 1962, and passed on at the age of 61 on 27th July 2023. Her funeral and thanksgiving service was held on Friday at the St. James Anglican Church, Iperu.
The governor, in his remarks, expressed his heartfelt condolences to the royal father, Alaiyeluwa, Oba Adeleke Idowu-Basibo, and the people of the town over the loss, as he prayed for necessary fortitude to carry on in her absence.
He recounted the enviable attributes of the late Olori while alive as bold, lovely and supportive; with passion to help those around her, adding that she would be sorely missed by her immediate family, the entire town of Iperu and Ogun State in general.
“On behalf of the government and the good people of Ogun State, I want to express my heartfelt condolences to my brother, the Alaperu of Iperu, Oba Adeleke Idowu-Basibo, on the passing of his adorable wife.
“The late Olori was a friend and reliable companion to her husband till death. She was also a doting mother to her children. We are going to sorely miss her; may the good Lord repose her soul,” Abiodun said.
The governor counselled the congregation on the need to be fair to all in all ways while alive, to leave worthy legacies after death as exemplified by the late Queen.
He continued: “Life is a journey; we all have our exit points. We have no power over that, it is inevitable. What is important is what we do while we are here, what type of tribute would be written about you when you are no more.”
BREAKING: Govt Increases Salaries Of University Lecturers, Others
In a bid to improve the lot of tertiary education, the Federal Government has increased the salaries of the lecturers and non-academic staff in the nation’s public universities.
The increase was approved by the National Salaries, Wages and Income Commission.
This includes payment of a newly approved percentage increment in salaries for academic and non-academic staff of all Federal Government’s tertiary institutions in the country.
This is as the percentage increment for junior staff of tertiary institutions was raised from 23.5% which was reviewed last year to 25%. Our correspondent gathered that the arrears of the increment from January 2023 will also be paid.
Though nothing was said about the withheld salaries of the academics and non-academics who embarked on strike in 2022, it was learnt that the Minister of Education, Professor Tahir Mamman, earlier wrote the Chairman of the NSIWC, Ekpo Nta, to demand the status of the collective.
According to sources within the Ministry of Education, the decision of the minister to write the NSIWC might not be unconnected from visitations by some of the academic unions and intervention by some pressure groups.
When asked if polytechnic lecturers were aware of the new development, the National President of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, Dr. Anderson Ezeibe, said that the union heard of the news and were looking forward to the implementation.
“Definitely, we heard of it and we are looking forward to it. There will be 25% increment for junior lecturers while chief lecturers and professors will benefit from 35% increment,” he said.
The National Vice-President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Prof. Chris Piwuna, disclosed that such a letter would be addressed to the management of universities and not ASUU.
A letter by the Chief Executive Officer/Chairman of the NSIWC, Eyo Nta, which was addressed to the Minister of Education on September 14,2023 shortly before his departure to the United Nations General Assembly in New York
tagged ‘RE: Implementation of the 35% and 23.5% salary increment for staff of tertiary institutions,’ reads: “I refer to your letter No. FME/IS/UNI/ASUU/C.I/IT?/90 dated 8th September 2023 in respect of the above-subject. Find attached the circulars pertaining to the four salary structures in the Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education for your information (attached).
“The 23.5% earlier reflected in our letter SWC/S/04/S.149/I/59 of 28 July 2022 and stated in paragraph 2 of your letter, has been increased to 25% which accounted for the increased cost implications. This Commission is really pleased with the success your informal discussions have achieved. We shall endeavour to support all your efforts aimed at repositioning the Education Sector. Please accept the assurances of my warm regards.”
Consequently, the commission proceeded to issue a circular also dated September 14, 2023 and addressed to the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation among others informing them of the implementation of the newly reviewed salaries.
The circular reads: “ The Presidential Committee on Salaries at its 13th meeting having taken into consideration the various stages of collective bargaining in various sectors, and specifically engagements between the Federal Ministry of Education and Tertiary Institutions-based Unions, and consequent upon the Federal Government’s approval, as well as 2023 budgetary provisions, approval is hereby conveyed for the revision of the Consolidated Polytechnics and Colleges of Education Salary Structure for academic staff of Federal Polytechnics and Colleges of Education, with effect from 1st January 2023.”
Also, a letter from the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation dated September 21, 2023 which was made available to our correspondent on Friday in Abuja confirmed the increment.
The letter which was signed on behalf of the Director, Human Resource of the office, Ajanaku F.O reads, “I am directed to inform you that the Presidential Committee on Salaries at it’s 13th meeting having taken into consideration the different stages of collective bargaining in various sectors and specifically engagements between the Federal Ministry of Education and Tertiary Institutions-based Unions and consequently the Federal Government’s approval, is hereby conveyed as revised for the following:-
“Consolidated Polytechnics and Colleges of Education Salary Structure for Academic Staff of Federal Polytechnics and Colleges of Education with effect from 1st January, 2023.
“Consolidated Tertiary Institutions Salary Structure II for non-Academic Staff of Federal Universities, with effect from 1st January, 2023.
“Consolidated Tertiary Education Institutions Salary Structure for non – Academic Staff of Federal Polytechnics and Colleges of Education, with effect from 1st January, 2023.
“Consolidated University Academic Salary Structure II (CONUASS II) for Academic Staff of Federal University with effect from 1st January, 2023.”
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