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Oyebanji disburses N500million gratuities to pensioners

Ekiti State Governor, Mr Biodun Oyebanji has assured pensioners in the state that his administration has concluded plans to make disbursement of N200million monthly gratuities to them henceforth, promising to also review pensions in line with current realities.

Governor Oyebanji, who gave this assurance while disbursing over N500million in gratuity cheques to 152 pensioners in Ado- Ekiti on Monday, also promised to review the monthly pension following the discovery that some pensioners still receive abysmally low amount as monthly pension.

The Governor expressed his disapproval for the usual gathering of elderly people in a hall for the purpose of disbursing gratuity cheques to them, and directed the PTAD office to ensure they disburse gratuity on monthly basis henceforth.

The Governor, who also assured pensioners that government has started working out modalities to defray over N40Billion owed, said he had already approve N100million each for both state and local government retirees which must be disbursed on monthly basis to deserving pensioners.

According to him, “Forty Billion is just a number, I don’t think that is something we should not be able to resolve, I am in constant discussion with the committee that is doing this, they are almost done, we are looking at the best deal that will be acceptable to you and government. Once, we get to that level, we should be able to make a very definite mark on that number.

“I have approved that local government and state pensioners should be paid N100million every month for gratuity. I have just increased that of local government from N50million to N100million. So, every month, apart from pension, we will be paying N200million and I believe that will go a long way till we resolve the issue on ground.

“There is no need accumulating the money, it should be paid to the pensioners immediately they receive it. We don’t have to be coming here to be distributing cheques again, I don’t think it is necessary again. I am not doing this for political reason.”

Governor Oyebanji assured citizens of the state that his efforts at infrastructural development of the state would not in anyway affect his shared prosperity agenda for the people as he stressed the need for political leaders to be futuristic in attending to issues that concern the populace.

“On the concern raised by people on some quarters, that infrastructure development programme of his administration would negatively affect his welfare programmes, we are going to do the two together, because Ekiti State belongs to everybody and we must be futuristic. Ado was not like this when the state was created, we agreed to do the flyover because, we did traffic study of that place and we discovered that in the next five years, with the rate Ado is growing and if we wait till then, there will be chaos in town.

“It was a risk we took to do that and most of our infrastructural programmes are strategically thought out. As a leader, I have learnt to be futuristic, if we spend all our resources on welfare and palliatives, what happen to yet to be born children of Ekiti, so we must lay a very solid foundation for them. That is what we are doing with infrastructure and agriculture. We are investing heavily in agriculture so as to ensure that what happened this year is not allowed to happen next year.”, The Governor said

Speaking further, Governor Oyebanji to expressed appreciation to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for supporting the state saying without him, Ekiti would not have been able to achieve any meaningful development.

“As you are praying for me, please pray for President Tinubu, as president, he inherited both the assets and liabilities, part of the liabilities he inherited is a challenged economy, all these hardship is not caused by the president, but God had prepared him for a moment like this. I keep wondering what would have happened to Nigeria if we had a president that is not Asiwaju, that is not as prepared, that is not as courageous. He is the first president in this country that doesn’t have a godfather, so, nobody can harass him. He stated.

In their separate goodwill messages, the Chairmen, Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Elder Joel Akinola; Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Kolapo Olatunde; Trade Union Congress, Comrade Sola Adigun and Joint Negotiating Council, Comrade Babafemi Ajoloko, commended Governor Oyebanji on his various efforts at changing that narratives by ensuring that workers and pensioners enjoy a new lease of life in the state.

Also at the event were Secretary to the State Government, Dr Habibat Adubiaro, Head of Service, Engr. Sunday Komolafe, members of the state executive council, body of Permanent Secretaries among others.

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Oyebanji, Fayemi, NASS members, APC leaders eulogize Omotosho at commendation service

Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Biodun Oyebanji on Wednesday led former Governor of the state, Dr Kayode Fayemi, National and State Assembly members, members of the State Executive Council, Party leaders and other prominent personalities to pay glowing tributes to the late APC Chairman, Barrister Paul Omotosho at a special commendation service organized by the state government in Ado-Ekiti.

Omotosho, who died on March 5th, after a brief illness, was, until his death, Chairman of the All Progressive Congress, Ekiti State Chapter.

“You will not walk alone. I shall stand by you. The Government and the party will stand by you”, Governor Oyebanji assured the children and wives of the late Omotosho during his emotion – laden speech at the special tribute session held at Adetiloye Hall, Trade Fair Complex, Ado- Ekiti.

The commendation service had in attendance former Governor Kayode Fayemi (who was represented by former Attorney General in the State, Mr Wale Fapounda, SAN; the Deputy Governor, Chief (Mrs.) Monisade Afuye, Speaker, Ekiti State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Adeoye Aribasoye, and three former deputy Governors- Prof Modupe Adelabu; Surv. Abiodun Aluko and Chief Wole Alabi as well as members of the Ekiti State Caucus in the National Assembly.

Oyebanji described the late Chairman as a committed, loyal, and party leader whose selflessness and sacrifices contributed immensely to the growth and development of the party and the state at large.

The Governor maintained that the late omotosho was a true friend, a burden bearer, confidant and a devoted community leader, adding that his demise has left a great vacuum within the party, the state and the nation at large.

While assuring the family that his government will continue to support them and stand in the gap of their father, the Governor said he is consoled with the fact that the deceased lived a fulfilled life and left an indelible mark in the development of the state.

“To me personally, I have lost a true friend, I’ve lost a confidant, I’ve lost a brother, a burden bearer and a soul mate. The truth of the matter is not how far but how well, Mr. Continuity left at his own time, I believe strongly that it was his own time to go. We don’t like it, and it is painful because death did not give us a chance to even try to save him.

“I know we are not happy about this and it is a trying moment for us as a party, as a state and as a government, but one thing I know is there is God in heaven who sees the affairs of men. To the children, to the family, as long as i am on this seat as the Governor of this state, you will not walk alone. That’s the assurance I am going to give you”. The Governor asserted.

In his on tribute, the immediate past Governor of the state, Dr. Fayemi, whose tribute was read by Barrister Wale Fapounda, described the late Omotosho as a dedicated leader, a unifier, and a pillar of the party in the state.

Dr Fayemi explained that the deceased was a tireless leader and a steadfast supporter of the party’s principle who ensured that under his watch the party achieved significant victories in recent elections and gained the trust of Ekiti people.

While calling on the APC members in the state to remain resolute in making the deceased proud by carrying on with his legacies of integrity, the former Governor maintained that Omotosho’s contributions and sacrifices for the party will never be forgotten.

Other speakers at the evening of tributes include Mrs. Fola Richie, who spoke on behalf of the state executive council members (2010 – 2014), where the late Omotosho served as as State Commissioner; Chief Bayo Idowu, on behalf of Afenifere; Dr Dele Ebunola, who spoke on behalf of Social Democratic Party (SDP); Prof Mobolaji Aluko, on behalf of the state executive council; Hon Sola Elesin, on behalf of APC, Ekiti State chapter; Rt. Hon. Adeoye Aribasoye, on behalf the State House of Assembly, and Senator Yemi Adaramodu, who spoke on behalf of National Assembly members.

Others were Chief Jide Awe, who spoke on behalf of APC elders; Chief (Mrs) Ronke Okusanya, on behalf of Women in Politics; and Mr Ojo Oluwasegun Samuel, who spoke on behalf of local government chairmen.

They all eulogized the late Omotosho as a man of integrity and a truly honest and hard working politician and public servant, who was selfless and result- oriented.

A pall of silence descended on the Adetiloye Hall, venue of the event during the viewing of a documentary detailing the life and times of the late Omotosho was shown the audience. Many wept profusely after the documentary which preceded a short sermon and prayer of the family of the deceased.

Barrister Paul Omotosho who died on March 5th would be buried in his home town, Imesi Ekiti on Friday.

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Alleged N84bn fraud: Yahaya Bello’s absence stalls arraignment

The immediate past Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello was absent at the Federal High Court Abuja on Thursday.

The former governor was to be arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC over alleged money laundering offence involving N84 billion.

Counsel for the EFCC, Kemi Phinro, earlier told the court that Bello was absent from court for his arraignment because he was being protected by someone with immunity.

Justice Emeka Nwite subsequently adjourned the suit to to April 23rd.

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Navy raises alarm over menace of stowaways in Lagos waters

US Navy tries to salvage fighter jet that fell into South China Sea

The Nigerian Navy has decried the growing menace of stowaways in Lagos waters, saying it apprehended about 75 stowaways from August 2023 to April 2024.

This is contained in a statement by the Director of Information, Navy, Commodore Aiwuyor Adams-Aliu, on Wednesday in Abuja.

Adams-Aliu said the Nigerian Navy was concerned by the upsurge in cases of stowaways in Nigerian waters.

He said that migration as a stowaway was illegal, dangerous and was considered a security threat to shipowners.

Adams-Aliu said the Navy had, in line with the strategic directive of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Emmanuel Ogalla, deployed advanced Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) equipment to vector Quick Response Teams (QRT) to all parts of Nigeria’s territorial waters.

He said the Nigerian Navy apprehended five stowaways in August 2023 on MSC Martha Vessel in Lagos Channel; eight on Charminar Panama in September 2023 in Lagos Fairway Buoy and 11 on Guangzhou Highway Panama in October 2023 in Lagos Channel.

According to him, the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL Convention) defines a stowaway as someone who is secreted on a ship, or in cargo without consent of the shipowners or the master or any other responsible person

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