LAGOS ASSEMBLY THIS WEEK
By: Okunade Adekunle
Members of the Lagos State House of Assembly have called on the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to relocate the tank farms in Apapa to a less congested area, saying that it is causing traffic logjam and endangering the lives of the residents.
Hon. Mojisola Miranda, who raised the issue under matter of urgent public importance during plenary, said that the activities of the trailer drivers in Apapa are not only affecting traffic in the area, but that it has extended to other parts of the state.
Miranda, who is representing Apapa Constituency 1 in the assembly, added that the traffic jam is making life difficult for workers and school children in the area.
She urged the Assembly to invite the state’s acting Commissioner for Transport and the Managing Director of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) to brief the house on how they would handle the matter.
This was supported by the lawmaker representing Apapa Constituency 2, Hon. Olumuyiwa Jimoh.
Jimoh, who said that he had been having sleepless night on the matter, stressed that the residents of the area have been coming to him on the issue and that it should be resolved once and for all.
The Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, emphasized that the House should not wait until the necessary officials were invited to brief them, but that necessary steps should be taken urgently to handle the situation.
“It is better we caution the trailer drivers to stop parking on the roads and bridges in the area. We will definitely call on the officials of LASTMA and Lagos State Safety Commission on the matter.We also have to call on the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing to provide alternative roads to motorists, while the roads in Tin Can Island were being repaired,” He said.
Obasa stated that the tank farms should be relocated from the area because, according to him, they were located in the area before the place became a densely populated area.
In his comment, Hon. Rotimi Olowo from Shomolu Constituency 1 stated that the activities of the trailer drivers were affecting the economy of the state.
He said that the House had invited the people in charge of the road in the past and that the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) was a powerful union and that the House should meet the trailer drivers on the issue.
Also commenting, Hon. Abiodun Tobun from Epe Constituency 1 wondered why the Federal Government that he said is collecting money in the ports was not doing the necessary things about the roads there.
Tobun added that the government could get a location close to Tin Can Island Port to park the trailers and that Lagos State should be allowed to control the ports.
In his contribution, Hon. Rasheed Makinde said that some of the trailers come from the eastern and northern parts of the country and that they disobey the laws of the state.
These views were supported by other lawmakers, who urged the House to urgently handle the matter.
NULGE Storms Lagos Assembly Over Local Government Autonomy
Some members of the Lagos State chapter of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), peacefully protested to the Lagos State House of Assembly calling for the support of the House on Local Government Autonomy.
The protesters who were led by the State Chairman of NULGE, Com. Afolabi Ajose, and members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) chanted solidarity song to press home their demands.
According to Afolabi, the issue goes beyond local government autonomy, saying that it has been on for sometime now and that the national leadership of NULGE directed the whole 36 chapters to mobilise members, NLC, civil society and the Nigerian people to clamour for local government autonomy.
“We have conveniently covered 21 states in Nigeria and it has been wonderful. We have assurances that the states houses would support it. Local government autonomy is about the welfare of the entire citizenry. The people would benefit development with local government autonomy. It is not just about salaries of workers. It is about what we do in our community, and giving people the dividends of democracy,” He said.
Comrade Ajose added that there are three kinds of autonomy; and gave them as administrative, political and financial autonomy.
He stressed that NULGE is consistent and vibrant, adding that its members could be found everywhere.
He said: “You could have all kinds of people in the councils. Each state government is in-charge of the State Independent Electoral Commissions that conduct elections into the local government and this is not fair.
“Our position is that the Indepenfent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should be asked to conduct elections into local governments as SIECs chairmen are answerable to the governors.”
Reacting to what would happen to the LCDAs with local government autonomy, Ajose said that they should not have any problem at all because, according to him, the LCDAs were created by the Lagos State government for instance, and that now that the same party is at the state and at the federal levels, then it would be better for them to become full local governments.
He emphasised that the local governments would work well with autonomy, and that the members of the union staged the protest to emphasise the need for local government autonomy.
Also speaking, the representative of the National President of NULGE, Mallam Ibrahim Khaleel, Barrister Uzo declared that a lot of people were suffering, and that there were agitations from the local government workers because of hardship.
“There are no infrastructure in the grassroots, and there is massive unemployment in the country. We are here to tell you to support local government autonomy. This honorable house supported it before and we want you to do it against.
“If you do it, you would have written your name in gold. The bill is for the whole Nigeria. If we have local government autonomy, then the House would have its own autonomy. There would be employment, and if a local government could earn N100,000,000 million in a month, then it can conveniently tar roads, then there would be less pressure on the state government. If you do this, Nigerians would be happy. We want you to give us more than two third and give us distinction this time around. The document spans 10 years. It is expected that with this, you would put smiles on our faces,” He said.
Addressing the protesters on behalf of the Speaker of the House, Rt. Mudashiru Obasa, Hon. Tunde Braimoh said that the speaker has tremendous respect for workers.
Braimoh, who is the Chairman of the House Committee on Infornation and Strategy, said that the House empathized and sympathized with the protesters.
The lawmaker stated that they also had some misgivings about the system just like the protesters.
He added that the issue at hand was a grave constitutional issue as stated in Section 7 of the constitution.
“The 1999 constitution has become an albatross to Nigeria and that is why people have come together to find a way out of the problem. “There is no constitution that is perfect. Lleaders of our party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) met in Ibadan, Oyo Atate recently to discuss several issues such as local government autonomy, fiscal federalism, devolution of power, the regional government as well as merger and creation of states.
“Don’t forget that the issues are hydra headed and delicate, so you cannot just discuss them anyhow. When we have regional autonomy, people can create their own local governments at their own time. Don’t forget that some states such as Lagos State and Ogun State have LCDAs, what would happen to them if there is local government autonomy,” He said.
The politician then saluted the courage of the protesters and their national executive as well as the NLC for sending delegates to be part of the protest.
He thanked the protesters for, “conducting yourselves in a peaceful way and for being ambassadors of democracy. We will look at your demands.
“We will be having our own retreat and we will discuss the issue. We will not shy away from what you have come to tell us. We thank you for not being violent with your demands and we want to assure you that the issues would be addressed, he said.
Lagos Assembly Removes Dead Member’s Name Tag
The Lagos State House of Assembly has removed the name tag of late Hon. Alimi Kazeem from his seat in the chambers of the House, as stipulated by the rules of the Assembly.
Late Hon. Kazeem had died on July 18 at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) after a brief illness.
The lawmaker who represented Eti-Osa constituency I, was buried the following day according to Islamic rites.
The House which was on recess at the time of Alimi’s demise, resumed plenary and dedicated the legislative activities in his honour.
The Majority Leader, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade moved the motion for the removal of the lawmaker’s tag and was seconded by a member, Hon. Victor Akande.
While moving the motion, Agunbiade declared, “With heavy heart, I move that the name tag of Honourable Alimi be removed from where he sits and be handed over to the Clerk.”
Speaking earlier, the lawmakers took turns to shower encomiums on the departed soul who they described as an “embodiment of humility.”
The Speaker, Hon Mudashiru Obasa who presided over the plenary, noted that the House did all it could to save Alimi’s life but it did not come out as expected.
“We did all, we could to save Honourable Alimi’s life but we lacked what it took to bring him back to life. We did our best as human,” Obasa said.
He reiterated however that, “We remember his good deeds; he was an embodiment of humility. You hardly heard him speak, all you see was smiles, as if the smile had been constructed on his face. He was loyal, dedicated and dutiful.”
While promising that the House would support his family members, Obasa advised his colleagues to learn from the death of Alimi by being good to others.
Also speaking, Hon. Bayo Osinowo stated the House should set up a committee that would come up with plans to support the family.
On his part, Hon. Olanrewaju Ogunyemi noted, “Though, it is often said, death is an inevitable end, it will come, when it will come but as mortals, we always wish we live long.”