By Laide Akinboade, Abuja
Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) , Nyesom Wike, on Thursday
ordered the immediate arrest, landlord of the two-storey building that collapsed on Lagos Crescent in Garki 2 of Abuja.
The landlord was however, said to be on the run.
Wike gave the order when he paid unscheduled visit to the scene of the incident.
While applauding the ongoing rescue efforts and removal of rubbles he said, “it’s unfortunate that we woke up this morning to the very disturbing news of this building collapse.It is not what we contemplated. Let me thank the agencies particularly National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), and Federal Capital Territory, Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), that has supported us to rescue not less than 32 lives.
“Its unfortunate that we lost two lives. I will appeal to the Permanent Secretary, Olusade Adesola, to make sure that funds are raised to pay the hospital bills of those who were rescued so that we don’t lose any more person, and this should be done immediately.
“Secondly, these are the things we have been saying, nobody knows whose turn it will be, therefore when government says it will take actions in areas we believe that are illegal developments or buildings that don’t comply with the standard codes.
“It is not as if anybody has any personal vendetta but for me it is for us to do the right thing. I don’t know why it has taken long that the FCTA has not resettled them and so we will take immediate action to see that the indigenes of these place are resettled and then government has to plan out this place. When government says take building plan, it is not to suffer anybody but to make sure that everyone is protected. Cities are planned to forestall this kind of occurrences.
“Imagine buildings without approval. I will ask that we must identify and arrest the owner of this property. It is very important. Government will of course take over this area and make sure no further development is carried out here. I want all the stakeholders here to please work with government in the interest of everybody.
“No one has come here to say I like A, I don’t like B. I know sometimes government decisions may not be too comfortable with the people, but at the long run it is in the interest of the people. Now we are all gathered here and none of us is happy we are here, these are the things we are trying to forestall.
“Again I sympathise with those who lost their lives, government will pick up the bills of all those in the hospital. We will also support the rescue efforts and ensure that they get to the last level and rescue everyone still trapped in the rubble”.
Director Development Control, Muktir Galadima, while he was there explaining said the building caved in yesterday evening and that the place was not a planned area.
“The building is located within the Garki indigenous settlement. The building had two suspended floors, one used for commercial activities while the other floors were used as residential accommodation. The building caved in Wednesday evening, and 37 persons were rescued
“The statues of the place is that it is not a planned area so the development had no planning approval. In fact the area is meant for resettlement from here to Apo resettlement town”.
Meanwhile, some residents of the area said they have persistently complained to the landlord and lawyer of the collapsed building concerning its dilapidated state.
They said their complaints however fell on deaf ears. The visibly angry residents equally blamed relevant government agencies for failing to conduct integrity tests or inspection of the building which is located in the city centre and at a highly dense area of Abuja.
Rescue efforts were still ongoing as two persons have been reported dead, while 37 others were receiving treatment in National Hospital and Asokoro, Nyanya, Garki district hospitals, Alliance hospital and Zenith hospital respectively.
My Administration ‘ll Consolidate on Predecessors’ Gains – Gov. Otu
From Patrick Abang, Calabar
Governor Bassey Otu of Cross River State has assured that his administration would consolidate on the gains of his predecessors to make the state a cynosure of infrastructural development and economic prosperity.
Otu made the assertion, weekend, at a thanksgiving service by the Senator representing the State’s Southern Senatorial District, Asuquo Ekpenyong, held at the Duke Town Cathedral of the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, Calabar.
“In Cross River State, we are laying solid foundations, building on the gains of our predecessors.We know what Governors Donald Duke, Liyel Imoke and Ben Ayade did. This time around, we are going to explode.
“It is in difficult times like this that things happen. I know people would be wondering about the subsidy removal and harsh economic realities, asking: how is he going to do it? But the answer has been provided in the Holy Writ that, “what God cannot do does not exist,” the governor confidently remarked.
He assured Cross Riverians of his leadership’s resolve to take the state to the next level, stressing that “in less than two years from now, we would not be singing this old tune again; Cross River must have changed.
“Already within a few months, we have added to our Gross Domestic Product (GDP). We would make sure that we succeed. Just a little patience and the future would be very bright.”
Otu said, “we are very proud of Senator Asuquo Ekpenyong and the support from his colleagues in the National Assembly, who are present at the event. To come like this in their numbers shows the acceptability and direction our nation is going.
“I have no doubt in the institution of the legislature. It is a happy day for the All Progressives Congress, APC, and all lovers of democracy.”
Coast Guards ‘ll Enhance Maritime Laws Enforcement in Nigeria’, Says Gov Diri’s Aide
By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja
Bayelsa State Governor’s Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Tourism and Publisher of the Blue Economy magazine, Dr. Piriye Kiyaramo has lauded the Federal Government’s plan to establish coast guards, saying that it will strengthen and enhance the enforcement of maritime laws and regulations as applicable in Nigeria’s territorial and inland waterways.
.Kiyaramo who stated this while exchanging views with newsmen Monday, maintained that maritime security remained the anchor that ensures the stability, safety, and prosperity in the maritime sector of the economy, reiterating that maritime security within the Blue Economy is one major source of economic development and growth within the country’s maritime domain.
Describing maritime security as one of the most dynamic sectors, he emphasised that security plays a vital role in driving national economic growth, with a view to fostering international trade and generating employment opportunities within the country.
The publisher further informed that the proposed Coast Guard Service would complement the services of other existing agencies to handle issues relating to maritime security, safety, fisheries protection, pollution control, sanitation, narcotic drugs, prohibited plants, psychotropic substances, illegal firearms and ammunition, and protection of maritime resources.
According to him, “maritime interests are critical to our nation’s security, economy, and prosperity because the nation’s waterways are very precious environmental resources used for both commerce and tourism. Coast Guards will compliment sister agencies to protect the sea as well as help mariners in distress as part of their core functions.”
He explained that while maritime security largely focuses on the protection of vessels and their cargo from external threats such as smuggling and piracy, the goal of maritime safety is to protect people, and in some cases the environment from naturally occurring or accidental hazards at sea.
“These hazards, however, can be just as or even more harmful than external threats. Maritime safety is the protection of crew and passengers aboard vessels, as well as those living or working near water bodies from hazards and the risk of injury or fatality in line with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards, and the provision of Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs), which aid in the recovery of persons in water who are at risk of hypothermia ( a medical emergency that occurs when the body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing a dangerously low body temperature) drowning, and even death.
“The blue economy gives us the opportunity to maximise economic resources related to the seas, oceans and waterways generally, while restoring damaged ecosystems as well as introducing innovative technology that helps us to efficiently and sustainably manage everything the seas can offer us as a maritime nation,” Dr. Kiyaramo said.
It would be recalled that the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, recently disclosed plans by the Federal Government to establish a coast guard, as part of efforts to enhance security along coastlines in the country.
The former Osun State governor, who disclosed this at the 32nd edition of the annual Iragbiji Day celebrations, said there were conscious efforts to further secure the marine environment in the country, informing that “the existence of the Deep Blue Project deploys gunboats and other equipment for security on the coastline.
Abiodun Approves Constituency Projects for Ogun Councillors
From Kunle Idowu, Abeokuta
Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun has put smiles on the faces of councillors in the state as he approved constituency projects for them.
Although the government was silent on the cost of the projects, his magnanimity was in fulfilment of his pledge to ensure the councillors execute projects in their various constituencies as the closest to the people at the grassroots.
Abiodun gave the cheering news at his office, when he received the councillors who visited him to pass a vote of confidence on his administration.
The governor, who recently approved the full payment of furniture allowance to the 236 councillors, also promised to ensure the continuous empowerment of the councillors.
“You have reminded me of my promise to you of your constituency projects. Consider that done because you are the closest to the grassroots. You are the ones representing us at the grassroots. You will not be put to shame.
“I am a promise keeping governor. Whatever promise I make to you, I will definitely keep it. I want to thank you for your very kind remarks for appreciating that I promised you I was going to pay your furniture allowances, and I remain the first governor that will pay furniture allowances to councillors 100%.
“I also promised that I was going to ensure you are sufficiently empowered. You are politicians. You must be empowered to continue to empower your various constituencies and I think I am trying,” he said.
Governor Abiodun also thanked the judiciary for upholding the rule of law and called on opposition members to stop running around to buy judgments and join his administration in moving the state to the next level.
The governor stated that Ogun State is currently the fastest growing economy in the country, even as he ascribed the success to the team, which shares the same vision with him.
He promised that his administration would spend the next three and half years building on the solid foundation laid in the first term, noting that no stone would be left unturned.
Abiodun also urged the councillors to continue to be good ambassadors of the party at their various wards.
Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman, Ogun State Forum of Councillors, Hon. Olarenwaju Adeleye thanked the governor for approving and paying their full furniture allowance.
Adeleye also acknowledged the governor for executing at least a project in each of the 236 wards of the state and commended him for not abandoning projects left unfinished by the immediate past administrations in the state.
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