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Ogun: Amosun’s demolition, Abiodun’s compensation

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By Funmi Branco

Last week, a sore point in the Ogun State social experience was addressed as the Governor Dapo Abiodun government began paying compensation to owners of properties demolished by the administration of Senator Ibikunle Amosun, ostensibly to facilitate the expansion of some road projects that were never executed across the state. Moved by the plight of the victims, Abiodun approved the compensation package. According to the Ogun State Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Ade Akinsanya, the demolitions carried out by the Amosun administration were unnecessary, and ended up compounding the problems being faced by the present government. The Abiodun administration inherited outstanding debt of N202 billion from the Amosun government on roads alone.

By contrast, the Abiodun government has a no-demolition policy, except where necessary and unavoidable. For instance, while the Amosun government had marked some houses for demolition on the Kemta-Somorin road in Abeokuta, the Abiodun government has built the road without any demolition.

Hear Akinsanya: “It is actually not necessary to demolish while constructing roads, unless it is actually unavoidable. The same thing applies to bridge construction. Most of the bridges constructed by that regime were a waste of resources.”

The burden left behind by Amosun is indeed a heavy one. Seven years ago, the then governor suddenly woke up and started demolishing houses. His declared intent was to expand roads and turn Ogun into a modern state. It was mere fancy: the UK, a modern state, has no multi-lane craze. The people did not resist their governor because, apparently, they loved good things and, moreover, he had promised them compensation. But then the governor went overboard: houses that should never have been demolished, not standing in the way of the proposed though needless road expansion, were demolished with glee.

As everyone knows, it is a most painful thing to witness one’s house being demolished. Even if there is money to put up a new building, purchasing land, doing survey and building plan and getting the necessary approvals from the government typically takes time, although, admittedly in the case of Ogun State under Abiodun, the process has been made seamless and without drama. While your new house is under construction, you have to stay somewhere, which will typically be an inconvenient arrangement. In extreme cases, entire families have been forced to dwell on their company premises, coming to lodge in the night when everyone else is gone. Good governors like Abiodun appreciate the sacrifices that people make in such circumstances when their houses have been demolished for the public good, especially people that did not build houses on waterways or government property without approval.

Moreover, if the demolition of a personal residence is painful, the demolition of a family house, a meeting point during December and other holidays, is equally an emotional incident. When people living in America or Europe come home and lodge not in hotels but in their family house, they are no fools. They want to sit down and discuss and relive the good old days when as children they played in the rain and hurled stones at people in fits of childhood rascality. They want to bond with their roots. Such houses may be, and indeed are, usually renovated but some of their essential characteristics are preserved. These are facts of the Yoruba sociocultural organisation today and till tomorrow, and we challenge naysayers to disprove the claims made here with hard evidence.

Moreover, some economically underprivileged family members live in these houses, and have nowhere to turn, should the government demolish them. Such houses, because of their symbolism, must, therefore, not be demolished unless there are compelling reasons to do so. Demolition means that the family must find another land on which to build the family house, and every family has a boundary, meaning that family houses cannot be built just anywhere. Thus, when Amosun demolished houses, including new houses across Ogun State, the people eagerly awaited the roads that provided the alibi for demolition! They had made a sacrifice for progress as it were, not because they had power to resist the governor but because they had welcomed his arguments while taking down their houses.

As noted by the senior media professionals during an interaction with Akinsanya, the Ogun State Commissioner for Works recently, any time the former governor was queried over the demolitions, he would say, “Dede re ne la ma se” (We shall do all), even though he never did a quarter of what he promised but embarked on building bridges that led nowhere. He gave people false hope, a tactic consistent with fraud. That is why when a government comes and promises to do things, people no longer believe such promises. They have been serially scammed in the past. When Amosun demolished people’s houses and then failed to build the multi-lane roads he promised, he put them in double or even multiple jeopardy. Their houses they could not live in anymore, and the promised roads they did not see. The environment, with the spectre of “beheaded”, “abridged” and “edited” houses, became ghoulish and mentally exasperating and maddening. Worse still, the means of livelihood, for those who had rented out their houses to tenants, vanished. In some parts of Ogun State, because of the mess the demolition created, some people are now paddling canoes to their houses during the ongoing rainy season.

The victims are now rejoicing. One of the affected property owners, a resident of Agbado who lost many shops to Amosun’s bulldozers, Mr. Abayomi Olanrewaju, commended Governor Abiodun for his magnanimity. Olanrewaju, who had depended on his shops to survive before the demolition, disclosed that the road in question was better before the bulldozers moved in. Another resident, Taiwo Adebari, expressed gratitude to the state government, noting that the compensation would help in alleviating their suffering.

https://www.sunnewsonline.com/ogun-amosuns-demolition-abioduns-compensation/

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NERC transfers regulatory oversight of Enugu Electricity Market to EERC

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Following the Enugu State Electricity Law signed by Governor Peter Mbah and the recent constitution of the Enugu State Electricity Regulatory Commission, ESERC, by the Mbah administration, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has formerly transferred the regulatory oversight of the Enugu State electricity market to the state agency effective May 1, 2024.

This is the first time NERC would be ceding such regulatory authority to any state electricity regulatory agency.

The transfer was made known by NERC on Monday in an April 22, 2024 Order No. NERC/2024/039 signed by the Commission’s Chairman, Sanusi Garba, and the Commissioner for Legal, Licensing, and Compliance, Dafe Akpeneye.

The transfer is sequel to the amendments of the Paragraph 14 (b) of the Second Schedule to the 1999 Constitution by the 9th National Assembly in 2023 as well as the Electricity Electricity Act 2023, both of which effectively devolved power generation, transmission, and distribution from the Exclusive List to the Concurrent List and also empowered the states to manage and regulate their electricity markets within their jurisdictions.

It is recalled that the Mbah administration initiated the Enugu State Electricity Bill 2023, which the governor signed into Law in September the same year and also set the pace in March 2024 constituted the Enugu State Electricity Regulatory Commission (ESERC) led by Chijioke Okonkwo as the Chairman/CEO.

The Electricity Act 2023 provides that within 45 days of receiving formal notification of the enactment of the law under subsection (1), the Commission (NERC) shall draw and deliver to the State Regulator a draft order setting out a plan and timeline for the transition of regulatory responsibilities from the Commission to the State Regulator, which transition shall be completed not later than 6 months from the date on which the formal notification in subsection (1) was delivered to the Commission.

Explaining further, NERC said the ESERC now holds the exclusive power to set and adopt end-user electricity tariffs within Enugu State, tailoring these charges to local conditions and requirements.

Also, while ESERC manages local tariff methodologies, any electricity sourced from grid-connected plants and the related tariffs for generation and transmission services must still receive approval from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), ensuring alignment with national energy policies.

Furthermore, the final tariffs approved by ESERC for consumers in Enugu State will be definitive for the state, with the Enugu State Government responsible for supporting and implementing tariff-related policies, ensuring that electricity pricing is both fair and attuned to the specific needs of the state’s residents.

Consequently, NERC ordered that: “Enugu Electricity Distribution Company PLC, EEDC, is hereby directed to incorporate a subsidiary EEDC SubCo under the Companies and Allied Matters Act for the assumption of responsibilities for intrastate supply and distribution of electricity in Enugu State from EEDC.

“EEDC shall complete the incorporation of EEDC SubCo within 60 days from the effective date of this Order and, EEDC SubCo shall apply for and obtain a licence for the intrastate supply and distribution of electricity from EERC.

“EEDC shall identify the actual geographic boundaries of Enugu State and carve out its network in Enugu State as a standalone network with the installation of boundary meters at all border points where the network crosses from Enugu State into another state.

“EEDC shall create an Asset Register of all its power infrastructure located within Enugu State.

“Evaluate and apportion contractual obligations and liabilities attributable to EEDC’s operations of its subsidiary in Enugu State.

“Identify all the applicable trading points for energy o take for the operations of EEDC SubCo in Enugu State

“Confirm the number of employees that are required to provide service to Enugu State as a standalone public utility; and transfer the identified assets for operations in Enugu State, contractual obligations, liabilities and employees to EEDC Subco.”

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Eko Disco: WPG sacks Tinuade Sanda

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West Power & Gas Limited, WPG, the majority shareholder of Eko Electricity Distribution Company, EKEDC, has terminated the appointment of the former managing director of the Disco, Tinuade Sanda.

WPG disclosed this in a recent letter signed by the chairman of WPG, Charles Momoh.

The letter noted that Sanda was no longer an employee of the company on April 17, 2024.

“We refer to your contract of employment dated April 1, 2022, signed between you and WPG Limited. At this moment, we advise you that your service is no longer required, and accordingly, your employment with WPG Ltd is hereby terminated effective April 17, 2021, by clause 10.2 of the Contract. “WPG is obligated to pay you three months’ salary instead of notice and advises that the due amounts have been credited to your account. You are requested to kindly return all the Company’s properties (whether WPG or EKEDP ) in your possession, including but not limited to laptops, identity cards, and status cars upon receipt of this letter.”

The Development comes amid controversy surrounding Sanda’s removal by EKEDC.

Sanda was earlier seconded to the Disco and had returned to WPG when she was removed as EKEDC MD. Mrs. Rekhiat Momoh was appointed as Sanda’s replacement.

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NAPTIP reunites 2 Gombe kidnapped children with families

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The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), on Monday, reunited two kidnapped children with their parents in Gombe State.

Mr Aminu Shira, the NAPTIP Commander in the state, who stated this in Gombe, listed the children as Usman Kabiru, 11 and Aisha Shehu, four-month-old.

He said that Kabiru and Shehu were rescued in Lagos and Abuja, respectively, and handed over to the agency by the Gombe State Police Command.

Shira said the agency would ensure that the children receive proper care from their families.

He also said the Police Command on Jan. 16, handed over nine suspects and five victims of child trafficking to the agency in the state.

The NAPTIP official said that cases of child trafficking, sale of babies and sexual exploitation were instituted against the suspects currently undergoing prosecution.

Shira, however, said the victims were undergoing rehabilitation and skills acquisition training at the agency.

“Three victims were empowered by the command for full rehabilitation and re-integration into the society.

“Two female victims had been enrolled into skills acquisition training (tailoring) for six months here in Gombe.

“The agency sponsored all financial bills for the training and monthly allowance for the victims during the period of the training.

“One male victim has enrolled into Sheikh Jafar Memorial Primary School Arawa, Gombe, to continue of his education sponsored by NAPTIP,” Shira said.

He urged residents of the state to report suspected human traffickers to the agency, adding that: “NAPTIP will always remain committed towards the prevention of all forms of exploitation against women and children and liberating the vulnerable in the communities towards ensuring a safer and better society”.

It would be recalled that the Police Command on Jan. 10, confimed arrest of 16 persons for alleged child trafficking and criminal conspiracy in the Gombe State.

It also rescued three children from the suspects.

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