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Sanwo-Olu receives homecoming treatment, as Governor inspects infrastructure projects on Lagos Island

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…Residents hail Governor on the progress of 10-storey New Massey Hospital, Adeniji Adele Road projects

An exercise for an extensive inspection of the ongoing infrastructural upgrade in Lagos Island, on Wednesday, turned to a homecoming event for Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, as a tumultuous crowd of residents trooped out to welcome the Governor back to his home base.

Sanwo-Olu, who hails from Lagos Island East Local Council Development Area, was in the community to inspect the progress of the ongoing construction of Tapa-Okepopo streets, Adeniji Adele Road and construction of new 10-storey Massey Children Hospital.

The exercise literally turned into a rally when the residents, in showing their appreciation for the projects, joined the Governor on a walk from Adeniji Adele Road into adjoining streets.

Sanwo-Olu was in company of members of the State cabinet and top Government functionaries.

Inspecting the road projects, Sanwo-Olu expressed satisfaction on the pace of work, but urged the contractor to take the advantage of the good weather to scale up construction activities and deliver the projects at the end of the year.

Adeniji Adele Road, before its expansion and dualisation, used to be a single lane. The condition of the road deteriorated due to perennial flooding. The upgrade project, which is at 65 percent completion, now has interlocked bricks with lidded and channelised drainage to address water overflow.

At the new Massey Children Hospital, Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, conducted the Governor round the site, where the 547 piling caps required to fully raise hospital structure had been completed.

Sanwo-Olu also observed the civil work on the multi-level car park for the hospital.

He said, “Today, we are here for the on-the-spot assessment of the ongoing reconstruction of Tapa-Okepopo streets and Adeniji Adele Road on Lagos Island. Messrs Julius Berger, the contractor, had informed us that the entire project is at 65 per cent; it shows that we are on track and we can complete the project before the end of the year. Interlocking bricks have been laid, the drainages have been largely completed and the whole area looks new.

“We also inspected the construction of the new Massey Children Hospital, where we noticed the two buildings that are supposed to be coming up on the site. The nine-storey car park, which is currently at the third floor and the 10-storey children hospital. All the 547 piling caps required to fully raise structure on the hospital site have been completed. The contractor has been working double hard on the terms of the project.”

Sanwo-Olu led the team to Ilubirin where a flood protection channel is being built by the Office of Drainages in the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources to address water back flow to low plain areas in the city.

The Governor said a temporary wall had been erected across the water pumping channel to prevent back flow of water from the Lagos lagoon to Lagos Island environ.

Without the barricade, Sanwo-Olu said water would naturally be flowing back from the lagoon whenever there are high tides.

He said,“Significant part of Lagos is below sea level. When water rises from the lagoon, it can flow back to the city. The main observation today is that we are constructing a new 1-kilometre diversion channel from Ilubirin Estate that will take water unto the Lagos lagoon. We are also expecting three high-capacity pumps that are arriving next month. When this is done, issues around flooding on Lagos Island could have been significantly solved.”

The flood prevention effort, the Governor said, would be shifted to Ojo-Giwa collector and Thomas collector on Lagos Island for permanent solution.

Sanwo-Olu’s final stop was at the Lagos Island General Hospital in Aidan, Marina, where the State Government has carried out extensive rehabilitation of outdated facilities in phases.

In the first phase of the work, the Sanwo-Olu fully redesigned and upgraded the hospital’s Accident and Emergency section, Surgical Emergency wards, and training rooms.

The second phase of the project had the Pharmacy department and catering section rehabilitated. Eye Clinic, Administrative Building, Ambulance Bay, Relative Waiting Area and Children’s Surgical Wards were fully renovated in the third phase of the work.

The final phase, Sanwo-Olu said, will ensure full upgrade of the Pathology Department and construction of new wards to accommodate more patients on referral.

“In the new hospitals we are building, we have included the construction of Doctors’ Quarters just as we have in Lagos Island General Hospital. We are currently building a quarters for doctors in Gbagada General Hospital and another one on General Hospital, Isolo. This is to improve the condition of service for our doctors and other health professionals supporting them,” the Governor said.

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How I collected $3m cash for Emefiele – CBN employee

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A Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) employee, Mr Monday Osazuwa, on Friday told an Ikeja Special Offences Court how the former apex bank governor, Godwin Emefiele, on different occasions, directed him to collect three million dollars cash in tranches.

Osasuwa, while being led in evidence by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), said he was a dispatch rider in Zenith Bank in 2001 before he joined the CBN in 2014.
Osasuwa said he joined the apex bank as a senior supervisor in 2014.

He said Emefiele was the Managing Director of Zenith Bank Plc while he was working as a dispatch rider in the bank.
The witness said he knew Emefiele, who was his boss, while in Zenith Bank and that he later joined him at the CBN.
The witness said he was later appointed  as a senior supervisor (full time) in recording and filing of documents while working in the CBN governor’s office in Lagos.

“I was still working in the CBN governor’s office while I was appointed as a full staff member and we usually communicated through Whatsapp and email.

“I function as a senior supervisor, recording  and filing with other official roles.

“I recall that in 2020, when he was outside Lagos, he called me that he would give me a number that a man had something I should collect from him and that the man would give me the number of another person.

“When I got to the man’s office, I was given an envelope. I  counted the money and the man said I should give it to my boss,” he said.

The witness further told the court that the first defendant used to collect money by himself  anytime he was in Lagos but anytime the defendant was not around, he would tell him to give the money to the second defendant.
Osazuwa added that Emefiele sent him to MINL Ltd. when he was with Zenith Bank.

“This company is situated at Isolo, the first defendant did send me to collect cheques from the company from Mr Monday and when I collected the cheque from Mr Monday, I would give it back to Emefiele and he would lodge the money into Dumies Oil and Gas.

According to him, Emefiele’s co-defendant, Henry Isioma-Omoile, lived in the residence of the former CBN governor.

He stated that when he collected money for his boss, he would take it to his residence at Iru Close, Ikoyi.
“Whenever I received the money and take it to my boss’s residence, Mr Emefiele would tell me to give it to the second defendant whenever he was not at home.

“I did not keep a record of transactions because the instruction he gave me was that I should collect the money and bring the money to his house.

“The highest amount I collected was one million dollars all in cash and some weeks later, the businessman also called me to collect $850,000, $750,000 and $400,000 cash in tranches.

“I have never been rewarded, paid or given anything because I am doing it out of faithfulness and he knows it but he has never for once said, ‘take this’,” he said.

Under cross-examination by the defence counsel, Mr Abdulakeem Labi-Lawal, the witness confirmed  to the court that he had been working with the defendant since 2002.

According to the witness, Emefiele passed instructions to him through the second defendant and that he had been collecting cheques for Dumies Oil and Gas.

He, however, told the court when he was made to confront the second defendant during investigation but the second  defendant failed to admit it.

“I started collecting cheques for Dumies Oil and Gas when I was in Zenith Bank.

“I cannot calculate the exact year I have been collecting the cheques but it all started when the first defendant was the Managing Director at Zenith Bank and I was working at Zenith Bank,” he said.

EFCC on April 8 arraigned Emefiele on 23 counts bordering on abuse of office, accepting gratifications, corrupt demand, receiving property fraudulently obtained and conferring corrupt advantage.

Emefiele’s co-defendant was arraigned on three counts bordering on acceptance of gift by agents.
The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Earlier, Oshodi had declined the oral application for adjournment moved twice by the defence counsel.
The judge adjourned the case until April 29 for trial and hearing of application for closed-session.

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Anambra boat mishap: Police recover 3 more bodies

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The Police Command in Anambra, said it had recovered three more bodies from the  boat mishap that occurred on Wednesday, in Anam community, Anambra West Local Government Area of the state.

The command’s spokesperson, SP Tochukwu Ikenga, said this in a statement in Awka on Friday.

Ikenga said that the command’s Marine Police unit in Anambra recovered the remaining three bodies of the boat accident during the shooting of a movie.

He said that two of the bodies were recovered on April 11, while the last body was washed ashore by the tide early Friday.

Ikenga said that the bodies have been deposited in an undisclosed mortuary in Asaba, Delta.

He said that the President of Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) has been notified of the recovery.

“Mr Aderemi Adeoye, Commissioner, Anambra Police Command, has urged all water commuters to be safety conscious,” he said.

He advised water commuters to avoid behaviour that might jeopardise their safety and that of others on water transit.

Adeoye assured that the command would thoroughly investigate the cause of the sad accident that claimed the lives of five actors and proffer a lasting solution.

He commended the Marine Command Unit and its Commander for their dedication to duty.

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FIRS generates N12.3 trn in 2023 – CEO

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The Chief Executive, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Zacch Adedeji, said that the organisation witnessed unprecedented progress in revenue collection, culminating in a remarkable achievement of N12.3 trillion in 2023.
The chief executive, who was represented by a staff of the organisation, Mrs Aisha Ribadu, said this on Friday at the FIRS special day at the ongoing 35th Enugu International Trade Fair.
Adedeji said that this success was a testament to its dedication to nurturing and empowering its workforce, and to ensuring they possessed the skills, knowledge and tools necessary to excel.
He expressed his heartfelt appreciation to the Enugu State Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA) for its discerning choice of theme, “Promoting Made-in-Nigeria Products for Global Competitiveness”.
The FIRS boss added that the choice of theme reflected the collective aspiration to not only dominate the African market but to assert relevance on the global stage.
“Investing in human capital is the cornerstone of sustainable development, and nations that prioritise human  development inevitably experience  enduring growth and prosperity.
“The FIRS has spearheaded transformative reforms aimed at diversifying revenue sources and enhancing the overall taxpayer experience.
 “One of such initiatives is the introduction of the Taxpromax Solutions, an innovative e-service platform designed to empower taxpayers to fulfill their obligations seamlessly from anywhere at any time,” Adedeji said.
He expressed gratitude to ECCIMA for affording the FIRS the invaluable opportunity to showcase its commitment to national development.
In a welcome address, the ECCIMA President, Mr Odeiga Jideonwo, said that the essence of the special day was to bring the business community and the general public closer to the activities and operations of the FIRS.
 Jideonwo, who was represented by the first Deputy President, Nnanyereugo Onyemelukwe, said that the FIRS should  work in tandem with other agencies of government and stakeholders in the organised private  sector.
He said that it would enable the FIRS to redefine and streamline tax administration and regime in the country.
” It will also bring about a society  wherein the rich and poor will leverage each other in contributing to the development of the society in a fair and just manner, as it affects company tax by various businesses,” he said.
 He commended the chief executive for its various innovations aimed at voluntary bringing into the FIRS database, companies in order to boost the tax network.
Jideonwo added that it would also boost revenue with the attendant grace offered in the process to those who had been evading tax payment.
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