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Exclusive: Residents Kick As Lagos Pulls Down Awolowo, Fela Statues On Allen Roundabout

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Residents Kick As Lagos Pulls Down Awolowo, Fela Statues On Allen Roundabout

…We Consulted Fela’s Family, Lagos Insists
…Reveals New Location For Effigy

By Augustine Akhilomen

Mixed reactions have greeted the removal of the statues of late Premier of the West African Region, Sir. Obafemi Awolowo and late Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti on Allen Roundabout, Ikeja, the Lagos capital.

Residents and passersby woke up to see bull dozers inside the two parks where the statues are located.

While the Awolowo statue was erected by the Tinubu administration, Fela’s was erected by the last administration of Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on October 15, 2017.

Worried by the development, some Lagosians took to social media to vent their disapproval with the decision to remove the statues.

An art enthusiast and resident in the State, Durosinmi Adesoye in a chat with Thepledge said it came as a total shock to him to see bulldozers bringing down the statues.

“I was shocked to say the least. But for the fact that I was driving to meet up an appointment, I was going to confront them to find out why.

“Though I later read online that the government has intention to relocate the statues of our two great icons because it wants to remove the roundabouts, the location was just befitting, being the heart and capital of the State,” Adesoye said.

Another resident, Moses Fasoranti wondered why the State Government would decide to embark on such saying that there were other areas where urgent attention was needed to address gridlock.

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“Allen Roundabout is the least cause of Lagos traffic. I agree with the removal of Lekki roundabout, but this one in Allen is not really consequential. I hope the government knows what it is doing,” he said.

For Ranmilowo Dada, the first thought that ran through his mind was that the State Government was targeting the Fela structure built by the Akinwunmi Ambode administration.

“I was reading online that Lagos has pulled down Fela statue built by Ambode, I wondered why the government under Sanwo-Olu’s watch would concede to such.”

Femi Ilesanmi, a social critic, however, said that while he can confirm that the statues were not demolished but carefully removed from the roundabout to a location later to be unveiled later.

But the government in a swift response to the news making rounds on social media, said the removal of the statues had no sinister motive as it was part of the government’s plan for junction improvement in a bid to address traffic gridlock in some parts of the m hi uuetropolis.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu had announced a few weeks back that some roundabout in the metropolis will have to give way to ease traffic congestion (Allen roundabout inclusive), while the Lekki roundabout has already been pulled down.

Speaking to journalists on Thursday, the State’s Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde who debunked the social media story said contrary to the malicious claims being spread by ill informed individuals, the statues were removed for the purpose of development.

Oladeinde said the need to carry out Junction improvements in some identified locations necessitated the removal of street furniture, statues of very notable personalities, art works and billboards.

The Commissioner noted that Lagos State Government holds the nation’s heroes in very high esteem and would not do anything to bring down the exalted heights they have attained during their lifetime directly or indirectly.

He said: “the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration, in a bid to finding a lasting solution to traffic gridlocks in the State, identified about sixty congestion points and have started work to improve traffic experience in five major locations.

Oladeinde said the government duly informed and consulted the Fela Anikulapo-Kuti family before the action was taken, noting that the whole process is for the benefit of Lagos residents.

The Commissioner said the Fela statue will be relocated to the roundabout between Allen Avenue and Opebi-Toyin Street.

“We are in the process of erecting the beautiful work of art, depicting Fela Anikulapo-Kuti at the Opebi-Toyin street junction. The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture is also working on a befitting location to erect the old Obafemi Awolowo statue,” he said.

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ASUU-FG Meeting Ends In Deadlock, Strike To Continue

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Tuesday’s meeting between the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Federal Government has again ended without an agreement.

This means the six-month old strike by public university lecturers is set to continue.

The striking lecturers had met with the Professor Nimi Briggs Committee on Tuesday at the National University Commission in Abuja with high hopes of resolving the impasse.

A senior member of ASUU, who craved anonymity told Channels Television that members of the Briggs renegotiation committee did not come with any new offer on the table.

Instead, the ASUU source said, the committee plead with the lecturers to suspend the ongoing strike, with promises that their concerns will be included in the 2023 budget.

According to the source, the meeting, which started at about 12pm, lasted for about three hours without any agreement reached.

ASUU embarked on a four-week warning strike on February 14.

On March 14, the union extended the industrial action by another two months to allow the government meet all of its demands. A 12-week extension was announced on May 9.

Since May 9, the union has remained on strike, vowing to persist until its demands are met.

The academics are seeking improved welfare, revitalisation of public universities and academic autonomy among other demands.

One bone of contention for the academics is the non-payment of university revitalisation funds, which amounts to about N1.1 trillion.

But the Federal Government has said it doesn’t have the money to pay such an amount, citing low oil prices during the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

The agreement was struck in 2009.

Another is the issue of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).

The academics have proposed an alternative payroll system, the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).

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Flush Out Every Criminal Elements In Imo, IGP Charges Officers

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The Inspector General of Police, Baba Alkali, on Tuesday, ordered security operatives in the state to decimate the “enemies” of the state.

The IGP, who gave the charge at the state government House while inaugurating the Amorured Personnel Carriers procured by the state government to aid the fight against banditry, said that the state was strategic in the economy of the South-East zone.

Alkali said that the procurement of APCs would serve as a morale booster for his men in fighting criminals in the state.

He said that his office was always ready to collaborate with the state government to get the state rid of criminal elements in the state.

“With utmost professionalism and absolute synergy among security agencies in the fight against criminality, the people believe unwarranted attacks by criminals will soon be brought to the bearest in Imo State,” he said.

The state governor, Hope Uzodimma, said that his administration was committed to the security and prosperity of the state.

Uzodiinma said, “Although security is in the exclusive list of the Federal Government, the reality is that all tiers of government must synergize to ensure the protection of property and lives of the citizenry. Since the inception of my administration, I have always worked with the federal government and the security agencies to ensure that Imo Stare is safe for our people, residents, and visitors.

“Therefore, what we are doing today is not a coincidence but a deliberate and sustainable effort aimed at enhancing the capacity of the police to execute their constitutional law enforcement mandate.

“You will recall that shortly after I assumed office, I procured more than 100 patrol vehicles equipped with modern communication gadgets for the police and other security agencies to help them fight crime and criminality in the state. We followed that up with the donation of the first set of Armoured Personnel Carriers.

“Today, on behalf of the state government, I am presenting for the commissioning and immediate deployment of additional 10 numbers of Armoured Personal Carriers and other vehicles to further strengthen the effectiveness of the police force in the state. This latest donation has been necessitated by the fact that the police have become targets of attacks across the country, including here in Imo State. They are intended to protect the Police from such heartless attacks, to enable them to protect us.

“Conscious of the fact that the price of peace is eternal vigilance, it is only fit and proper that we should provide the police with the necessary equipment to maintain the peace we need.

“As I have always said, there can be no development without peace. Let me reiterate the fact that the government under my watch will do all we can to protect the lives and property of all citizens and residents of Imo state. I am aware that the sponsors of insecurity in the state are not tired of trying to make the state ungovernable for us.

“They continue to deploy every instrument at their disposal, including sheer blackmail, propaganda which they easily spread via Social Media to misinform and incite the public against my administration. They even went as far as trying to set the state against the federal government and other ethnic groups by engaging in all manner of propaganda. But, they will continue to fail because they do not mean well to the people, and the victory of good over evil is always assured.

“Those who will stop at nothing, including shedding the blood of innocent citizens, to get to power must know that they will be held accountable for their evil deeds either here on earth or hereafter. Let me, therefore, use this auspicious occasion to once again call on such people to always remember that the need to secure the collective peace of Imo people should always come before our personal ambitions. They should give peace a chance it deserves.


“As the Governor of the state, let me assure the good people of Imo state that I will continue to do my utmost best to ensure that Imo remains safe for everyone, including investors. I hereby reiterate my appeal to our youths to shun violence in any form and embrace the empowerment programmes of the state government. Always remember crime does not pay. Don’t ever allow any politician to use you for his selfish purposes.

“To our security agencies, especially the police, the state government under my watch will continue to make your jobs easier. As you continue to diligently and gallantly serve the country, always know that you are not alone.”

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Strike: Onochie Accuses ASUU Of Blackmailing Buhari’s Govt

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President Muhammadu Buhari’s Special Assistant on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie, has accused the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, of blackmailing governments in Nigeria.

To this end, Onochie urged the National Assembly to enact laws that would mandate ASUU to pay the salaries of striking members.

Onochie said it is unfair for ASUU executives to live off the union’s dues alone.

In a tweet, Onochie wrote: “ASUU has blackmailed every government in Nigeria. The National Assembly should enact a law that mandates ASUU to pay the salaries of striking members.

“The current situation where ASUU executives alone, live off Union Dues leaving members high and dry, is unfair to their members.”

ASUU has been on strike since February 2022 over the Federal Government’s inability to fulfil its 2009 agreements.

The lingering strike is also a result of the government’s refusal to accept the UTAS software developed by the union for payment of lecturers’ salaries.

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