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Published On: Thu, Dec 7th, 2017

Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos has directed the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) to conduct an enumeration of religious centres across the state. Mr. Ambode gave the directive while inaugurating 798 members of the NIREC appointed for the 20 Local Governments and 37 Local Council Development Areas in Lagos. He was represented by the Commissioner for Home Affairs, AbdulHakeem Abdul-Lateef, at the inauguration. “One of the core functions you are going to discharge is the collation of religious institutions at the local government level,” he said. “You must ensure that you compile a list of all churches, all mosques, all faith-based organisations and forward same to the Ministry of Home Affairs. “I must also urge you to work closely with the local government chairman and all other officials at the local government level. “You are working directly with NIREC at the state level. “Always make sure that you relate any matter that is beyond your capacity to the state NIREC and through the state NIREC, it will get to my office as the governor of Lagos State. “Your meetings will hold quarterly and I urge you to have extra-ordinary meetings in cases of emergencies. “I urge you to cooperate with the local government officials and do your best to promote peace and orderliness at the local government level.’’ Speaking earlier, the Co-Chairman (Muslim) of the state NIREC, Tajudeen Yusuf, said the inauguration of the council at the local government level was a proactive step taken by the government. He said that this would ensure continued peaceful co-existence among all people of diverse religious and ethnic groups in the state. “Today, we are inaugurating the members of NIREC at grassroots and it is a proactive step on the part of our governor to ensure that the monumental development that Lagos State is witnessing today is not taken for granted. “Muslims and Christians are in a better position to ensure that we continue to have peace and inter-religious dialogue as well as peaceful co-existence in Lagos State. “We are, by this inauguration, taking inter-religious dialogue to the grassroots so that when crises arise, they are quickly nipped in the bud,’’ Mr. Yusuf said. Also speaking, the co-chairman (Christian) of the state NIREC, Israel Akinadewo, remarked that religious leaders must continue to educate their followers, especially the vulnerable ones at the grassroots. The State Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs, Muslim Folami, commended Mr. Ambode for running a community-based government of inclusion by bringing governance down to the grassroots. Mr. Folami said that by taking the NIREC activities to the grassroots, it would be easier for government to nip any crisis in the bud. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 14 persons, comprising seven Muslims and seven Christians each, were appointed into the NIREC in the 20 LGAs and 37 LCDAs in the state.(NAN)

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Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos StateThe Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has recovered two high-rise buildings and N18 million fraudulently acquired by civil servants under the Federal Government’s Monetisation Policy.
In a statement on Wednesday, Spokesperson of the commission, Rasheedat Okoduwa, said the culprits were mainly in the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF).
Mrs. Okoduwa said other “undeserving beneficiaries” were also involved in the alleged breach of the monetisation policy.
She, however, did not disclose the identity and number of persons involved in the act.
Under the Monetisation Policy introduced by the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2005, official houses occupied by federal civil servants were sold to them by the government to reduce the cost of governance.
Mrs. Okoduwa said, “In recent times, ICPC has been inundated with petitions from patriotic Nigerians drawing the commission’s attention to allegations of widespread abuse of the policy by beneficiaries.
“The Commission, while acting on the petitions, discovered through preliminary investigation that a number of civil servants in OHCSF, who benefited from the policy, had not paid for the houses since 2005.
“Some were discovered to have completely defaulted, and others found to be owing sizeable balance of the money.
“The investigation further revealed that 32,305 houses were captured by the Committee on the Sale of Government Properties while 24,345 were eventually sold to beneficiaries.
“However, civil servants in some government agencies notably OHSCF and the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) have allegedly turned the policy into a shoddy business with the aim of defrauding the federal government.”
She said investigation also revealed that some public servants and government agencies were concealing official property and collecting rent on same without the consent of the federal government.
This, according to her, is a clear violation of the intent of the policy primarily aimed at divesting government’s interest in providing housing for its employees.
“Further discovery by ICPC has shown that staff in OHSCF allocated some of the houses to undeserving beneficiaries who were not public servants at the time of the exercise and some of the property are yet to be allocated.
“The investigation has so far yielded fruitful result with the recovery of N18, 031,000 from some civil servants and a host of companies.
“They include Montgomery & Campbell Ltd. and SICCONS, and the recovered money has been paid into the coffers of the government.
“ICPC assures Nigerians that anyone found guilty of contravening the law will be charged to court upon conclusion of investigation,” Mrs. Okoduwa said.(NAN)

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