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AMAC Boss defends collection of tenement rates

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The Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) is not in conflict with the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCTA), AMAC Chairman Abdullahi Adamu Candido has clarified.

Rather, he said, as the present occupant of that seat, he owed his would-be successors and indeed residents of the area council an obligation to ensure what belongs to them was not taken by another authority.

Candido spoke Tuesday at a parley with journalists at the AMAC headquarters, Area 10, Abuja.

Responding to questions on duplication of revenues by both the council and the FCTA, the council boss said certain areas were statutorily the responsibility of AMAC and not FCTA.

Taking the tenement rate as case in point, Adamu said: “The council is not in conflict with FCTA over tenement rate but only protecting what belongs to the people of the area council. We refused to get intimidated. What we are doing is not conflict but doing what is statutorily the responsibility of the council.    

“Same goes for outdoor advertising too. For us, we are only stating the fact which the people must know on who owns and controls what.  This is the case here.  By the grace of God and with the new template of Ease of Doing Business, we are trying to see how best we can synergise and work together so that at the end of it all, you(FCTA) gain, we gain and the people  won’t suffer.“

The council boss further said  the next  government coming after his “certainly has to sit up so that it’s not denied of its rights.  So, basically, I must say we have no conflict with the FCTA because what belongs to them is theirs and what belongs to us is ours.”

When asked what the area council offers the people from whom tenement rates were collected, Adamu said the revenue collected was always used to service the needs of people in the rural areas.

“Tenement rate by law is a two-way thing. You collect from fairly well-to-do to service the needs of the lesser ones. The estate already has infrastructure, so what am I going to do there? Rural areas need more of the council’s attention. Tenement rates and revenue from other sources  are transferred  to rural areas  so they can also  have and enjoy the benefits of the infrastructure in the metropolis.  But that does not mean we won’t be complimenting the efforts of the federal government. Yes, we may not have means to provide roads, but we also do some other things like giving transformers to estates.

“Also, AEPB is statutorily charged with refuse collection, but we also compliment as we collect waste in rural areas.  The challenge here is that three hours after refuse had been cleared from a particular spot, you see same level of refuse at that point. This exactly is the experience and the fund is not there to do this. So, it’s not our making.”

Asked what the revenue base is, the AMAC boss said: “The base is good. Revenue is best for FCT area councils. For AMAC , it’s supposed to be better? But why is it not? This conflict! Revenue base very fertile, but the conflict makes things difficult. In fact, the last two years have made it worse.”


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Osun free train service: Beneficiaries urge public to take advantage for educational purposes, excursion

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Some of the beneficiaries of the free train service usually provided during the festival periods by the government of the State of Osun, have urged the general public to take maximum advantage of the initiative for educational purposes.


The beneficiaries noted that apart from the socioeconomic support given through the laudable initiative, it behoves the citizens, particularly heads of academic institutions, to maximize the opportunity to encourage students on excursion.


This is even as the train on Sunday returned over 600 passengers who had come home to celebrate Eid-el-fitr with their loved ones back to their various destinations which include, Oyo, Ogun and Lagos States respectively.
Recall that the Administration of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola has sustained the initiative as part of efforts to ease transportation and as well help to ameliorate the palpable socioeconomic challenges facing holidaymakers who are citizens of the State but residing outside Osun, and chose to celebrate their festivals in the State.


Addressing journalists while boarding the train, a beneficiary, Pastor David Oyedele, said he deliberately came to embark on the trip as part of efforts to expose the pupils of his school to rail transportation.


Oyedele, a Director of a private school in Osogbo who boarded the train with about 30 pupils, said he deemed it fit to travel with the free train service provided by the State Government, having identified and seen the great advantages that lie therein.


According to him, the free train service being sponsored by the State Government, particularly during festive periods, had opened windows of opportunity for those who can take it for personal and collective benefits.
“For instance, many believe that the initiative is restricted to convey people and luggage alone. But I want to tell them that this initiative goes beyond that, as it remains the surest way to encourage academic excursion.


“I decided to come this morning with my pupils in order to take them on excursion through this transportation means with the hope to broaden their knowledge and expose them to rail transportation rudimentary.


“As you can see, some of the pupils are seeing the train for the first time while some haven’t travelled with it before. Meanwhile, this will provide them the opportunity of not only seeing it but traveling with it.
“We have taught them the theoretical aspect and with this, they must have experienced the practical aspect by traveling with it. 


“I must commend the State Government for providing us this opportunity because if not, we might not be able to actualise this in view of what may cost each of the pupils to do so.
“I am appealing to the people, particularly those resident in Osun, to take the advantage of the initiative for academic excursions since it costs them nothing,” he added.
Also, Master Olaniyi Joshua applauded the State government for the provision of the free train service.


Joshua, a student who was on  excursion, said, “I am happy today because I have the privilege to see the train, board it and travel in it.”
Another passenger, Mr. Akinwale Oluwagbemiga, praised the initiative and described it as unprecedented.


Oluwagbemiga who claimed to have been enjoying the free train service since it was introduced, expressed delight in the fact that the progressive government has been able to sustain the initiative.


He called on the people, particularly the beneficiaries of the initiative to continue to support the government in whatever way they could in order to make the initiative a long-lasting programme.
In her remarks, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Commerce, Industry, Cooperatives and Empowerment, Mrs. Christiana Olusola Ogunfolaju, expressed delight at the impressive turnout of the passengers.


She assured of government’s commitment to continous prioritisation of the people’s welfare and well-being.
Other government’s officials in attendance during the takeoff of the train were the Coordinating Director, Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Cooperatives and Empowerment, Mrs. Kehinde Odediran; Director of Commerce and Investment Promotion, Mrs. Ajibola Falode; Director of Administration, Mr. Afeez Owolabi; Technical Assistant to the Commissioner of Commerce, Mr. Samuel Oyedemi, among others.


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Jerusalem synagogue grandstand seating collapses, 2 die, 100 injured

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Orthodox synagogue in the West Bank settlement of Giv’at Ze’ev northwest of Jerusalem has collapsed, killing two persons and injuring more than 100, Israeli emergency services confirmed.

CNN reports that at least two people have been confirmed dead in what was described as a “mass casualty event”, the head of police for Jerusalem district told Israeli television reporters.

Video broadcast on Israeli television shows dozens of worshippers falling to the ground when the crowded bleachers collapsed.

A “considerable number of worshippers were injured,” according to police. A firefighter on the scene told Israel Channel 13 that worshippers appeared to be trapped under the bleachers.

More than 100 have been injured, according to Israeli emergency medical services.

The bleacher collapse comes just over two weeks after 45 people were killed in a stampede at a religious festival at Israel’s Mount Meron, where worshipers had gathered to mark the Lag B’Omer holiday.


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Panic, disquiet as hoodlums invade, burn Police stations, Policemen killed in Delta

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Christian worshippers on Sunday stayed off churches after Police headquarters in Nsukwa, Aniocha South Local Government Area of Delta State, was burnt down by gunmen, who also killed three policemen on duty.

The hoodlums, who attacked the police station around 2am on Sunday, also injured one police officer, Veritynewsonline reports

An witness from om Nsukwa community, who spoke to our correspondent on the condition of anonymity, said both the police station and the police quarters were set ablaze.

He said, “They were four policemen on guard; they shot three police officers dead, that’s the one we see, while one was injured. Even police motorcycles at the premises were burnt also. They (hoodlums) destroyed vehicle and carted away their ammunition.”

It was learnt that the Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Ali, and other security agencies visited the scene of the incident around noon to ascertain the level of the damages.


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