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South-West roads no longer safe, schools operating under fear – Gov. Akeredolu cries out [FULL SPEECH]



Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State on Tuesday raised an alarm that roads in the South West region are no longer safe, while schools in the region operate under palpable fear.

Akeredolu, who doubles as Chairman of Western Nigeria Governors Forum, made these revelations while speaking at a summit organised by the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission.

The summit christened, “Stakeholders’ security summit: Focus on Western Nigeria” held in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital, had all the six governors from the region: Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Gboyega Oyetola (Osun) Dapo Abiodun (Ogun) and Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), in attendance.

Others are security chiefs, traditional rulers, leaders of thought and prominent groups within the region among whom are a former deputy governor of Osun State, Senator Iyiola Omisore, Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yoruba land, Chief Gani Adams, Secretary of Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), Dr. Kunle Olajide, Ewi of Ado Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adejuyigbe and Olukare of Ikare-Akoko Oba Akadiri Momoh among others.

The list also includes: Dr. Femi Majekodunmi, Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulraseed Adewale Akanbi, AIG in charge of Zone 11 which consists of Oyo, Osun and Ekiti, Mr. Leye Oyebade, Commissioners of Police in the six states, among others.

Akeredolu, while addressing the audience, lamented that school children are now abducted for ransom while commuters are no longer safe on the highway.

He insisted that, “This aberrant phenomenon seems blind to class, religion and ethnicity. Nobody is spared. All of us have become victims, suddenly”.

Below is a full text of Akeredolu’s speech while speaking at the summit.




I welcome, most heartily, my fellow brothers from all South Western States and, indeed, all dignitaries invited to this very important gathering in Ibadan, the political capital of the Yoruba people. This meeting has become exigent considering the spate of insecurity in the country. The anxiety of our people is palpable. The growing fear among the populace makes nonsense of any plans conceived for the development of our God-given space.

It is my fervent hope that this engagement will not be limited to the current challenge which threatens to wreck our collective peace. I look forward to future interactions on matters as important and affective as this one which compels this assembly. There is no gainsaying the obvious; the issue of socio-economic integration in the region must be taken seriously for any aspiration towards development to be meaningful. No remarkable progress can be achieved amidst chaos. No State in the Region can achieve greatness in isolation.

We should extend the possibility of cooperation on other socio-economic fronts. Our people stand to benefit from our resolve to ensure that they remain at the centre of all permutations and considerations. Partisan coloration should not delimit the extent of collaboration aimed at maximum service for our people. With shared yearnings for the development of the region, there should be no difficultyin agreeing to provide the best services possible in the interest of our people.

There should be no disagreement in aspiration for service, if altruism is the focus. Our seeming difference, considering political platforms, should not stand in the way of commitment to promote the collective well-being of our people. Convinced of our shared heritage, propelled by the desire to proceed on the enviable tradition of excellence for which our ancestors are reputed, we cannot harbour any extraneous preferences to this inherited and established course of development.

We are particularly lucky; we have many examples to draw from history considering exemplary courage in the face of adversity, uncommon display of hospitality, even in privation, industry and distinctive virtues, all of which mark us as a unique people. The influx of peoples from other parts of the country and beyond attest to our urbanity and humane disposition which accommodate divergence.The evidence of great successes recorded by those who seek refuge in our geo-political space is sufficient reason for the sustenance of our hospitable disposition, provided that our people’s interests are not in jeopardy.

Again, our history compels us to be cautious when confronted with strange occurrences. Our past experiences should teach us that understanding a phenomenon will assist us, tremendously, in proffering useful solutions. As leaders of our people we cannot afford to be emotive in taking decisions for their benefit. Any step taken must reflect the collective will to protect them. No sacrifice is too much to preserve this heritage of peace and prosperity.

The pervasive presence of persons not indigenous to our space bears eloquent testimony to the quality of our upbringing. The preponderance of thriving businesses owned and controlled by our brothers and sisters from other parts of the country is evidence of sophistication. Our land is indeed a lesson to other parts of the country. There is no limit to the aspiration of anyone who lives, peacefully, among us. Nobody is persecuted in our midst. We protect the weak, even against our own. Our borders are thrown open to all and sundry in the spirit of brotherhood and oneness.

There is, however, the urgent need compelling a review of this liberal policy of openness. Our people are under siege, the harbingers of death, sorrow, tears and blood threaten the existing fraternity among the peoples of this country. Narrow-mindedness gloats over the horrendous crimes perpetrated by these criminal elements. Some fail to see beyond partisan parochialism. The situation on ground should compel a broader and open-minded analysis of this strange incursion with a view to ascertaining the real reasons responsible for this disquiet.

We should be particularly worried by the current spate of an insidious phenomenon, hitherto unknown and uncommon in our immediate clime, creeping into our erstwhile peaceful and prosperous ambience. The incessant perpetration of anti social behaviours, occasioning pervasive despair, and the seeming helplessness of our security agencies to stem the tide of these aberrant attitudes, which threaten the very existence of our region as an autonomous socio-political entity, call for serious scrutiny. We must review these unfortunate incidents individually and collectively. Every State must be able to ascertain the extent of this current threat. We must locate the sources of compromise within our space with a view to curtailing same effectively in both the short and long run.

Our collective goal should be the security of our space and safety of our people in all ramifications. On this, there should be no compromise. We must, consequently, be proactive in tackling the current security issues. The adoption of a scientific approach towards the resolution of the current crisis will bear far-reaching effects. Our State will be looking forward to working with other States in the South Western Region to eradicate the menace of armed robbery, drug abuse, cultism, kidnapping, among others.

There can be no argument on the assertion that insecurity has becomea major issue in the polity today. There is virtually no part of the country which is spared at the moment. All the six geo-political zones experience one form of crisis or the other. From Zamfara to Katsina, the current trends are banditry and cattle rustling. Kano, Sokoto and Bauchi are not spared. Kaduna faces an uphill task in combating security challenges.

The Middle Belt Region is also affected seriously. The crisis between the Jukun and Tiv in Taraba State appears intractable. Jos has witnessed a serious upheaval recently. Benue State was practically under siege at a moment. The North East has been waging a seemingly endless war against insurgents who have now introduced an international dimension to the mindless killings and destruction of properties. The South East and South South battle with communal clashes, banditry, armed robbery and kidnapping.

The South West had enjoyed some moments of respite until recently. What started as isolated cases have now become a daily occurrence. Some cases are obviously exaggerated and there are many fictive narratives out there. Some unscrupulous persons hope to derive political mileage from this confusion, no doubt. There is no denying the fact that the region which had enjoyed some relative peace, is currently under siege. Everybody is concerned about the ease with which these fiendish characters operate. Some victims have been unlucky, they paid the supreme price.Others live with bodily scars and bruised psyche. The morale of our people had never been this low. Our security agencies appear overwhelmed by the incessant and sustained attacks on our people in different parts of the country. Our roads are no longer safe. Our schools operate under palpable fear. School children are now abducted for ransom. Commuters are no longer safe on our roads. This aberrant phenomenon seems blind to class, religion and ethnicity. Nobody is spared. All of us have become victims, suddenly.

There have been attempts by some to create disaffection among Nigerians. Others have tried to take advantage of the unfortunate crisis to further compound the problems. A traditional ruler and a pastor have been accused of feigning kidnap to extort money from sympathisers. Crime, of varying hue, is gradually becoming a very lucrative business in Nigeria.


The Ondo State Government, recognizing the gravity of the current challenges, held a Security Summit early this year. The enormity of these problems made the convocation of the event exigent. There was unanimity in the belief that the location of our state explains the seeming vulnerability of both the government and its people. The assemblage of security experts, personnel and representatives of agencies agreed on the pathway towards the resolution of the current crisis.

Ondo State occupies a very strategic location in the country. Her littoral shores are the longest and, arguably, the deepest. Her northern borders lead to the North Central and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The volume of human and vehicular traffic coursing through the State requires constant alertness. The State is the gateway to the South-West. She shares common borders with Kogi, Edo, Osun and Ogun States. The state is easily accessible from Lagos State by the Lagoon and Atlantic.

These geographical realities dictate that our security architecture be honed, constantly, to reflect the dynamic nature of the challenges faced by our people. Some fugitive criminal elements believe that our State provides a safe haven for them by the simple logic of her heterogeneous composition. Our porous borders encourage seamless ingress and egress, especially by these undesirable elements whose nefarious activities excite anxieties.

The State has had her own share of socio-economic adversities, chief among which has been the issue of crime and the embarrassing presence of army of unemployed youths. We have been contending with common anti- social attitudes like stealing, thuggery, even armed robbery. We have had to resolve crisis between farmers and herdsmen and a new understanding has been reached. The introduction of the novel phenomenon of kidnappinghas, however, been quite unsettling. We are not unaware of the antics of some unscrupulous elements who seek to employ this unfortunate development to divide the people. The pernicious attempt to bring in ethnicity and religion must be condemned by all well-meaning citizens in the country.

The Ondo State Security Summit produced a Security Policy Document for the State. This document considers the current situation and suggests ways through which the problems can be tackled. The Summit identified high level of insecurity, wide gaps in available security architecture, constraints occasioned by these challenges, future institutional arrangements, sustainable structure and funding. It also came up with both medium security and safety strategic plans.

Our administration has exhibited sufficient political will which leaves no one in doubt of its readiness to confront the challenges headlong. This Security Policy Document (SPD) promises to address these problems realistically. The provision of adequate security architecture will enhance the socio-economic development of the people of Ondo State and promote investment and tourism.

The document contains five key Security Policy Objectives which the government proposes to boost public confidence. These are enunciated as follows:

1. Ensuring Public Safety: providing for, and mitigating risks to, the safety of citizens and communities;

2. Preserving Domestic peace and safety: protecting the physical security of residents and their properties;

3. Protecting Public Assets: this is both physical and virtual. The citizens are allowed to communicate, trade and engage in socio-economic activities without any fear of molestation from any quarters;

4. Sustaining economic prosperity: maintaining and advancing the economic well-being of individuals, families, business and communities; and

5. Maintaining democratic institutions and national values: preventing activities aimed at undermining or overturning government institutions, principles and values that underpin the society.


The Ondo State Government has adopted a holistic and integrated strategic approach to manage security risk. We will be relying on the 4Rs to combat the menace. These are:

1. Reduction: this administration believes in the drastic reduction in crime rate through identification and analysis of long term and short term risks with a view to eliminating them.

2. Readiness: developing operational systems and capabilities to prevent crimes.

3. Response: moving swiftly to nip in the bud any significant event before, during and/or directly after occurrence.

4. Recovery: using coordinated efforts and processes to engender immediate, medium-term and long term prevention of crimes.

In achieving these lofty aims, heavy reliance will be placed on collaboration with certain government agencies which deal with crime and delinquency prevention. These include:

Law Enforcement and Investigations

Criminal Prosecution

Justice Administration

Legal Defence, Victims and Witness Protection

Prisons and Offender-Correction.


Need for a proper coordination of the activities of all formal and informal security groups in the State.

Free flow of information regarding crime from members of the public as encouraged by the State.

Need for a toll-free line for crime reporting in the State.

Need for joint border patrols with neighbouring States.

Above all, the need for inter-agency cooperation and collaboration.

We must ensure that we fill the gaps in legislation to sanction deviance promptly, firmly and comprehensively.

The role of the people is vital in the implementation of any conceived ideas. The people must be informed adequately on the strategic importance of collaboration with the agencies of the State. Unless they are made to own the programme, it will be very difficult for the government to make any appreciable impact in its bid to confront insecurity.


The South-Western States must ensure that their strategies are harmonized to achieve a common purpose. We cannot afford to work in isolation at this moment. We must cast aside all partisan considerations in the interest of our people. Our ultimate aim must be the socio-economic integration of the Region which reflects our collective aspirations for a peaceful and prosperous environment.

As we seek to collaborate to combat a common challenge, it should also not be tasking for those of us in the saddle to begin to think of the socio-economic benefits accruable from working together to make our Region less dependent, almost solely, on external sources for survival.

I shall be listening, attentively, to the presentations of my brothers. I look forward to gaining more from the practical examples to be presented.

I thank you all for your patience.




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Rotary Should Continue to Inspire Women for Economic Growth- Alaba Lawson




Mrs Geetika Tandon, Rtn Gabriel Otsu, Chairman, organising Committee, Iyalode Alaba Lawson, Keynote Speaker, District Governor, Rotary District 9110, Rtn Omotunde Lawson & Rtn Francis Lawson
A call has gone to Rotary International District 9110 and indeed organisations around the country to  consistently inspire and promote women for economic and national growth
The appeal was made by former President, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Chief Alaba Lawson while presenting the keynote address at the first Rotary District 9110 Women in Rotary Conference held at the Nigeria Law School Auditorium, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Rtn Francis Lawson, District Governor, Rtn Omotunde Lawson, Mrs Angela Emewa, Chairman, Punch and award recipient & Rtn Gabriel Otsu, Chairman, Organising Committee

Speaking on the topic “ The Transformational Woman: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion For Socio-Economic Change”, Chief Lawson stated that Rotary as an organization has made giant strides in the area of women empowerment and advised that the body should do more as it will ultimately lead to the nation’s growth.

Rtn Gabriel Otsu, Rtn Francis Lawson, District Governor, Rtn Omotunde Lawson, Chief (Mrs) Alaba Lawson & guest speaker

She noted that women are the key to Nigeria’s economic and political advancement, and the more women involved at the top echelon and decision-making process, the better.
 According to her“When more women work, economies grow. Women’s economic empowerment boosts productivity, increases economic diversification and income equality in addition to other positive development outcomes”.
Describing women as the future, she stated that studies have shown that companies with more women on their boards outperform those without them by a significant margin, and organisations with greater gender diversity globally grew to 32% in 2022.
According to her, women often excel at soft skills required for business leadership and they represent a significant economic force and provide valuable consumer insight that any nation needs to thrive.
She further highlighted the fact that Nigeria needs traits such as ability to connect, collaborate, empathize, communicate and be prudent which are inherent in women to make progress in key sectors including economy, politics and more.
She, however, lamented that despite the fact that women are in the majority in terms of population, the opportunities for them to show their skills and contribute meaningfully have been hampered by systemic bottlenecks.
She therefore advised that to fuel its fire of progress and revolutionize its economic, political and social structure, women must be given adequate representation in government and key sectors of the economy.
Also speaking, Tax expert and  management consultant, Mr Gbenga Badejo who spoke on “10 Top Financial Challenges for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises” noted that if women can overcome these challenges, they would be able build formidable businesses and play in the big league.
He gave the challenges as: limited or inconsistent cashflow, not using budgetary control mechanism, no preparation for unforeseen expenses, not raising enough capital, too much debt, neglecting necessary financial reporting and book keeping, , poor regulatory compliance, mixing business and personal finances, poor marketing tactics and poor managing of receivables and payables.
Earlier in her welcome address, Rotarian Omotunde Lawson, District Governor, Rotary International District 9110 noted that the conference, the first in the 41 -year history of the District, which covers Rotary Clubs in Lagos and Ogun States, was aimed at equipping women with the right support for personal and financial growth.
The conference was rounded off with a dinner and awards ceremony at the same venue where eminent women were honoured for their contributions to national development.

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Nigeria Fast Exceeding Borrowing Limit, Budget Office Warns




The Director General, Budget Office of the Federation, Mr. Ben Akabueze, has expressed concern that Nigeria is fast exceeding its limited borrowing space.

Akabueze stated this at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, during the induction of newly-elected lawmakers of the 10th National Assembly, on Wednesday.

He said: “While the size of the FG budget for 2023 created some excitement, the aggregate budgets of all governments in the country amount to about 30 trillion Naira. That is less than 15 percent in terms of ratio to GDP.

“Even on the African continent, the ratio of spending is about 20 percent. South Africa is about 30 percent, Morocco is about 40 percent and at 15 percent, that is too small for our needs.

“That is why there is a fierce competition for the limited resources. That can determine how much we can relatively borrow. We now have very limited borrowing space, not because our debt to GDP is high, but because our revenue is too small to sustain the size of our debt. That explains our high debt service ratio.

“Once a country’s debt service ratio exceeds 30 percent, that country is in trouble and we are pushing towards 100 percent and that tells you how much trouble we are in. We have limited space to borrow.

“When you take how much you can generate in terms of revenue and what you can reasonably borrow, that establishes the size of the budget. The next thing would be to pay attention to government priority regarding what project gets what.

“The budget is not a shopping list. In the end, the budget only contained expenditure,” he said.

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CBN Proposes Mopping Up Dormant Account Balances, Unclaimed Funds




The Central Bank of Nigeria has proposed that banks should transfer funds in accounts that have been dormant for up to 10 years into a trust fund account.

This is contained in the recently released exposure draft of guidelines on the Management of Dormant Accounts, Unclaimed Balances and Other Financial Assets in Banks and Other Financial Institutions In Nigeria.

A circular accompanying the exposure draft stated that the guideline was in response to requests from banks and other stakeholders for the CBN to clarify the procedures for the management of dormant and inactive accounts by banks in the country.

The circular, which was signed by the Director of Financial Policy and Regulation Department of the apex bank, Chibuzor Efobi, also called for inputs which should be sent within three weeks.

The draft states that banks and other financial institutions are expected to transfer all unclaimed funds into an Unclaimed Balances Trust Fund pool account, which will be domiciled at the CBN.

The apex bank said the balances would be invested in government securities like Treasury Bills and would be returned to the beneficiaries not later than ten days of notice.

CBN said, “The Central Bank of Nigeria shall open and maintain an account earmarked for the purpose of warehousing unclaimed balances in eligible accounts. The account shall be called ‘Unclaimed Balances Trust Fund Pool Account.”

The eligible accounts and financial assets are current, savings and term deposits in local currency; domiciliary accounts; deposits towards the purchase of shares and mutual investments; prepaid card accounts and wallets; proceeds of uncleared and unpresented financial instruments belonging to customers or non-customers of FIs; unclaimed salaries and wages, commissions, and bonuses.

Others include proceeds of stale local and/or foreign currency drafts not presented for payment by beneficiaries; funds received from a correspondent bank without sufficient details as to the rightful beneficiary and/or a recall of funds made to the remitting bank to which the Nigerian bank’s account has not been debited and a judgment debt for which the judgment creditor has not claimed the amount of judgment award.

The central bank said any bank or financial institution that contravenes any provision of the new guidelines would attract a penalty of not less than N2,000,000.

It added that failure to comply with CBN’s directive in respect of any infraction would attract a further penalty of N200,000 daily until the directive is complied with or as may be determined by CBN.

The CBN said the objectives of the guidelines are to “Identify dormant accounts/unclaimed balances and financial assets with a view to reuniting them with their beneficial owners; hold the funds in trust for the beneficial owners; standardise the management of dormant accounts/unclaimed balances and financial assets; and establish a standard procedure for reclaim of warehoused funds.”

The CBN also said that it would publish an annual list of the owners of the unclaimed balances that had been transferred to the pool account as well as the procedure for reclaim of warehoused funds.

In the signed Finance Act 2020, the Federal Government revealed plans to borrow unclaimed dividends and funds in dormant account balances of Deposit Money Banks. This was disclosed under Part XII of the Companies and Allied Matters Act in the Finance Act.

The move elicited reactions from stakeholders and a lawsuit from the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project in 2021.

The Punch

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