Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HOCSF) Prof. Oladapo Afolabi, said on Thursday in Abuja that the level of development of any nation was a reflection of the performance or non-performance of its public service.
Afolabi made the remark at a sensitisation forum on “The National Strategy for Public Service Reforms (NSPSR) for States’ Heads of Service organised by the Bureau of Public Service Reforms.
“ You are aware; government has made and continues to make policy decisions to improve governance at all levels.
“However, the success of these measures will depend essentially on the public service as government cannot achieve its developmental objectives without a high performing public service.
“It is a truism that societies will fail if their governments are ineffective, just as governments are prone to failure if their public service is ineffective.
“It is, therefore, our duty to take all such measures that are necessary to make our public service an important contributor in the political, economic and social advancement of our nation.’’
Afolabi said that it was in recognition of this fact that his office took steps to ensure that only cost-effective reform programmes were initiated and implemented in its drive to transform the Nigerian public service.
He explained that it was in that regard that the office of the HOCSF partnered with the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) in 2008 to develop the NSPSR.
“The NSPSR provides a common vision and long-term agenda to guide the re-building and transformation of the Nigerian public service into a world class standard by the year 2020.
“The strategy document framework is derived from the Vision-20:2020, the NEEDS-2 document and the seven-point agenda of government.
“Today’s forum is primarily aimed at acquainting the states’ Heads of Service on the contents of the NSPSR,’’ he added.
Earlier, Mr Dauda Kigbu, Permanent Secretary of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms, said that it was important for top government functionaries at the federal and state levels to meet and exchange ideas.
He added that it was also important to share experiences on partnership and collaborations, which were needed for sustainable development.
Kigbu said that the forum would create a common platform for the effective discussion of the essential elements of the strategy document, particularly its strategic priorities.
“We expect that at the end of the forum, there will be a common understanding of the philosophy, significance and rationale behind the NSPSR.
Our source reports that participants from more than 25 states of the federation are attending the workshop.
He said that in a short while, the result will be obvious with respect to extortion from motorists, because the command will soon descend heavily on those officers that man the roads.
The commissioner described the PCRS as a veritable body for police and community partnership towards solving problems relating to safety of the community, adding that security is every body’s problem, and that there is a lot of benefits for partnering with the community for effective information and proper policing.
Earlier in his speech, the chairman of the PCRC Rivers State, Austin E. Young, said one major problem his administration has discovered and is tackling in the last one year of coming on board was the issue of distrust among officers and PCRC members, but noted that the police alone can not do the work effectively with out partnership with the community.
The Chairman also said that the Month of March 2011 will be declared or campaign for free, fair and violent-free election, and urged leaders to ensure safety in their communities.
Traders Protest FG’s Move To Restore Festac Town
The move by the Federal Government to restore Festac Town in Lagos to its original status has sparked up protest among traders occupying Agboju Amuwo Planks and Building Materials Market.
The traders on Wednesday, protested at the FHA office in Festac Town against the demolition of their market, following the demolition of illegal structures by the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) ahead of the restoration.
The Tide recalls that there was a petition to the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, in 2020 about illegal structures that had taken over Festac Town.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting on the restoration of Festac town organised by FHA, last year, its South-West Zonal Manager, Mr Akintola Olagbemiro, said, “This year, we commenced the restoration of Festac town, following the consent judgement from the court against illegal occupants of Festac land.
“Our action is to save the residents from the insecurity that has taken over the entire Festac town as a result of illegal structures everywhere”.
The chairman of allottees of First Gate to Third Gate, Mr Kole Olatunji, in his remarks at the meeting said the land from First Gate to Third Gate was allocated between 1985 and 1999, noting that with the consent judgment, original owners of the land as allocated should take over their plots.
But the chairman of plank market, Muhammed Bello, protested the seven-day notice given to traders to vacate the place without alternative arrangements.
Bello said: “How do they expect us to remove our wares in seven days?
“What we want is that they should allow us to remain there and we will pay whatever amount they ask us to pay”.
Speaking in the same vein, the chairman of Cane Chair and Furniture Association, Emmanuel Okoye said: “We need freedom. Let them tell us where they want us to stay. That place was swampy. We filled the place with several millions of Naira which we got as loans.
“We also rely on loans to do our business. Whatever the government wants us to pay; we are ready to pay to remain there. We have been there for 27 years. What we lost to the demolition is over N300 million”.
Fuel Tanker Explosion Kills Five, Injures Two In Ogun
No fewer than five persons were on Wednesday burnt to death, while two others sustained first degree of injury in a fuel tanker explosion at Ajilete, along Owode-Idiroko road, in Yewa South local government area of Ogun State.
Eyewitness accounts revealed that a truck bearing 33,000 litres of petroleum product was descending the steep portion of the road when its tank suddenly detached from truck’s body and tumbled to the ground with a bang.
The explosion, the witnesses said, killed five persons on the spot, while two other persons were injured.
The Tide learnt that the seven victims were all residents of the area where the accident occurred.
Confirming the incident, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Commander, Idiroko Unit, Akinwunmi Olaluwoye, said five deaths were recorded in the accident which occurred at about 8.15 am on Wednesday.
According to him, the remains of the dead had been claimed by their families.
He disclosed that a bus and a motorcycle were also caught in a web of the explosion and razed.
He said, “no vehicle rammed into the tanker. The tank dropped off from the back of the tanker and exploded. The number of persons involved are seven; five dead, two injured.
“The driver had taken away the head of the truck as at the time we got there. But we have allowed the police to take charge and handle that aspect”.
Travellers To Access $4,000 As CBN Boosts Forex Supplies
Nigerians travelling abroad can now access a maximum amount of $4,000 foreign exchange from banks following the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) announcement to increase forex supplies.
The CBN had said in a recent statement that it had concluded plans to increase the amount of foreign exchange allocated to banks to meet legitimate needs.
This followed the warning by the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, to Deposit Money Banks to desist from denying customers the opportunity to purchase foreign exchange.
The purposes to access forex included Personal Travel Allowance, Basic Travel Allowance, tuition fees, and medical payments as well as Small and Medium Enterprises transactions or for the repatriation of Foreign Direct Investment proceeds, the CBN had stated.
Sources from some of the banks said those travelling on business trips could also access a maximum amount of $5,000 for each trip.
At a virtual Bankers’ Committee meeting last week, the bankers discussed how the CBN intended to assist with forex to ensure availability for the upcoming summer period and the return of students to school in September.
The CBN also said the BDCs would continue to have their weekly allocations.
The committee observed that the rates were going up.
It stated, “The CBN has said that all the banks must make availability at all times and anyone who wants to buy BTA, PTA, medical fees, student school fees and all the eligible invisible purchases to ensure that Nigerians are not forced to go and queue in the parallel market.
“So what the Central Bank is doing is to encourage all banks to make sure that there is available forex at all times, and that his information should be communicated on all our platforms.
“We are asking our customers to come to the branches and for BTA, for example, present the required documents, which are basically your international passport, your visa, your valid ticket and fill up the form in the bank.
“And what we have been instructed to do is ensure that we don’t turn anybody back and that we should request from the Central Bank once we exhaust the forex that we have.
“The idea is to have a hitch-free summer period and the resumption for children to go back to school. The idea is to ensure there is less pressure on the forex and then the rates will come down”.
Speaking during the virtual meeting, the Group Managing Director, Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, said, “I think again as part of the Central Bank’s role in terms of price stability and the need to support small and medium enterprises, there was highlight of the need for banks to go and support SMEs who import small raw materials for them to set up their businesses”.
The Managing Director, Ecobank, Patrick Akinwuntan, said, “All banks are available to ensure forex need is met.”
Managing Director, Sterling Bank, Abubakar Suleiman, said the CBN had provided sufficient foreign exchange to meet the needs of all legitimate Nigerian travellers and therefore, the idea of going to any other market should not arise at all.
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