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S’Africa Police Nab Nigerians, Others For Offences

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Nigerians are among the 245 people arrested by the South African Police on Friday for alleged violation of several bye-laws, including loitering, littering and public indecency.

It was reported that police arrested many of the victims around their business premises near the Central Methodist Church (CMD).

Investigation indicated that the suspects were not given the chance to explain themselves as they were arrested even when they claimed to be innocent of the charges.

However many of those arrested immediately paid the stipulated R300 (about N6,000) fine for admission of guilt, while those who could not afford the fee would be arraigned before a Magistrate’s Court today.

Doctors Without Borders, an NGO, has, however, upbraided the police, pointing out that many Zimbabweans and other foreign nationals take refuge near the CMD.

It described the arrest as “a calculated blitz.’’

But Community Safety officer in the Gauteng Province, Mr. Khabisi Mosunkutu, said yesterday in Johannesburg that the police raid in the Johannesburg CMD Friday night was not aimed at foreign nationals.

“The operation did not affect and was not related to the foreign nationals that reside in the Central Methodist Church.

“For some time, there have been complaints of public disorder and criminal activity, particularly against businesses in the area,’’ Mosunkutu said.

He said South Africans were also among those arrested.

In another development, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Sen. Jubril Aminu, has described the attack on Nigerians living abroad as unfortunate.

Aminu said this yesterday while briefing newsmen at the 70th birthday ceremony of the mother of the Special Adviser to former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Political Matters, Chief Akin Osuntokun, at Okemesi-Ekiti State.

He said xenophobia against Nigerians should be condemned in its totality from other countries and urged authorities to do something about it.

“Xenophobia should be condemned by everybody, especially my fellow Nigerians. Nigerians are good people, with a government that is sympathetic and tolerant.

“As a matter of fact, Nigeria as a country has taken part in solving problems of most of these countries that are attacking Nigerians, even though they may be far from us.

“We have taken part in decolonisation, fought apartheid, participated in peace keeping and given economic assistance to these countries.

“I think it is up to us, through dialogue, to find out why those countries are attacking Nigerians and possibly find a way of solving the problem,’’ Aminu said.

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FOI Act Implementation Bothers BPST Boss

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The Director-General, Bureau of Public Service Reforms, Dr Dasuki Arabi, has expressed regrets that the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has remained very low since the law was enacted.
The BPSR boss made the observation during a workshop held on Wednesday in Abuja on the appraisal of Freedom of Information Act.
Arabi said the Act was meant to entrench transparency and openness in governance through improved compliance to annual reporting obligations of public institutions.
“It is also expected to guide and improve compliance of public institutions in proactive disclosure of mandatory publication requirements, as well as empower citizens, the right to access information held by the state.
“Regrettably, since the introduction of the FOI Act, it is evident that the level of compliance among public institutions still remains low.
“While the level of engagement by citizens still remains insignificant and in some cases fraught with misunderstanding between the State and Non-State actors,” he added.
Arabi, therefore, said that the workshop was to resolve some of the grey areas around FOI, as well as foster a harmonious relationship between the State and Non-State actors towards the implementation of the Act.
He said good governance and transparency would only thrive in the country when citizens access to Information is assured.
The DG emphasised that the FOIA provided platform for inclusiveness that sought to hold leaders to account and feed into the decision making process.
Arabi said that the Bureau had worked assiduously towards the implementation of the Act and was making efforts to ensure that it was institutionalized across the public sector.
He said that the interventions were in the areas of training public service workers and development of feedback mechanism through which a portal for application and responses for FOI request were deployed.
Others, he said, are score-card for ranking the performances of websites of public institutions using specific benchmarks, including FOI portal.
“Creating platforms for citizens engagement with Civil Societies Organizations on topical issues of government through the BPSR flagship programmes such as the monthly Lunchtime Seminar series,” he added.
Arabi said that the Bureau had also deployed information technology to provide innovative means to improve record keeping and management using intranet and Electronic Data Management Systems.
He continued that they were working in conjunction with the Nigeria Economic Summit Group to gauge the perception of citizens on public policies.
In her remarks, the National Coordinator, Open Government Partnership (OGP), Nigeria, Dr Gloria Ahmed, said making information open was a hallmark of democracy and a basic human right.
She said that the FOIA has given citizens the opportunity to access information as regards government policies and reforms.

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FCTA Harmonises Mobile Adverts, Haulage System Against Double Taxation

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The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), Department of Outdoor Advertisement and Signage (DOAS), has launched the FCT/State Mobile Advertisement and Haulage permits for 2023 financial year.
Permanent Secretary, FCTA, Mr Olusade Adesola, while launching the system sought the cooperation of the business owners in the FCT, in order to achieve the objective of the initiative.
Adesola said the move was part of efforts to facilitate the ease of doing business drive in the nation’s capital.
He commended DOAS for the initiative. aimed at improving institutional cooperation and partnerships with the critical stakeholders.
Adesola warned: “FCTA would no longer tolerate acts of thuggery in the collection of taxes, as there are better ways of doing such, which will ensure the attainment of ease of doing business.”
He commended the leadership of Area Councils for resolving to synergise with DOAS to streamline the system.
The Permanent Secretary said the proliferation of collection authorities for mobile advertisements had led to serious loss of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in the FCT.
Earlier, the Executive Chairman, Kwali Area Council, Danladi Chiya, said although Area Councils have the constitutional right to collect such advertisements, they have no issue with FCTA over the establishment and mandate of DOAS.

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LASG Begins Vehicle Parking Lanes Demacation

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The Lagos State Parking Authority (LASPA) has revealed it will today commence creating additional Vehicle Parking Lanes in some selected locations across the State.
The Authority stated that all efforts have been geared towards improving the parking system of the State.
Speaking on the planned initiative on Friday in Ikeja, the General Manager of LASPA, Mrs. Adebisi Adelabu, stated that the vehicle parking lane mark exercise, which will begin with designated streets within Surulere, Ikoyi, Lekki, Obalende, Ikeja and Victoria Island axis of the State, is a step towards improving street parking from 2023.
Adelabu noted that the Parking Lane Markings will further guide motorists and pedestrians on appropriate parking regulations and spaces, minimise indiscriminate parking, confusion and uncertainty, while conveying a range of information to residents on parking procedures within each specified environment.
According to her, the lane markings will also include special consideration for people living with disabilities and signposts for parking directives, among other features.
The General Manager, however, solicited the understanding of residents within the locations who might be affected by any inconvenience the process might cause, assuring that the government is working rigorously in regulating and improving the parking culture as part of its Traffic Management and Transportation Agenda to ensure parking is convenient, safe and secure across the state.
Recall that the Authority had recently unveiled plans to begin full implementation of parking policy in the second quarter of 2023 and has continued to sensitise the public on the need to embrace the parking culture.

By; Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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