ONDOCCIMA Pleads to Akeredolu to reverse takeover of Forest Reserve by Private Company
The Ondo State Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ONDOCCIMA) has called on the state government to immediately look into the forceful takeover of a government forest reserve by a private company and reverse whatever agreement it has with the said private company.
The chamber, rising from a meeting, held in Akure, the state capital, lamented the condition of the more than 10,000 farmers displaced by the forceful takeover of the forest.
According to a statement signed by the public relations officer of the chamber, Adeboro Onibalusi, the takeover of the forest has plunged the farmers, families and several thousands of other dependants into further misery following the worsening inflation rate in the state.
“The forceful and crude evictions of the farmers by fully armed soldiers who were supported by men of the Amotekun corps and the wanton destruction of cash crops worth millions of naira is condemnable,” the statement reads.
The statement read further, ” There is an urgent need for the government to take a look at the economic state of our dear state. The latest National Bureau of Statistics data on inflation across the country, which was released last Saturday. listed Ondo State among the three states with highest inflation rate in the country.
“This is very sad and challenging to our people. The poor farmers and civil servants have been further pushed into a life of misery by the inflation.”
“Findings have shown that the main reason for this killer inflation in Ondo State is as a result of capital flight encouraged by government policies and actions. For example, if you look closely you’ll find out that most, if not all the government jobs, particularly constructions going on across the state are executed by people from outside the state.
“These are majorly people who are not resident in the state. What happens is that whatever money that they make from Ondo State are taken back to where they come from. They only ccme into the State to make money and such money is not spent here, Rather they go back to spend the money where they live. This is one of the major reasons for the parlous state of the economy in Ondo State and we want to plead with the governor to kindly take immediate action to revert the troubling situation.”
On the much-anticipated removal of the susbsidy on petroleum, ONDOCIMMA said its members are in total support of the plan, describing it as long over due. It, however, urged government to be transparent and to make good use of the money that would be realised from the removal.
“Our position on the anticipated subsidy removal is that it is a welcome development and long overdue. But government should be transparent and make judicious use of the money realized after the subsidy must have been removed. Also, palliatives and incentives should be made available to citizens and business.organisations.”.
Oando, Lagos Begin Operation Of Electric Mass Transit Buses
Oando Clean Energy Limited, the renewable energy subsidiary of Oando, in partnership with the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority, on Tuesday, marked the formal commencement of operations of Oando’s electric mass transit buses at the Lagos Bus Services Limited Head Office, Ilupeju, Lagos.
A statement from Oando stated that the initiative aimed at transitioning the Lagos State public transport system through the development of a pathway to a carbon free mobility ecosystem within the state.
It stated that the buses would provide a viable, competitive, and environmentally friendly alternative to the current internal combustion engine mass transit buses.
The Managing Director, LAMATA, Abinbola Akinajo, highlighted the importance of public-private-partnerships, by stating that “this initiative is a major aspect of our vision for transportation in Lagos State, we are desirous of having a clean and efficient transportation system.
“Today’s event is proof of our desire to involve the private sector in our activities to give the average Lagosian the ability to meet their mobility needs. LAMATA is a multi-fuel transport regulatory agency for Lagos, hence the partnership with OCEL for the use of EV buses in passenger operations.
“From LAMATA’s perspective we are open to do business with the private sector while ensuring that these partners are aligned with the vision of Lagos state. I am elated that in just over a year that Oando Clean Energy came to us to discuss the possibility of working with us in the deployment of electric buses we have signed an MoU with a key deliverable being the implementation of a PoC that would allow us finally include electric buses in our ecosystem.”
On his part, the commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Lagos State, Engr Olalere Odusote , said “We had identified transportation as a major cause of pollutants and health problems in the State. For us, this initiative is another step we’re taking as a Government to ensure we clean up the environment in addition to ongoing initiatives in the energy sector.”
Speaking at the event, the president/CEO of OCEL, Dr. Ainojie ‘Alex’ Irune noted that it was an opportunity for Oando and Lagos State government to revolutionise transport in the country, especially Lagos.
“In the very near future, we will have a multitude of locally trained engineers who are capable of operating, maintaining, and servicing these buses and other renewable energy assets,” he added.
‘Our Electric Buses can travel up to 280km on a Full Battery Charge’- Oando Group tells Lagos Residents
‘Be the start of something that is good, revolutionary and powerful. Everything after that is a bonus!’
The OANDO group and its team of experts must have had the above quote by Carlos Wallace in mind when they embarked on the journey to revolutionise motoring in Nigeria and introduced the first set of fuel less vehicles into system.
Determined to be part of the revolution to end air pollution which ultimately has been made worse by the emission of toxic elements destroying our planet, the Oando Clean Energy Limited (OCEL) made history with its inroad into the transportation business in Lagos State.
The organisation, in April 2023 acquired and took delivery of an undisclosed number of electric vehicles from Chinese carmaker, Yutong Bus.
OCEL is the clean energy arm of Oando Plc, largely owned by Wale Tinubu. His company had earlier signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Lagos State Government through the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) on April 28, 2022.
Following the delivery of the vehicles to OCEL, curious Nigerians have been asking questions about the viability of electric vehicles in the country. Expectedly, this elicited a robust response from the company when it took to its twitter handle express its readiness to kick-start the novel project.
The company said: “Following our recent announcement about introducing electric mass transit buses in Lagos State, we noticed many questions about the viability of electric vehicles in our terrain, battery lifespan, and more. But don’t worry; we have got you covered!
“So, let us challenge ourselves to reach new heights, to discover new horizons, and to achieve greatness.
“For it is through our willingness to dream big and take bold action that we can create a better tomorrow for ourselves and those around us.
“Great ideas have the power to transform the impossible into the possible. They inspire us to see the world in a new light and to push beyond our boundaries.”
The company also took time to explain how the fuelless vehicles would be put to use in Nigeria. “Our electric buses can travel up to 280km on a full battery charge, which is equivalent to a round trip from Ajah to Ibadan!
“Additionally, the regenerative braking system helps the battery to last longer and reduces maintenance costs.”
Meanwhile, commenting on the acquisition and deal between the state and his firm, Wale Tinubu, who is the Chairman of OCEL, said: “The arrival of our electric mass transit buses and development of an EV infrastructure ecosystem is a reminder that the only way to remain ahead of the curve is by being unafraid to break new ground and consistently looking for opportunities to leapfrog.
“Public-Private Partnerships have been critical to getting the project to this point and will continue to fuel our expansion across the entire country.
“The commencement of this project gives us a platform to showcase to other States what is possible and open the door for engagements on bespoke solutions to suit their local needs as well as act as a model to be adopted by other organizations looking to venture into sustainable transportation.”
REA CEO Salihijo Denies Wrongdoing In Contract Award
The Director General and Chief Executive Officer of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Mr. Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad, has denied allegation that bothers on “breach of contract code”, raised by Donnington Nigeria Limited.
Salihijo, while responding to a petition to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) by the firm denied any wrong doing.
The allegation had claimed that the MD/CEO, was a Director in Velocity Logistics and Marine Services Ltd (Velocity) while equally serving as the MD/CEO of the Rural Electrification Agency.
In providing clarification on the issue, Salihijo, said, “It became necessary to respond to this claim as it is untrue and defamatory. For the sake of clarity, I want to emphasize that my employment history had been thoroughly vetted and approved by the appropriate authorities, upon my assumption to the role of MD/CEO at the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) on the 29th of December, 2019.”
Continuing, he said, “Prior to taking on this critical role at the Agency, I had been in the private sector and had equally relinquished my position as one of the Directors of Velocity as far back as 25th of April, 2019, long before I was appointed MD/CEO of the REA.”
These details, he affirmed, are accessible and available at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
In addition, he said, as an administrator committed to serve while upholding the mandate of the Agency, he acted with the highest ethical standards and has never engaged in any behavior conflict with the interest of my position as the MD/CEO of REA.
“I am in no way privy to any and all business dealings between Donnington Nigeria Limited and Velocity as I have had no connection whatsoever with Velocity since 25th of April, 2019. It is unfortunate that this publication was made and directed to harm my reputation, defame my character and that of the agency I lead.
“I hereby demand that, the publisher and the petitioner retract this unfounded allegation, publish a rejoinder to set the records straight, and desist from further defamatory publications.
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