By Tayo Joseph Lagos, Nigeria
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Thursday charged traditional rulers in the State to brace up and rise to their responsibilities and ensure that the menace of ritual killings and kidnappings happening within their communities is quickly stamped out of the State.
Governor Ambode, who spoke while commissioning the rehabilitated Fire Station in Itamarun, Epe, said he was deeply concerned about the spate of kidnappings and the recent cases of killings perpetrated by a faceless cult group, popularly known as Badoo, assuring that he would leave no stone unturned to rid the State of their activities.
Speaking specifically on the recent killings by the Badoo group, the Governor said there were intelligence reports that their activities had the backing of some persons, saying that it was the responsibility of the traditional rulers to speak up against such happenings within their vicinity, as members of the group were not spirit but human beings.
Governor Ambode said: “This is a good opportunity for me to say this, since the majority of our traditional rulers are here. We just want to pass a message to say that we need to come together and ensure that we speak to all our Baales in the communities that we are having issues and also in Ikorodu to say that we must speak to ourselves.
“We have intelligence here that some of these things are coming from within and our Kabiyesis and Obas need to do something as quickly as possible to arrest this decadence that we have here.
“As far as the Badoo case is concerned, I don’t believe that it has anything to do with a disappearing ghost. I don’t also believe that the rituals can be taking place, without some people not being behind it.
“So, I challenge all our Kabiyesis and all our traditional rulers and Baales, we must arrest this situation as quickly as possible and show that traditional value that we have always been known for and then we would continue to support you.”
Assuring that his administration was not relenting in its commitment to ensure the safety of lives and properties of all residents, the Governor said that there would be no stone left unturned towards ensuring that the nefarious activities of kidnappers and ritual killings have no place in the State.
Giving an update on the six abducted Igbonla Model College students, the Governor said that efforts have been stepped up to secure their release and reunite them with their families, assuring that government would spare nothing to ensure their safe return.
“We know that no amount of expenditure is enough to keep the city safe. I just want to assure Lagosians that we are doing everything possible.
We don’t run the government on the pages of the newspapers, and that’s why you see that we do not make comments on the newspapers, but we are trying as much as possible to make sure that we get these children back safely which is more important for us,” he said.
Besides, Governor Ambode said that the State Government would tighten security in all the water ways and continue to provide adequate support to security agencies towards ensuring that the State remains safe and secured for residents and investors.
He said the decision to rehabilitate the fire station was part of ongoing efforts by his administration to upgrade the firefighting capacity of the State Fire Service.
Governor Ambode said that in addition to providing modern equipment, the government would also establish more fire stations across the State especially in areas that are considered high risk due to population and level of industrial and commercial activities.
“We shall ensure synergy and effective coordination of efforts between the current 14 fire stations and other emergency responders for effective response to distress calls in any part of the State,” he said.
While commissioning the Jubilee Chalet in Epe, Governor Ambode said his administration thought it wise to expand the old Government VIP Chalet built by the Alhaji Lateef Jakande administration, in line with its objective to strategically reposition the town to take maximum advantage of the economic benefits from the huge investment activities in and around Lekki Free Trade Zone.
He said beyond the Jubilee Chalet, his administration was taking deliberate actions to promote tourism, leisure and recreation, including the construction and upgrading of road projects in Epe, adding that ongoing Epe Marina project will soon wear a new look.
“As we are changing the face of Epe, we are doing the same thing in Badagry in a twin-pronged approach to promote tourism in the State. The Government VIP Chalets in Badagry is currently being rehabilitated and will be commissioned early next year. Work is also going on at the Badagry Marina to prepare it for the investors and tourists that the Badagry Deep Sea port will attract ,” the Governor said.
Governor Ambode also said that aside enhancing the tourism potential of the Epe axis, the facility which would be managed professionally by a hospitality services company, would provide employment opportunities for different categories of individuals and companies, boost economic activities in the community as well as generate additional revenue into the State coffers.
“The Jubilee Chalet and Epe town are ready for you. This facility is not only for tourists but also for corporate institutions looking for a serene location for their retreats and all Nigerians looking for vacation spots within the country. l assure you all that this facility will deliver services that will surpass your expectations and someday be ranked amongst the best hospitality properties in Africa,” he said.
Speaking at the commissioning of ultra-modern Access Bank branch in Epe, Governor Ambode expressed optimism that the development would stimulate the socio-economic activities of the town and raise service standards, just as he charged other corporate bodies to take advantage of the new emerging economy being created in the Eastern axis of the State by his administration.