Compensation calls reecho at 12th bomb blast memorial

By Tope Templer Olaiya, Assistant Lagos City Editor

At long last, victims of the January 27, 2002 bomb blast have not died in vain, particularly for the hundreds that drowned at the Oke-Afa canal while trying to escape the thunderous sounds of explosive device that horrific Sunday.

   First, they got a befitting well-managed cenotaph built at the mass burial site, then the street adjoining the canal was renamed January 27.

   Every year since the catastrophic disaster, markets around the Jakande/Oke-Afa axis are shut on January 27, while families of victims congregate to pray for the repose of the souls of their lost ones.

   During the 10th anniversary in 2012, Lagos State government responded to calls for compensation and handed cheques of N250,000 each to 70 surviving victims.

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Kudirat Adenekan Street, Oke-Afa, Ejigbo… road leading to the newly constructed January 27 Bridge, linking Ejigbo to Ajao Estate.

Also, a healthcare centre built by Ejigbo Local Council Development Area (LCDA), which initially bore the name of the governor, Babatunde Fashola, was renamed January 27 Health Centre when the governor commissioned the facility for use.  

   The ceiling came at the 12th memorial on Monday when a much-needed link bridge connecting Ejigbo to Ajao Estate was named January 27. It was a fitting acknowledgement of the sacrifices of those who perished at the spot, as it would keep their memories in perpetuity.

   Monday’s commissioning of the January 27 two bridges and four roads, however, did not put an end to clamour for compensation by some of the victim’s relatives.

   Nurudeen Oyegbemi, who led the Ikeja bomb blast victims to the venue of the commissioning, said the state government left out 84 people when it handed out cheques during the 10th memorial.

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Some relatives of the bomb blast victims awaiting the arrival of Governor Fashola to stage a protest over compensation issues

   “The state government has the full list of victims numbering 154, which was published in the national dailies when the incident happened. We did not just assemble ourselves to defraud government. It would be unfair to leave out 84 of us. What the governor has done is heart warming, but the exercise should be completed,” he said.

   Oyegbemi took a swipe at the Federal Government for abandoning their responsibility to families of victims 12 years after. “It’s sad that the Federal Government, who should take all responsibility for the disaster, has abandoned us to our fate.

   “In 2003, they set up a committee, headed by then Secretary to the Federal Government, Chief Ufot Ekatte, to look into our matter. We were attended to at the former House of Assembly complex at Race Course, Onikan. Since then, we have not heard from them. Several letters have been written to concerned ministries in Abuja with no response.”

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Embattled traditional ruler of Ejigbo, the Ojon of Ejigbo, Oba Moruf Ojoola (left), making his first public appearance since the story of the three women tortured for stealing pepper at Ejigbo Central Market broke. With him is the Osolo of Isolo, Oba Kabiru Agbabiaka at the commissioning of the January 27 Bridge

In his address at the commissioning to traditional rulers, community leaders, politicians, party stalwarts, residents and corporate citizens, which included the Ojon of Ejigbo, Oba Moruf Ojoola; Osolo of Isolo, Oba Kabiru Agbabiaka; and managing director of Chi Limited, Roy Deepanjan, Fashola said he was willing to bring closure to the issue of compensation for victims’ families.

   “I still hear that there are issues of compensation. As willing as we have been to pay compensation to survivals of victims, there is no amount of compensation we pay that can bring back the lives we have lost. You must assist us in a way that helps us to verify who the real beneficiaries of compensation are and we cannot have compensation every anniversary.

   “I am ready to pay compensation to anybody we may have missed out, but you must give us a very clear basis for verification so we can put a closure to it.”

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Governor Fashola giving his address before the commissioning

The governor berated the Federal Government for failing in its duties and causing the avoidable death 12 years ago. “It was because a national government led by the PDP failed to do its duties. It was their responsibility to manage bombs and the military.

   “Since then, they have pretended as if nothing was wrong. But the Lagos State government responded by rebuilding the schools and hospital damaged in Ikeja cantonment. That is not our responsibility but the people who suffer and live in this community are our responsibility.

   “In the same vein, my predecessor promised that a bridge would be built to link the two communities; I have come here to fulfill that promise. We not only now have a bridge; we have two bridges and four roads.

   “The reason you have two bridges is because there were houses on the alignment and instead of demolishing the houses to build one bridge, we decided to redesign the project to preserve your properties. It cost a little more but it shows the character of our government that unless there is no other way, we will not touch your houses.”

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Mass burial site… Final resting place of the bomb blast victims

Fashola used the occasion to address the issue of lingering Iyana Ejigbo road repair. “Our contractors are on that road. The problem, which the Commissioner of Works has briefed me, is finding a major drainage solution that if we do not solve and we attempt to do the road, it would not last. Be patient with us,” he pleaded.

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15 years on the throne, Ojoola seeks more development for Ejigbo

By Tope Templer Olaiya, Assistant Lagos City Editor

Ojon of Ejigbo, Oba Moruf Adekunle Ojoola

Ojon of Ejigbo, Oba Moruf Adekunle Ojoola

At Ifoshi road, housing the palace of the Ojon of Ejigbo, Oba Moruf Adekunle Ojoola, July 6 was not an ordinary day. The day started and ended as an Owambe special for friends, associates and subjects of the traditional ruler, who rolled out the drums for the 15th anniversary of his ascension to the throne.
Surrounded by traditional rulers, chiefs, community leaders and high-ranking officials of Ejigbo Local Council Development Area (LCDA) led by the Chairman, Kehinde Bamigbetan, Ojoola excitedly reminisced on the journey of the last 15 years.
According to him, a lot of developments have occurred in Ejigbo during his reign to be thankful for. “There is nothing in life without its good and bad side. But in our case the good has overshadowed the bad. This gladdens our heart because God has been by our side. There is nobody on this earth that will be liked by everybody. Whoever is liked by the world is already a dead man.
“During the last 14 years, a lot has taken place. There was no bank before my ascension, but today, we have over 20 banks in Ejigbo. It was during this period we were given an LCDA. We now have a customary court and several police stations, unlike the single police post that served the whole of Ejigbo before. The only major road we had was the Isolo-Ikotun road, but construction is ongoing at Ejigbo-Ajao link bridge and at Idimu road,” he said.
Ojo

While appreciating the support received from former chief executives of the state, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (Rtd) and Ashiwaju Bola Tinubu, he called on the incumbent, Babatunde Fashola, to bring more developmental projects to his domain.
“Tinubu is our own and he is ours, as confirmed by the recent chieftaincy title of Aare Ago (Field Marshall of Supreme Eminence) conferred on him and his wife by the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo.
“Fashola is trying. No matter people’s expectations, government is a continuum, no single person can finish it and you cannot satisfy everybody; but our elected representatives should strive to do their best for the people.
“Ejigbo needs government’s urgent intervention in many areas. We have for long been marginalized and it is high time we are compensated for the long years of neglect, especially with good roads that will stand the test of time. And for the local government, any road project must be given to quality engineers. They should not be in a rush to do so many roads that won’t last. The next administration will continue from where they stop.”
Canvassing support for President Jonathan, Ojoola urged Nigerians to be patient with him as he is human battling challenges on many fronts. “We voted for Jonathan to experience change, because we all saw ourselves in him, as a young man with a past we could associate with and who understands where we are coming from, but we have not seen the transformation. He, however, needs our support to actualize the change he promised.”
The monarch’s advice for residents is for them to abide by the rules of the land. “It is all for our own good. Even if we have to disagree, we can protest responsibly. And for government, when they want to make new laws, we should be consulted so we can add our inputs. Not the usual style of inviting us to a stakeholders’ meeting after the decision has been reached.
For instance, the okada law is good. There is no family that does not have a member who has been a victim of okada accident or robbery. It is, however, a good means of employment. What it requires is to work within the ambit of the law, like using helmet, not carrying more than one passenger and not plying restricted routes. Not everybody would go to school and acquire MSC, PhDs to live conveniently.”

Ojoola (left) and other Lagos Obas at his coronation anniversary

Ojoola (left) and other Lagos Obas at his coronation anniversary

Chief Akinwande Aguda, the Agba Akin of Ejigbo, described Ojoola as a detribalised Nigerian, who has the interest of the community at heart. “Anybody can say a lot of things about him, but it is only when you move close to him that you will discover he is truly humane. I am from Abeokuta, yet he made me a high-ranking chief.
“My relationship with him predates his ascension to the throne. I live around the pipeline area and he made me the head of the monitoring team for the NNPC pipeline from Ejigbo to Idimu to ensure it is not vandalised. Since I have been given the task, there has never been any incidence of such.”
Vice Chairman of Ejigbo LCDA, Monsuru Bello, also used the occasion to call for more state projects in the council area. He said Ejigbo has suffered over 50 years of continuous marginalisation, especially when it was under Oshodi-Isolo local government administration.
“This is the reason why any incumbent must work extra hard to fill the gap. If you are coming from Isolo or Okota, immediately you climb the bridge at Oke-Afa, your perception changes. It is not because we are sleeping; rather our efforts are little drops in an area that never got government’s attention or intervention until recently. More so, our people’s expectations are expectedly high and the resources at our disposal are not enough to do the job.”
Taiwo Adebayo, Special Adviser to the chairman on Chieftaincy, Boundary and Cultural Affairs, said the monarchy structure is so effective in Ejigbo. “The oba’s relationship with the council is cordial. On several occasions, he has had to send his chiefs to reach out to the people on the importance of paying their taxes, making them know that paying tax is their obligation to the government.”

An Owanbe special for Olu of Mushin at 35th coronation anniversary, clocks 75

By TOPE TEMPLER OLAIYA, Assistant Lagos City Editor

Olu of Mushin, Oba Fatai Ayinla Aileru II

Olu of Mushin, Oba Fatai Ayinla Aileru II

The grounds of Archbishop Aggey Memorial Secondary School, Ilasamaja, Mushin, was last Saturday trampled by monarchs, politicians and dignitaries, who had gathered to celebrate the Olu of Mushin, Oba Fatai Ayinla Aileru II as his subjects rolled out the drums to mark his 75th birthday and 35th coronation anniversary.
Long before the arrival of the celebrant and his high-ranking guests, the area leading to the school and its premises appeared to be under a State of Emergency, as stern-looking anti-riot policemen and patrol vans laid siege on every square metres of the school, with three Black Marias stationed at the gate to take care of trouble makers.
Soon, some civilian activities commenced and the only criterion for entry into the fortified school premises was the brown Ankara Aso Ebi of the celebration. Not long after, a big van carrying instruments of foremost fuji musician, King Wasiu Ayinde Marshal, popularly known as K1 De Ultimate arrived to set up stage for the band.

The Olu flanked by his Oloris

The Olu flanked by his Oloris

All residents of the area and passersby could do was stay away from the scene of action and stare ahead as early callers began arriving for the Owambe party. And they had to wait for several hours in the scorching sun, as dignitaries did not start arriving until 1pm.
The roll call was impressive as commissioners, legislators, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) chieftains, obas of near and faraway kingdoms and celebrities drove into the school to be ushered into their reserved seats by skimpily dressed delectable ladies.
Eventually, the celebrant arrived in a motorcade serenaded by his Oloris and palace chiefs and decked in his full regalia. The party got underway and more VIPs arrived in intimidating SUVs and luxurious cars.
Not a man of many words, he spent few minutes listing his achievements on the throne in the last 35 years and didn’t fail to bring to the notice of his audience the myriad of problems facing the community. One of which is the recurring violent clash between cult groups and warring factions that has defined Mushin in recent years.

King Wasiu Ayinde Marshal, K1 De Ultimate on stage with his band

King Wasiu Ayinde Marshal, K1 De Ultimate on stage with his band

As a royal father that he is, he proffers some suggestions to this dilemma: “It is our special request that relevant authorities should see to the removal of abandoned vehicles along the road, which is not only impeding the free flow of traffic, but is usually an hideout for criminals.
“The Federal Government must also improve on the welfare of our policemen and equip our security force with gadgets and training to boost their morale. With all these, it will be easy for the police to have the courage to combat crime and violence and nip it in the bud.”
He, however, bemoaned the spate of kidnapping in the state, which came to a head recently with the abduction of the chairman of Ejigbo LCDA, Kehinde Bamigbetan. According to him, it is worrisome and security operatives must redouble their efforts to arrest the situation in the cosmopolitan state of Lagos.
“Now is the time for government to address the problem of youth employment. There is need to encourage our children to aspire greater unemployment. There is need to encourage our children to aspire to attain greater heights in the future and I am committing myself to this with the sponsorship of all Mushin indigenes studying sciences in any Nigerian university.”

Olu surrounded by other traditional rulers in Lagos, with the Ojon of Ejigbo, Oba Moruf Ojoola on the right

Olu surrounded by other traditional rulers in Lagos, with the Ojon of Ejigbo, Oba Moruf Ojoola on the right


Alagodo of Agodo, Oba Mudashiru Odejobi at the event with his Olori

Alagodo of Agodo, Oba Mudashiru Odejobi at the event with his Olori

Oba Aileru is born into the family of Oba Jimoh Gbadamosi Aileru and Olori Elizabeth Alake on 11 March 1938. He is the first child of his parents. Having started his primary school career at the Christian Public School, Mushin, he proceeded to the Metropolitan College, Surulere, for his secondary school education.
On completion, Fatai joined Pan African Metals (NIG) limited, Ikorodu Road, Yaba where he worked as a cashier. As a result of his interest in public service, he joined the Mushin District Council, created in 1955, which later became Mushin Local Government in 1964. In 1977, while still with the council, he was called upon to take the place of his forefathers as the next in line to the throne of Mushinland.

Olu of Mushin, his wives and children cutting the birthday cake

Olu of Mushin, his wives and children cutting the birthday cake


Donations were raised for a palace endowment fund for the completion of a befitting home for the Olu of Mushin as a Grade A monarch in Lagos, which is presently situated inside the Ojuwoye market.