Writen by: Demola Akinyemi
Walking down the major streets of Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, particularly at night, in recent time quickly reminds one of Broad Street and Allen Avenue in Lagos, the renowned commercial capital city of Nigeria.
You simply cannot beat the glittering street lights and the cleanliness of the roads even at night! On the major streets the roads are not only clean but well constructed.
The most recent addition to these welcome spectacles is the bright street lights that overlay the first flyover bridge in Kwara constructed by the present administration at the post office area, the commercial nerve-centre of the state capital.
This emerging new look has been enhanced by flowers planted directly under the bridge within the round about, making the place a beauty to behold. And at the same time, there is no hiding place for undesirable elements as there are bright mercury lights to scare away night marauders who might want to lurk around to perpetrate crime.
The bridge, though not yet officially commissioned, has been completed and ordered to be opened for use by Governor Bukola Saraki to ease the usually protracted traffic congestion which the closure of the area has caused the motorists during the almost two years it was under construction.
The newly constructed flyover bridge is expected to ease the chaotic traffic brought about by the increase in commercial activities since the inception of the present administration.
Dr. Bukola Saraki declaring bridge open for use
Ground level view of the bridge
Vehicles passing by the bridge
A view from the bridge at dusk
Before now, there had been so much talk about the sustainability of these edifices and institutions by Governor Bukola Saraki at various functions, particularly after his exit from office.
But recent developments seem to confirm that the government is determined to ensure that these structures are well kept but maintained. But government is also telling those who care to listen that there are prices the residents have to pay for enjoying these facilities.
For instance, recently this reporter was settling down in the office, having returned from an assignment quite recently when my office assistant, Ibrahim Sanusi delivered a letter to me addressed to: “The Manager, Vanguard Newspaper, Ilorin office”.
The letter which was entitled, “Demand Notice for Business Premises Registration /Renewal’’ was signed by one Tajudeen Adigun on behalf of the Commissioner for Commerce and Cooperatives.
The content reads in part: “The Kwara State government has directed us to notify you of the business premises registration/renewal (BPR) for relevant years in accordance with PITA Act.No.21 of 1998.
You are expected to effect full payment of the amount due within 30 days from the date of receipt of this demand notice to the Kwara State government revenue account in any of the designated banks nearest to your office.
Payment made after the due date shall attract a penalty of 10 per cent monthly plus interest at prevailing bank interest rate’’.
…When a new ad regulator comes on stream
RECENTLY the state government at a press conference announced the establishment of Kwara State Signage and Advertisements Agency.
Hard times now await defaulters comprising business men and residents who might refuse to pay the coming prescribed fees for advertisement and sign boards, posters, flyers, among others, erected and pasted on the streets across the state.
The Kwara State government has threatened that a two-year jail term or a penalty of N50,000 will be imposed.
Commissioner for information and communications, Ben Duntoye, speaking at the press conference, said that government has appointed MOJAT Consult Nig. Ltd as the consultant to handle the project.
The agency, he said, is saddled with the responsibility of controlling, designing, streamlining and placement of all types of written, printed and pictorial advertisements, billboards, signboards, posters, streets advertisements, portrait boards and other outdoor advertisement structures.
Duntoye explained that signage and advertisement agencies are modern methods of coordinating, regulating and harmonizing all types of outdoor advertisement structures for streets beautifications, aesthetic landscaping and general serene environment.
The Commissioner noted that the activities of the agency will go a long way in complementing the clean and green urban sanitization programme of the state government in town and cities, stressing that it will also add to the beauty of some unique and strategic edifices like round abouts, bridges and fly overs.
“It is these activities and programmes of such agencies that make modern towns and cities look very attractive to visitors from far and near,’’added the Commissioner.
Duntoye also noted that the project will generate employment opportunities, increase in personal and company incomes as well as raise government revenue generation.
Explaining the term of reference of the agency, he said that the agency through its consultant is authorised to issue certificates and permits for the construction and placement of all such displayed advertisement structures.
He added that the agency is in charge and collect appropriate fees from all such displayed pictorial and advertisement structures on behalf of the state government.
He called on the private sector and general public to cooperate with the agency and its consultant in carrying out their functions to achieve the laudable aims and objectives of the state government.
The commissioner explained that the payment of the rates became imperatives to enable government perform its obligation of maintaining and sustaining the structures and edifices put in place among others.
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary of KWASSAA, Mr. AdewaIe Olatunji explained that the agency is set out to deliver an efficient system for controlling and regulating advertisement display and adding aesthetic value to the environment and attracting investors to the state.
In his goodwill message, the State Head of Service, Alhaji Dabarako Muhammad said the project will go a long way in providing employment opportunities to the people in the state.
Attorney general and commissioner for justice shedding more light on the development in an interview with journalists yesterday said the new bill is to check the indiscriminate ways and manner people deface the state capital, and in the process generate funds for the state.
According to him,’’This whole idea that a business man or whoever comes to kwara and think that this is a beautiful place to take advantage of and be pasting posters and errecting bill boards all over freely is over.
The governor will inaugurate the committee next week.It surely cost the present administration so much to take kwara to where it is today, and we will not sit by and watch it defaced.We are not saying people should not paste posters, but it should be properly regulated, in such a way that it would not disfigure the state.
There is no better time than now, if any politician paste poster without permission from the appropriate body, it is N50,000 fine or two years jail term’’he stressed.
It is hope that the residents and other stakeholders will not see this new trend as strange and odd but understand the feelings and appreciate the facts being explained by the state government and cooperate with the regulatory body.