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Court Orders Lagos Speaker, Obasa, Assembly, Others To Appear Over Ex-Governor’s Probe

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  • As Ambode Accuses House Of Bias, Misrepresentation Of Facts
  • Seeks Restraint From Summons

A Lagos High Court in Ikeja on Tuesday ordered the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa to appear before it in connection with the ongoing probe of procurement of 820 buses by the administration of former Governor of the State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode.

The former Governor had instituted a suit against the Assembly to contest the constitutionality of the probe of the buses which were procured based on budgetary approval as part of the Bus Reform Project of the State Government designed to revolutionize public transportation in line with global best practices.

In an order dated 29th October, 2019 issued by Justice Y.A Adesanya after hearing a motion ex-parte moved by Ambode’s lawyer, Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), other defendants ordered to appear before the court at my 9am on Wednesday October 30 are House Clerk, Mr A.A Sanni; Chairman of the Ad hoc Committee set up by the House to probe the procurement, Fatai Mojeed and members of the Committee. They are Gbolahan Yishawu, A.A Yusuff, Yinka Ogundimu, Mojisola Lasbat Meranda, M.L Makinde, Kehinde Joseph, T.A Adewale and O.S Afinni.

Justice Adesanya ordered the originating processes and all the accompanying processes filed by the claimant (Ambode) to be served on the defendants and subsequently fixed Wednesday October 30, 2019 for hearing of motion for interlocutory injunction.

According to his statement of claim before the court, Ambode said contrary to deliberate misrepresentation of facts by the lawmakers, the procurement of the 820 buses was well captured in the 2018 Appropriation Law which was duly approved by the House.

“In section 1 of the Bill, the 1st Defendant (House of Assembly) authorized the total Budget for the year 2018 to be One Trillion, Forty Six Billion, One Hundred and Twenty One Million, One Hundred and Eighty-One Thousand, Six Hundred and Eighty Naira (N1,046,121,181,680.00) comprising the sum of Three Hundred and Forty Seven Billion, Thirty-Eighty Million, Nine Hundred and Thirty-Eight Thousand, Eight-Hundred and Seventy-Two Naira (N347,038,938,872.00) only and Six Hundred and Ninety-Nine Billion, Eighty-Two Million, Two Hundred and Forty-Two Thousand, Eight Hundred and Eighty Naira (N699,082,242,808.00) only as the Recurrent and Capital Expenditures respectively.

“Part of the items authorized by the Bill under Capital Expenditure was: “LAGBUS Public Transport Infrastructure (MEPB); Part financing of 820 buses” which was item 8 under schedule 1- Part C of the Bill,” the former Governor averred.

He added that having prescribed the manner of withdrawal of funds in sections 3 and 4 of the 2018 Appropriation Law, it was unconstitutional for the House to attach another condition in section 9 of the law for further approval to be sought before incurring any expenditure on the purchase of the buses.

Highlighting the specific breach of his constitutional rights to fair hearing by the House, the former Governor said on August 27, 2019 during proceedings of the Assembly, some lawmakers thoroughly vilified and disparaged him as having purchased the buses without budgetary approval and that the procurement was a waste of public funds, while at the end of the proceedings, the House resolved to constitute an Ad Hoc Committee to probe the procurement.

He said it was surprising that the very lawmakers who contributed actively in vilifying, disparaging and denigrating him constituted the bulk of the members of the Committee, which was a clear derogation of his right to fair hearing.

Ambode added that in continuation of deliberate misrepresentation of facts of the issue, the House falsely claimed that an invitation had been extended to him to appear before the Committee but that he failed to honour the said invitation.

“On Thursday 10th October, 2019, the 4th and 5th Defendants (Mojeed and Yishawu) who are Chairman and member of the Committee respectively set up by the 1st Defendant pursuant to the provisions of section 129 of the Constitution again raised on the floor of the House an allegation that the Claimant (Ambode) was invited to appear before the Committee but that he failed to do so whereupon the 2nd Defendant (Speaker) ruled that a warrant of arrest would be issued against the Claimant if he refuses to appear before the Committee.

“The Claimant states that no letter of invitation was delivered to him before the 4th and 5th Defendants made the false allegation against the Claimant which was widely reported by various national Newspapers in the country.

“Further to the foregoing paragraphs, the 1st Defendant had also invited some of the former Commissioners who served under my Government to appear before the 1st Defendant on Tuesday 15th October 2019. These included former Commissioners for Energy, Agriculture and Economic Planning and Budget respectively amongst others.

“After the proceedings of the Committee on 15th October 2019, the 1st Defendant represented to the public that the former Commissioners that appeared before it had indicted me in their testimonies. The information was widely published by National newspapers on Wednesday 16th October 2019.

“Contrary to the information made to the public by the 1st Defendant, the said former Commissioners for Energy and Economic Planning and Budget who were represented by the 1st Defendant to have indicted me, made public statements on Thursday 17th October 2019 denying that they ever indicted me in their testimonies before the Committee. The denials were widely published by online newspapers on Thursday 17th October 2019 and national newspapers on Friday 18th October 2019.

“The 1st Defendant falsely represented to the public that the said Commissioners indicted me in their testimonies before the Committee so as to justify my indictment by the 1st Defendant which indictment members of the 1st Defendant had hitherto threatened to carry out,” Ambode averred.

He added that the House Committee and indeed the entire members of the House had already adjudged him as having committed wastage of public fund by the procurement of the buses in question and had also already determined that the procurement was done by him as opposed to the State Government.

He said it was obvious that the lawmakers were totally biased against him having regard to their pronouncements on the floor of the House by reason of which he believes that his right to fair hearing as guaranteed by the Constitution had been seriously compromised by the defendants.

He is, therefore, seeking among others, the court’s declaration that the power of the House to pass a resolution under section 128(1) of the Constitution to cause an inquiry into his conduct as Governor is subject to right to fair hearing as guaranteed by section 36(1) of the Constitution.

He also wants a declaration that the Resolution of the House setting up a 9-Man Committee comprising of the 4th-12th Defendants to investigate all transactions in respect of the 820 Buses said by the defendants to have been procured by him derogates from his right as guaranteed by section 36(1) of the Constitution and therefore is unconstitutional, null and void.

Other claims are: “A DECLARATION that having regard to the provisions of sections 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the Appropriation Law of Lagos State 2018, sections 8 and 9 of the Law which required the approval of the House of Assembly of Lagos State before certain expenditure of money is incurred by the Executive Branch of the State is not in accord with any provision of the Constitution and accordingly is unconstitutional, null and void.

“A DECLARATION that it is not lawful for the Defendants to represent or continue to represent to the Public that the Claimant, AKINWUNMI AMBODE, procured 820 buses in breach of budgetary approval.

“A DECLARATION that the powers of the 1st Defendant under sections 103, 128 and 129 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended does not include power to indict the Claimant as contemplated by sections 66(1)(h), 137(1)i and 182(1)i of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended.

“AN INJUNCTION restraining the Defendants whether by themselves, their servants, agents and or representatives from compelling the Claimant, in any manner whatsoever, to appear before the Defendants pursuant to the Resolution passed by the Defendants on 27th August 2019 or any other Resolution passed in respect of the subject matter of this Suit.

“AN INJUNCTION restraining the Defendants whether by themselves, their servants, agents and or representatives from representing or continue to represent to the Public that the Claimant, AKINWUNMI AMBODE, procured 820 buses in breach of budgetary approval.”

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Lagos Matters

Imota rice mill to produce 650 bags of rice per hour – LASG

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The Lagos State government has said that the Imota rice mill, when completed, will produce 650 bags of 50kg rice per hour.

The Special Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya, said this while on a tour the site of the mill, to assess the progress of work.

Olusanya, in a statement issued on Thursday in Lagos, expressed satisfaction with the progress of work at the 32 metric-tonnes-per-hour capacity rice mill.

She said that when completed, the mill would be the world’s fourth largest and the biggest in Africa.

The special adviser said that agriculture and food security were important components of the T.H.E.M.E.S Development Agenda of the state government for making Lagos a 21st-century economy.

She expressed government’s commitment to completing the mill, in order to meet the rice demand of the state and indeed, the nation.

”The mill is situated on a landmass of 8.5 hectares of land and each of the two production lines has a capacity of 16 metric tonnes and will produce 650 bags of 50kg rice per hour,” Olusanya said.

She added that the mill was designed, constructed and its equipment installed by local contractors, which underscored the state government’s confidence in the capacity of indigenous engineers.

The governor’s aide said that over 250,000 direct and indirect jobs would be created from the mill when completed, while increased economic activity was also expected at Imota, Ikorodu and the state in general.

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Lagos Matters

Governor Sanwo-Olu presents N1.168 trillion budget for 2020

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Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Friday, November 8th presented a budget of N1.168 trillion to the Lagos State House of Assembly for approval for the 2020 fiscal year.    

The proposed budget is to be funded by a projected Total Revenue of N1.071 trillion and a deficit amounting to N97.53 billion. The budget size is higher than the 2019 budget by 34%. Capital Expenditure amounts to N723.75 billion while the Recurrent Expenditure is N444.81 billion, giving a 62:38 capital to recurrent ratio.

According to Sanwo-Olu, “This, in our view, is strong for development. We have placed an increased focus on wealth creation where we will take deliberate steps in courting a partnership between our people and various development institutions.  

“In line with this, we have provided N11.8bn as counterpart funds in preparation for various social impact schemes. In addition, we have made provisions for N7.1bn this year, to provide for industrial hubs, parks, graduate internship programs and virtual markets for artisans. This is in support for Micro, Small and Medium enterprises which are the engines for both economic and employment growth.  

“It is equally proposed that a total of N167.81 billion of the Recurrent Expenditure shall be applied towards personnel costs and other staff-related expenses. This represents 22.02% of the proposed Total Revenue, which is within the acceptable wage policy of 25% of Total Revenue, and includes a provision for the new minimum wage.  

“The budget deficit of N97.53 billion will be financed by both internal and external loans. Since revenue generation is the spine of any budget, this budget supports investment in our revenue generating agencies. This budget seeks to aggressively invest in and develop our education, health and other physical infrastructure sectors. Although our capital spent on works and infrastructure was just N31 billion as at September 2019, as against the 2019 budget proposal of N78 billion, it is our intention to spend N115 billion in 2020,” he said.

The governor said Education would see a significantly increased capital budgetary allocation of N48 billion, an increase of 60% over the 2019 provision of N30 billion, adding that “we must improve the standard and relevance of our education outcomes to our industries. We will work together with our Local governments to strengthen early child education and teachers training/administration, leveraging technology.

“Similarly, in healthcare, we have provided for a capital expenditure of N33 billion, compared to the 2019 budget proposal of N21 billion. We will ensure that our primary health care institutions remain active and attractive to the primary health care needs of our people. Lagos belongs to us all; we will continue therefore to drive partnerships with the private sector in promoting health services within our institutions.  

“Given the perennial challenges of flooding in the metropolis, we have tripled the capital budget provision to tackle this from N3 billion in 2019 to N9 billion in 2020,” he added.

Sanwo-Olu stated that wider consultation was made in the three senatorial districts, in addition to taking memoranda and feedback from stakeholders’ meetings organized by members of the House within their constituencies, which were also attended by Cabinet members, adding that the 2020 Budget would be supported by a Performance Management System that would ensure that, by December 2020,” we shall achieve an optimal budget implementation when compared with previous years. This is in line with our commitment to transparency and accountability in the management of public finances.”

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Lagos Matters

Oniru Throne: Abisogun Family Members At War Over Succession!

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Less than 40 days after the death of a first class monarch in Lagos State, the Oniru of Iruland. His Royal Majesty, Oba Idowu Abiodun Oniru, serious war has reportedly broken out in Abisogun Ruling House over his successor.

It will be recalled that the respected and powerful monarch died in late September, 2019 at the age of 82 after a brief illness.Under the reign of the monarch, Iru land, the host of the highbrow Oniru and Victoria Island, became a mega location with investments and buildings worth hundreds of billions of naira.

We were reliably informed that a tussle has broken down over the throne with many candidates showing interest in the coveted seat.Some of those said to have shown interest in the obaship seat included Wasiu Ogunbambi, Jamiu Adelakun and Saliu Abisogun.Others included Hakeem Ajasa, Fabayi clan, Giwa Otto clan amongst several others.

Reliable sources informed us that lobby has started in high places as some of the candidates were said to have circulated their curriculum vitae among the kingmakers and have started talking to top officials of the Lagos State Government in-charge of chieftaincy affairs in the state.It was gathered that the matter has torn the family apart as none of the candidates was willing to step down for another.Our sources added that what baffled watchers of events in the area is the fact that the crisis broke out just few weeks after the death of the Oba of the town.

“It was only on Friday November 1, 2019 that we did the final burial of Oba Idowu Abiodun Oniru in Eko Hotel. So it is surprising that the candidates for the throne could not even wait for some time before they start fighting over the stool.”Were they waiting for the Oba to die? We all know that the throne is lucrative, but that does not mean that they should start fighting immediately. It is uncalled for,” said a source.

It was however, gathered the kingmakers have started necessary consultations both traditionally and officially, and that the needful would be done in due course, while those interested in the office “have been cautioned to allow the people in-charge due their work so that Iru land would have the right traditional ruler at the right time.”

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