A civil society organisation, Human Rights Monitoring Agenda, HURMA, has petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, alleging financial infraction and abuse of office and public trust against the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Mudasiru Obasa.
Against this background, HURMA is asking Hon Obasa to step down from office immediately for a holistic investigation into the alleged infractions levied against him and pending the findings of the anti-graft agency.
In the petition, addressed to the chairman of the EFCC, and titled: ‘Petition Against Lagos State House of Assembly Speaker, Mudasiru Obasa on Gross Financial Misconduct, Criminal Breach of Public Trust and Abuse of Office, HURMA Executive Director, Comrade Buna Olaitan Isiak, claimed that the petition was necessitated by popular demand.
The petition reads in part, “Further to a popular demand by some members of the public to our office, this petition is written to acquaint your agency, the EFCC, with the gross financial misconduct and the abuse of office being perpetrated by the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, for a thorough investigation so as to avert a further bleeding of the public treasury under his care and restore sanity in the functioning of the state’s legislative establishment.
“The Speaker’s desecration of his office for which a probe of his activities becomes necessary is in twofold: one, his financial recklessness and cornering of public funds through illegitimate means; and two, the corruption and compromise of laid down procedures and rules deliberately foisted on the workforce of the Assembly.”
Specifically, HURMA wanted the anti-graft agency to investigate the purchase of a bullet-proof car, which market value was less than N100 million, but which price was allegedly inflated to N300 million; the unilateral purchase of 40 cars for members of the House without prior discussion with members, nor official approval by the House; purchase of 11 other vehicles without bidding, advertisement and without adhering to rules and regulations guiding procurement or legislative approval; use of fictitious companies as fronts for cornering public contracts and fleecing of public funds, the most notorious of which is a certain De-Kingrun Multipurpose Nigeria Limited, with CAC No: RC 748741, where all his six children are shareholders; compromise of operational procedures, creation of an extra-legal hierarchy and privileging cronies at the expense of the system; and recent allegation of illegal spending of N2.4 billion within 11 months to purchase 80 cars for 40 members of the Lagos State House of Assembly.
HURMA said that in the first instance, apart from inflating the cost of the cars by a whopping 200 per cent, the purchase of the vehicle was done in a questionable manner contrary to procurement acts, thus constituting a flagrant abuse of office and exercise of privilege with impunity in a country where majority of the citizens live on less than a dollar a day.
On the purchase of 40 vehicles, the group added that it “had it on good authority that the vehicles were imported by a notable politician for a failed political project.”
It added, “The Speaker procured those vehicles and has since refused to either release their papers to the supposed beneficiaries or tender their receipt for retirement into the House’s accounts for obvious reasons, as the cost of the vehicles is only known to the Speaker.”
Declaring as disdain for public accountability and established checks and balances, the purchase of another 11 vehicles by the Speaker, HURMA added that a probe of the businesses of the House since Obasa’s leadership should reveal how notoriously Obasa has been breaching public trust by diverting contracts and projects into companies where he has interests, with the active connivance of the clerk of the House, Mr. Azeez Sanni Adebowale.
HURMA also described compromise of operational procedures and creation of an extra-legal hierarchy and privileging cronies at the expense of the system as “by far the greatest calamity to befall the Lagos State House of Assembly under Obasa’s watch.
It said, “Regulatory procedures have been, in most cases, set aside with the connivance of the Clerk of the House, with the ill-intent of carrying out governmental business for private gains and as a private concern.
“With this tactics, Obasa created an extra-legal hierarchy within the workforce of the States Assembly where his cronies, including a concubine of his, popularly called Madam Speaker, reign supreme.
“It was on good authority that the girl, named Nike Ajibose, was promoted to level 9 without promotional examination, because of her immoral relationship with Hon. Obasa; she recently traveled to the United Kingdom with N9 million of LSHA money, not approved but more importantly is the using the girl for money laundering activities.
While calling on the Speaker to immediately step down as head of the Lagos legislature, pending the conclusion of investigations into the alleged infractions raised against him, the HURMA stated that “should Obasa be found guilty of any of the above allegations, that would amount to breach of public trust and such a man of questionable character cannot continue to act as Speaker to the Lagos State House of Assembly.”
It concluded that “It is our belief that the actions and activities of Hon Obasa at the Lagos State House of Assembly is detriment to the general well being of Lagosians and the House.”