Comrade Buna Olaitan Isiak Executive Director of HURMA; Comrade Alh. Titilope (right); Comrade Mrs. Erinle (left)
The Human Rights Monitoring Agenda (HURMA) in a press conference held on Wednesday 18th March 2020 in Lagos has replied the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, that the petition written to the office of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission EFCC, is free from any partisanship whatsoever, but for the general good of all Lagosians.
According to the Executive Director of HURMA, Comrade Buna Olaitan Isiak, the press conference was necessitated by the recent claim of the Speaker at LSHA session on Monday 16th of March as reported by some national dailies, that the petition by the human rights group to the EFCC was meant to fight for certain members of the Lagos State House of Assembly that were recently sanctioned.
Comrade Buna Isiak in his address replied that this is far from the truth because the recently submitted petition to the EFCC was submitted to HURMA’s office last year 2019, by some concerned members of the public and the attention of the LSHA Speaker was somehow called to it, but he deafened himself to the poor hunter’s whistle.
The text of the press conference was titled :UPDATE ON HURMA’S PETITION TO THE EFCC ON ALLEGED CORRUPT ACTIVITIES OF LAGOS STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY SPEAKER, HONORABLE MUDASHIRU OBASA.
It reads in parts:
“For those of us who might have been following the recent developments with regard to the petition forwarded to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by the Human Rights Monitoring Agenda (HURMA), it has become highly imperative to address this press conference to clarify certain misinterpretations and misinformation that have suddenly erupted owing to the petition.
“As you are aware, the petition from our office to the EFCC had to do with our demand for investigation of very serious allegations of misuse of office, breach of public trust and mismanagement of public resources by the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Honorable Mudashiru Obasa, based on avalanche of petitions and complaints received by our office from concerned members of the public.
“Against certain insinuations thrown to the public by those likely to be affected by the petition, HURMA, by this press conference wishes to state categorically that as a public agency which has saddled itself with the goals of ensuring good governance, public probity and accountability as well as adherence to due process by public officers and institutions, our activities are detached from partisan considerations. Our abiding belief is for justice to be served irrespective of who is involved.
“Contrary to the wrong speculation that our petition to the EFCC, which came two days after internal wrangling broke out among members of the House of Assembly was in support of a faction of the divided House, we state here that this is far from the truth as the petition has been a work in progress a couple of weeks before the House imbroglio. We however wish to state our observation here that, Obasa’s action of deposition and suspension of his colleagues fits into parts of the allegations against his leadership, which is that of reckless use of power and disregard for procedures set by the House.
“We also want the public to know that many weeks after our office received the complaints against the Speaker, signals of these complaints and allegations were sent to him through his aides in LSHA but he chose to treat them with disdain. We indeed made subtle demands on him such as reversing every anti-people policies as well as a reversal of any financial misappropriation without proper legal basis as those policies and activities would result into more sufferings for the poor masses. The Speaker however considered the voice of the people as nothing.
“After waiting for several weeks without any response from the Speaker, HURMA was left with no other option than to petition the EFCC as rumor were already spreading that our organization has been compromised on the matter.
“As the LSHA itself could testify that HURMA takes public complaints against breaches sent to it seriously as we have also written to the House in the past on germane public issues for which we were granted audience.
“We therefore belong to every good members of the public and to no specific person.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the allegations contained in our petition to the EFCC are hereunder reiterated for the benefit of members of the public.”
1. Purchase of a bullet-proof car with a market value of less than N100 Million (One Hundred Million Naira), was bought and inflated to the tune of N300 Million (Three Hundred Million Naira). Apart from being inflated by a whopping 200%, the purchase of the vehicle was done in a questionable manner contrary to procurement acts. This constitutes a flagrant abuse of office and the exercise of privilege with impunity in a country where majority of the citizens live on less than a dollar a day.
2. Unilateral purchase of 40 cars for members of the Assembly with neither prior discussion with members nor official approval by the House. These vehicles, which we have on good authority, were imported by a notable politician for a political project which failed to see the light of the day were procured by the Speaker at give-away price by the Speaker who has since refused to either release their papers to the supposed beneficiaries (the House members) or tender their receipt for retirement into the Assembly’s accounts for obvious reasons as the cost of the vehicles is only known to him.
3. Purchase of 11(eleven) other vehicles without bidding, advertisement and rules and regulations guiding procurement or legislative approval. This is outright disdain for public accountability, probity and established checks and balances.
4. Use of fictitious companies as fronts for cornering public contracts and fleecing of public funds. The most notorious of these companies is a certain De-Kingrun Multipurpose Nigeria Limited with CAC No: RC 748741 where all six children of Obasa are the shareholders. A probe of the businesses of the House since his leadership should reveal how notoriously Obasa has been breaching public trust by diverting contracts and projects into companies of his interest with the active connivance of the clerk of the House, Mr. Azeez Sanni Adebowale.
5. Compromise of operational procedures, creation of an extra-legal hierarchy and privileging cronies at the expense of the system. This is by far the greatest calamity to befall the Lagos State House of Assembly under Obasa’s watch. 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 businesses of the House 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 is on good authority that the lady named Nike Ajibose was promoted to level 9 in the civil service without promotional exams all because of her immoral relationship with the Speaker. As at the time the petition was written, she was on a spending-spree to the United Kingdom with N9m (Nine Million Naira) from the purse of the LSHA without approval. Mada, Nike Ajibose has been found out to serve as conduit for the Speaker in money laundering activities some of which have been investigated by the British Financial Intelligence Unit in the past.
This was why we wrote to the EFCC that these reckless, illegal and unauthorized spending of public funds which come to about N2.4B (Two Billion, Four Hundred Million Naira) in 11 months for vehicular procurements only must be thoroughly investigated.
“It is our belief that the actions and activities of Honorable Mudashiru Obasa at the Lagos State House of Assembly is detrimental to the interest of the people of Lagos State and his primary constituency which elected him to serve. It is also breach of public trust and a dent on the anti-corruption drive of the party and the government to which he belongs, hence the need to have him investigated and put him under public scrutiny and accountability before further damage is done to the collective patrimony of Lagosians.
“We therefore reiterated our demand that the Speaker must as a matter of procedure step aside while investigations by the anti-graft agency goes on and safe the House from its integrity being questioned.