Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly Mr Mudashiru Obasa has constituted a joint committee of Public Account Committee (Local) and Local Government Administration and Community Affairs to investigate series of abuse and misappropriation of funds in Isolo and Ikosi Isheri Local Council Development Areas, LCDAs, which has been undermining the functionality of the legislature in the councils.
Obasa who asserted his authority after members of the House have deliberated on the issue stated that appropriate sanctions must be melted on any Chairman who is found guilty of the allegations.
According to him, “Beyond the issue of the budget, there is need to address the victimisation and threats of Councilors by Council chairmen; and the introduction of thugs into the Local Government chambers to beat up Councilors is something we must not allow and wherever it happens we must assert appropriate sanctions; we must ensure that such Chairman does not escape the consequence of such act.” Speaker maintained. This followed two petitions read on the floor of the house by the Acting Clerk Barrister Olalekan Onafeko during plenary on Monday, the petition titled:”
Petition against our House Leader, Councilor Remi Shittu ”, and “Fraudulent Misappropriation of Public Funds accruable to Ikosi-Isheri LCDA by the Executive Chairman, Princess Samiat Abolanle Bada and abuse of office.” “In the two petitions written and signed by aggrieved councillors from Isolo Local Council Development Area, LCDA and Ikosi Isheri Local Council Development Area (LCDA) respectively, the roles of the legislature were clearly tampered with. “Mr Remi Shittu, Isolo LCDA Council Leader in a house of seven councillors was alleged to have summarily suspended four, over absence at seating prior to Hon. Shamsideen Olaleye the Council Chairman’s presentation of the budget, adding that three councillors witnessed the budget presentation and expressly passed the budget within 24 hours.
“In Ikosi Isheri LCDA,Mr. Akanni Ajibola Usman Leader of the council also pray the house to intervene in the frosty relationship between the council and the executive Chairman, Mayoress Semiat Bada. “Usman claimed that Semiat misappropriated public funds and allegedly deprived the council of its statutory emoluments and also instigated some councillors to boycott seating. “Worried about the recurrence of deliberate vilification of the legislature by the executives at the local government level, the Speaker constituted a Joint Committee to dissuade other Chairmen from toeing the same line as the erring ones.
Lawmakers took turns to react to the development calling for quick intervention before it snowballs into an issue that cannot be managed. In his reaction, Mr Rotimi Abiru corroborated the petition and urge that it be looked into and that adequate action be taken. Also, Mr Rotimi Olowo in his view, noted that the development is one too many, “it is a reckless incursion of the executives into the legislature. Muscle flexing to deflate the legislature, procedures should be religiously followed. It is a breach of procedures, I suggest that an Adhoc committee should be constituted to nib it in the bud. His colleague, Mr Gbolahan Yishawu however, raised a point of order that the issue bothers on a budget a fiscal document for the council so it must be accorded the required urgency it deserves.
“It is very unfortunate the budget is a very crucial process, government use tax instruments to make the public know the envisaged expenditure for legislative scrutiny at different stages. This cannot be possible in 24hours, I support the move that a committee be set up to stall it. The Chairman of the house committee on Local Government Administration and Community Affairs, Mr Abdulsobur Olawale also reflected on his experience across the councils visited recently in an oversight function. “I totally condemn the barbaric action taken by the two local governments council Chairmen they ought not to be doing this, they have put the councillors under their armpit. The Speaker thereafter directed the House Committee on Public Account (Local) and Committee on Local Government Administration to jointly investigate the two Local Government and report to the House on Thursday.
Also, the House received a letter from the Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget seeking approval to expend from the special expenditure to procure vehicles for official use by various Ministries, Departments and Agencies to aid effective and efficient service. In response, the Speaker committed the request to the House Committee on Economic Planning and Budget to report to the House on Thursday.