The Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, on Monday constituted a joint committee of the House to probe allegations brought against two local government council chairmen in the state.
The joint committees on Public Account Committee (Local) and Local Government Administration and Community Affairs are to investigate allegations of “unscrupulous activities” against the chairmen of Isolo local government and Ikosi-Isheri LCDA respectively.
They were accused of incursion into legislative activities in their respective councils and undermining the functionality of the legislative arms of the councils.
Mr Obasa, while constituting the joint committees, said: “Beyond the issue of the budget, there is need to address the victimisation and threats against councilors by council chairmen.
“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.”
The allegations were detailed in the petitions 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’ respectively.
The two petitions written and signed by aggrieved councillors from Isolo Local Council Development Area and Ikosi Isheri Local Council Development Area (LCDA) respectively, were read on the floor of the House by the Acting Clerk, Olalekan Onafeko.
In one of them, Remi Shittu, Isolo LCDA Council Leader, was alleged to have summarily suspended four councillors over their absence at sitting just before the council chairman, Shamsideen Olaleye, presented a budget.
According to the petition, with the four suspended, only three councillors witnessed the budget presentation and “expressly passed it within 24 hours.”
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In Ikosi-Isheri LCDA, Ajibola Usman, leader of the council, claimed there was a frosty relation between the councillors and the council chairman, Semiat Bada.
According to Mr Usman, Ms Bada allegedly misappropriated public funds and instigated some councillors to boycott sittings.
Discussing the issue on the floor of the House, Rotimi Abiru, a member of the House, urged that the petitions be looked into and that adequate actions be taken.
On his part, Rotimi Olowo, another lawmaker, noted that the development “is one too many”.
“It is a breach of procedures. I suggest that an ad-hoc committee be constituted to nib it in the bud,” Mr Olowo added.
In his contribution, Gbolahan Yishawu, said: “It is very unfortunate. The budget is a very crucial process…This cannot be possible in 24 hours.”
He supported the suggestion that a committee be set up to investigate the allegations.
Speaking also, Abdulsobur Olawale, reflected on his experience across the councils visited recently in an oversight function.
The joint committees have been given till Thursday, March 25, to report back to the House.
Meanwhile, the House received a letter from the Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget seeking approval to spend from the special account for the procurement of vehicles for official use by various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
According to the letter, the purchase of the vehicles is to aid effective and efficient service.
In response, the Speaker committed the request to the House Committee on Economic Planning and Budget which is to report to the House on Thursday.