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AMBODE: LAGOS SPEAKER, OBASA, ASSEMBLY AGREE TO MAINTAIN STATUS QUO

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***Lawmakers Plead For Time As Court Adjourns Till Nov 20

The Lagos State House of Assembly on Wednesday agreed to halt proceedings in the probe of former Governor of the State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, over procurement of 820 buses for public transportation.

Ambode had instituted a suit against the Assembly, the Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa and others, to contest the constitutionality of the probe, accusing them of bias and misrepresentation of facts.

When the matter came up in court on Wednesday morning, Ambode’s lawyer, Mr. Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), informed the court of his pending application for interlocutory injunction, saying that same had been served on the defendants.

In response, a team of lawyers of the defendants led by Mrs. Adenike Oshinowo and included Mrs. Adegbite and Ms. Olayemi Johnson confirmed service of the application, but pleaded for time since the processes were served at about 6pm on Tuesday.

They specifically requested for two weeks to respond but the date they suggested was not convenient for the court.

Responding, Oyetibo did not object to the application of the defendants for adjournment but urged the Court to direct parties to maintain status quo. In her response, the presiding Judge, Justice Yetunde Adesanya, said “it goes without saying” and called on Mrs. Osinowo for her response who also agreed that status quo would be maintained by the Defendants.

The court then adjourned the matter to November 20 2019 for the hearing of the motion on Notice for interlocutory injunction.

With the ruling, the former Governor cannot be summoned to appear again before the House probe panel as both parties have agreed to maintain status quo till the new hearing date.

According to his statement of claim before the court, Ambode had 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.

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“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.

“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.”

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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.

He is therefore, among others seeking:

“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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COVID-19: SANWO-OLU ROLLS OUT ECONOMIC STIMULUS FOR RESIDENTS, TARGETS 200,000 HOUSEHOLDS IN FIRST PHASE

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Few days after the Lagos State Government issued a stay-at-home directive to residents, in order to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has unveiled economic stimulus package for the indigent and the most vulnerable in the society.

The stimulus, which comes in food packs, to be distributed to every local government in the State is aimed at cushioning the effect of the fourteen days stay-at-home directive.

Speaking after an on-the-spot assessment of one of the State-owned food banks, located inside the premises of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives in Agege, Sanwo-Olu said the economic stimulus will reduce the burden of the temporary economic downturn on the citizens caused by the outbreak of COVID-19.

The Governor said the food packs, which were put together by the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives will reach the most vulnerable communities and households across Lagos, saying that the indigents who rely on daily wages will be given priority.

He said: ‘‘We are here for an on-the-spot assessment, of our readiness, to see how we can fast track some of our stimulus package for our citizens. We are all aware that this is a trying time for our citizens and since the partial drop in economic activities, our government deemed it necessary to reach out to the vulnerable ones in the society. These people are those that fall below the pyramid, the aged and the physically challenged who need to move from one part of the city to another for them to have a living. We felt that as a government, the least we can do is to identify them and give them these stimulus packages immediately.’’

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The Governor stated that the package will touch at least 200,000 thousand households in the first phase, saying the food packs are produced for a size of six people per household and would last for at least fourteen days.

“We have packaged dry food stimulus for about two hundred thousand families in the first instance for a household of husband, wife and about four children. We would be giving bags of rice, bags of beans, garri, bread, dry pepper and we are trying to see if we can add water and some elements of vitamin C. Each ration, we believe is going to be able to last them at least minimum 14 days just so our advocacy around stay at home, stay with your loved ones will be respected.

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“This is a catalytic initiative of our administration with the hope that well-meaning corporate organisations and private individuals can step up to complement the efforts of the government’’ Sanwo-Olu said.

The Commissioner of Agriculture, Prince Gbolahan Lawal earlier said the Government would be working with the existing database of the state – using the Lagos State Social register and 4000 community development association register in 377 wards.

He said the economic stimulus is part of Governor Sanwo-Olu’s administration’s initiatives tailored towards ensuring that food security is sustained in Lagos.

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Why I Closed Kastina State Land Borders-Gov. Masari

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Land Borders

The Kastina State Governor, Aminu Masari, has explained why he closed the land borders of the state.

The governor had ordered the closure of the borders and also placed a ban on large gathering in public and religious centers in a bid to curb the possible spread of coronavirus in the state.

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Explaining his action, Masari stated that movement of people into the state is strictly prohibited with effect from 6:00 am on Saturday, March 28, adding that fuel tankers and vehicles carrying food items and other essential commodities will be allowed into the state subject to screening and test at the point of entry. People are however at liberty to move within the state.

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Kastina State shares borders with Jigawa, Kano, Kaduna and Zamfara, and with the Republic of Niger to the north.

 

 

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Coronavirus: UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson Confirms He Tested Positive

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Boris Johnson

The prime minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson has confirmed he has tested positive for coronavirus.

The confirmation comes just after a Downing Street spokesperson announced in a statement that Johnson tested positive for the virus.

According to the statement, Johnson tested positive for the virus after experiencing mild symptoms.

Confirming the news on Twitter, the 55-year-old wrote: ‘Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus. I am now self-isolating, but I will continue to lead the government’s response via video-conference as we fight this virus. Together we will beat this.

 

Boris Johnson #StayHomeSaveLives

@BorisJohnson

Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus.

I am now self-isolating, but I will continue to lead the government’s response via video-conference as we fight this virus.

Together we will beat this.

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