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INSENSITIVITY: Femi Gbajabiamila-led House Of Representatives Takes Delivery Of Exotic Wonder On Wheels Amidst Global Fight Against Coronavirus

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The insensitivity of Nigerian lawmakers has always been a talking point in the polity and among members of the public.

In the past, they have been frowned at for appearing to make laws that favour them, while failing to enforce those that seem mass-orientated.

The recent acquisition of state of the art cars for themselves at a time that the world is literally mourning countless deaths from the coronavirus pandemic is an all time low for the Gbajabiamila-led House of Representatives.

As if oblivious of happening in the world, the lawmakers threw caution to the wind, embarking on an acquisition of  400 units of 2020 Toyota Camry car tagged utility vehicle or official cars.

Chairman of the Committee on House Services, Wale Raji, who confirmed delivery of the cars declined to respond to further enquiries.

However, findings revealed that not less than 400 units of the V6 Limited Edition variant of the car was purchased for members of the House of Representatives at an undisclosed rate.

Further findings on the website of Toyota revealed that each of the vehicles  depending on the variant, has a price tag of between US$25,000 to US $35,000, excluding the cost of shipping and custom duties, which is said to be about 100 per cent of the actual cost of each unit.

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Those with higher specification could cost in the following range: XLE at $29,455, XLE V6 at $34,580, XSE at $30,005 and XSE V6 at $35,130.

As you read, the cars some of which have been allocated are packed at different parking lots within the National Assembly Complex, true to a resolution reached at a sitting by the legislators in an executive (closed-door) session on February 5,  during which they resolved to purchase the cars.

The cars, which originally belongs to the National Assembly, are usually auctioned to the lawmakers after four years.

Already, about 14 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado sports utility vehicles have already been handed out to presiding as well as other principal officers and chairmen of select House committees.

Giving a breakdown of how the vehicles are shared, a member of the House, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, said, the 400 saloon cars would be allocated to each of the 360 members and some top management staff, Chiefs of Staff to the (two) presiding officers as well as some of their special advisers and assistants.

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The source said, “I was told 100 have already arrived and they are sharing them to new members who are not chairmen and deputy chairmen (of committees). The next batch will be for returning (ranking) members who are neither chairmen nor deputy chairmen. The last batch will go to ranking member with appointments.”

The Committee on House Services and the National Assembly Management, led by the Clerk to the National Assembly, Mohammed Sani-Omolori, had constituted a joint committee to oversee the acquisition, verification and distribution to the lawmakers.

The Committee on House Services, which also exists in the Senate, serves as the protocol and welfare department.

The joint committee was set up as some members had alleged that the National Assembly had become a “dumping ground” for smuggled and refurbished automobile.

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Spick And Span: Obasa Absolved Of Corruption Claim, Owning Multiple Bank Accounts**Official Position Of The Banks Revealed

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Speaker

A patient man with a clear conscience will definitely get his day of absolution.

Indeed, the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly,  Mudashiru Obasa, has been severely embarrassed with unfounded claims of corruption.

However, Obasa’s day of glory has since come, as officials of the banks where he is alleged to have multiple accounts have all cleared him.

In a recently held meeting, officials of Ecobank, Wema Bank and Polaris  absolved Obasa of the allegation owning multiple accounts.

Some representatives of the banks spoke before the 9-man House Adhoc Committee on fact finding and investigation on the corruption allegations against Speaker Mudashiru Obasa being circulated on the social media on Friday.

The bank officials stated that it was not possible for an individual to operate multiple accounts with one Bank Verification Number (BVN).

The Committee is headed by Hon. Victor Akande (Ojo Constituency 1).

Present during the meeting were Hon. Rotimi Olowo, Hon. Yinka Ogundimu, Hon. Lukmon Olumoh and Hon. Mojisola Alli-Macaulay.

A Business Development Officer with Wema Bank, Mr. Adekunle Adeleke, said that the BVN server is not reserved with any bank, but the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“Sahara Reporters stated the account number and other details in their reports, but they didn’t state the BVN. What Sahara Reporters wrote is not BVN. There are a lot of errors in their report.

“The BVN and the accounts stated in the story are not correct and they don’t belong to the Speaker of the Assembly.

“It is not possible for a BVN to have two dates of births. If they do so, it would be rejected in another bank, they would have to swear to an affidavit so that it would be the same.

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“If it should be changed, it would be backed up by marriage certificate or sworn affidavit,” he stated.

Adeleke stressed that the companies stated by Sahara Reporters in their reports had no linkage with Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa.

He added that the name, signature and other details in the story has no relationship with Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa.

“You can write Wema Bank to confirm if the accounts mentioned by Sahara Reporters had any relationship with the Speaker.

“The computer system in the bank has a digital footprint that would show any visit to any account. It will show imprint of anyone that checks the account. You can request the details of all the checks, but we will need written request from the owner of the account.

“BVN is a different server, it does not belong to any bank. You cannot punch BVN and get any financial details. It is only the regulator or the anti-corrupion agency that can do so through the CBN,” he said.

Polaris Bank was represented by Mr. Charles Osho and Mr. Rotimi Omotayo, Chief Internal Auditor of the bank.

Mr. Omotayo said that only three of the 64 accounts credited to the Speaker by SaharaReporters were with Polaris Bank.

He revealed that two of the accounts belong to one Mr. Adebayo Adeyemi David, while one belongs to Mr. Ajayi Mudashiru Obasa.

“Mr. Adebayo Adeyemi David is different from Mr. Ajayi Mudashiru Obasa and there is no linkage between the two personalities.

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“Rt. Hon. Ajayi Mudashiru Obasa has one account with our bank and the BVN quoted for Obasa is correct. The other person has a separate BVN for the two accounts.

“It is not possible to check someone’s account without authorisation. There is what we call system log. Whoever accesses an account is logged on the system and we can see whoever does that.

“We know those who access any account at any point in time. We can avail you of the information if you require it,” he said.

General Manager of the Lagos State Public Procurement Agency (PPA), Mr. Onafowote Fatai Idowu, who was also invited by the Committee, revealed that the 40 Toyota Corolla back-up cars bought for the 8th Assembly were with the notice of his office and that the purchase followed the due process.

He said that Certificate of Compliance was issued for the procurement of the vehicles on 30th April, 2019.

“We were communicated and we responded for the process to continue and we approved the purchase of the vehicles.

“The purchase of the vehicles was approved by the Management Committee of the House, led by the Speaker Mudashiru Obasa and the relevant documents were provided.

“Members of the Committee were Hon. Wahab Olumuyiwa Jimoh, Hon. Rotimi Olowo, Hon. Dayo Saka-Fafunmi, and Hon. Setonji David. The purchase was budgeted for and It is in tandem with the appropriate Procurement Law,” he said.

The committee subsequently adjourned sitting to Saturday 6th June, 2020 at 10am.

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LAGOS HAS LOST A COMMITTED PATRIOT’, SANWO-OLU REACTS TO SEN. MUNIR MUSE’S DEATH

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Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has described the death of the former lawmaker representing Lagos Central in the National Assembly, Sen. Munir Adekunle Muse, as “broken news” to the nation, saying the State woke up on Tuesday to an “awful reality” of the passing of the elder statesman.

The late Muse, who was a one time chairman of Apapa Local Government Area, passed on in the early hours of Tuesday. He was 81.

Sanwo-Olu, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Gboyega Akosile, said the death of the elder statesman was a huge loss to Lagos for which the octogenarian, the Governor said, committed his time, resources and effort to build during his lifetime.

The Governor extolled the virtues of the late politician, whom he described as “a dedicated democrat with balanced progressive outlook”. Despite his withdrawal from active politics occasioned by his old age, Sanwo-Olu said the deceased was always in touch with leaders across the State to offer valuable contributions towards development.

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The statement reads: “This morning, Lagos State woke up to the awful reality of the demise of a committed Lagosian, youth development enthusiast and elder statesman, Sen. Munir Adekunle Muse. For us, this is a broken news because the late former federal lawmaker passed away at a time his wealth of experience in corporate administration and political leadership was desired to guide our steps towards taking our dear State to another level of development.

“Having served in the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) for more than 30 years, the late Sen. Muse retired to serve Lagos, first as community leader and council chairman in Apapa, then as a respected federal lawmaker. His sterling leadership quality earned him respect across the State and beyond. He was the stabilising factor behind the lasting peace enjoyed by members of the Lagos chapter of Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON).

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“A devout Muslim and committed family man, Sen. Muse was gentle to a fault and not known to be cantankerous. Rather than engage in needless complaint, he believed in underground strategy to achieve results. His death is a huge loss to Lagos in particular, and the nation in general.”

“On behalf of my family and the good people of Lagos, I commiserate with the family of the late distinguished man, Senator Munir Muse.”

“I pray that the almighty Allah will admit the deceased into Aljana Firdaus and grant his family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.” Sanwo-Olu said.

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Anniversary: Obasa Congratulates Buhari, Sanwo-Olu

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The Speaker, Lagos House of Assembly and Chairman, Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures in Nigeria, Rt. Hon. (Dr.) Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa, has congratulated both President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on their fifth-year and first-year in office respectively.

Obasa in his congratulatory message to mark May 29, 2020, the day President Buhari and Governor Sanwo-Olu were inaugurated to their respective offices for their fifth and first terms, said both have kept faith with the people.

“The President has been able to pull the country back from precipice that it was almost falling in 2015.

“Today, in the areas of insecurity, economy and war against corruption, the country may not be where it should be, but it has certainly left where it was five years ago.

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“Your purposeful leadership in the last five years has steered the country in the right direction,” the Speaker said.

Obasa also used the occasion of the fifth year anniversary of the president to thank him once again for signing the Executive Order 10, which grants financial autonomy to state legislatures and state judiciaries.

“Let me also use this occasion to congratulate our governor, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu on his first year anniversary in government.

“You have proved to the doubting Thomases that you are actually the man for the job,” he said.

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Obasa said Governor Sanwo-Olu came prepared for the job with his six-point agenda referred to as THEMES, which is an acronym for, Transportation and Traffic Management; Health and Environment; Education and Technology; Making Lagos a 21st century economy and Entertainment and Tourism.

“Mr. Governor’s handling of COVID-19 pandemic which has been applauded both nationally and internationally is also a true testimony your leadership qualities.

“On behalf of members and staff of Lagos House of Assembly, I wish both President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu a resounding success in their remaining years in office,” Obasa said.

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