In another grand corruption, abuse of office and misuse of public funds, SaharaReporters has uncovered how Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, made the parliament approve N34.7m for the organisation of media and civil society organisations parley.
Sources within the Lagos Assembly, who spoke with SaharaReporters, revealed that Obasa gave the responsibility of putting together the parley to his “protocol and foreign relationship madam”.
The sources said that lawmakers and officials not only termed the act as an abuse of office by the Speaker but also demeaning of the House Committee on Media saddled with the responsibility of organising such an event.
In the letter directed to the Clerk of the House and obtained by SaharaReporters, the media and CSO parley allowed the Assembly to inform the media and the CSOs about its activities particularly focusing on the House achievements.
“The reason for this is that the media and the CSOs serve as the communication link between the government and the people. They are the ones to inform the public about the activities of the government. The event also allows the media and the CSOs to ask questions on government policies. It has, therefore, become an annual barometer for measuring the performance of the House.
“To this end as customary in the House, may I call your attention to the need to make preparations for the provision of newspaper adverts, banners, a programme of event, entertainments, decorations and honorarium for the media and CSOs.
“Given the above, you may wish to obtain the approval of the Rt. Hon. Speaker, the release of the sum of N34,700,000 only being the amount to be expended on the listed items,” the letter reads.
The sources said the breakdown, which was attached to the budget, was not only ridiculous but also mind-boggling and shameful.
“Contrary to what used to be the responsibility of the House Committee on Media under previous Speakers, Obasa assigned the task to his protocol and foreign relationship madam, not even the CPS. He assigned her to organise the parley at the colossal N34m for a meeting with less than 60 media houses and CSOs.
“The ridiculous breakdown of payment and cost allocations are mind-boggling and shameful,” the source said.
SaharaReporters had, in a series of reports, exposed how Obasa and some of his allies at the Lagos Assembly diverted public funds for personal use.
The latest revealed how the speaker, Deputy Speaker, Wasiu Eshilokun-Sanni, and 17 other members received N80m as estacode for a five-day event.
Some of the reports showed how Obasa fraudulently approved the sum of N258m for the printing of invitation cards for the inauguration of the Ninth Assembly two months after the event held.