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Sahara Reporters, BudgIT, others shun Assembly’s panel on Obasa

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Lagos govt to reverse Land Use Charge, says, commissioner
• ‘State disbursed N139m housing loan to civil servants in one year’

A panel of inquiry set up by the Lagos State House of Assembly to investigate the corruption allegations against the Speaker of the House, Mudashiru Obasa, has said that those invited by the committee failed to honour the invitation yesterday.

It, however, noted that those invited still have tomorrow, Friday and Saturday to show up and clarify certain issues.

Those invited, according to a list obtained by journalists, include Babajide Kolade-Otitoju of Television Continental (TVC); Bayo Oluwasanmi of Sahara Reporters; BudgIT; Concerned Nigerians, Adeola Fayehun of Keeping It Real, The Independent Diaspora Nigerians Against Corruption, Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA).

They were expected to appear before the investigative panel yesterday but allegedly shunned the meeting despite invitations said to have been sent to them via electronic mail.

Chairman of the committee, Victor Akande, while addressing journalists and other members of the ad-hoc committee, said that the panel was constituted for a fact-finding mission on the allegations made against Obasa so that the invited groups and persons could substantiate their allegations.

However, when contacted, Kolade-Otitoju of TVC said he did not receive any invitation from the panel as claimed by the committee chairman.

“No invitation. Why would I be invited in the first place? I made no allegation of corruption against the Speaker. So, what do they want from me?” Kolade-Otitoju queried.

Executive Secretary of HEDA, Sulaiman Arigbabu, said his organisation had no business with the House and that their petitions were written to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) and not the House.

In another development, Lagos State Government yesterday said that it would soon unveil a reform on the reversal of the Land Use Charge to the pre-2018 rate.

The state’s Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Rabiu Olowo, disclosed this during the 2020 ministerial press briefing to mark the first year in office of Governor Sanwo-Olu.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the commissioner said that the state government had to review the increase in Land Use Charge assessment to accommodate the agitations of residents and to reduce the financial pressure on citizens.

Meanwhile, Lagos State Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola, has revealed that civil servants in the state got N139 million as housing loan subvention in the last one year.

He also said about N138 million was disbursed to 1,372 members of staff compared to N86 million in the previous year.

Muri-Okunola stated this yesterday at the year 2020 yearly ministerial press briefing to mark the first year of Sanwo-Olu in office.


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