Lagos Assembly approves N250bn loan, suspends council boss

The Lagos State House of Assembly on Friday approved the sum of N250billion through loan and bonds as requested by the state governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

The governor had requested for approval of the bond to enable the state to address some of the infrastructural gaps in order to prepare her for a Smart Mega City status and also to make the Y2019 budget performance 100 per cent.

It would be recalled that the House at its Plenary on Tuesday, 19th November 2019 granted the request of Governor Sanwo-Olu for the bond.

Chairman, Committee on Finance, Hon. Rotimi Olowo, while presenting the report, said the House recommended the grant approval for the issuance of N100billion bond and N50billion syndicated loan facility to the state.

According to him, the projected financing had been factored into the debt profile analysis as at 31st December 2019 which shows a total debt profile of N1.085trillion.

Hon. Olowo stated that debt service to revenue ratio is at 25% in 2019 which was below the required threshold of 30% required by country policy and Institutional Assessment (CPIA) World Bank assessment.

The recommendation was adopted as the resolution of the House.

Meanwhile, the Lagos State House of Assembly has suspended indefinitely the Chairman, Ifako/Ijaiye Local Government, Mr. Oloruntoba Oke, for alleged financial misappropriation of funds and abuse of office.

Consequently, the House directed that his vice-chairman should take over the affairs of the council with immediate effect.

Hon. Oke was suspended on Friday by the House following the petition from concerned citizens of Ifako/Ijaiye alleging him of mismanagement and financial recklessness and the ratification of the reports of the committee set up by it to investigate the matter.

The speaker, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, had earlier set up a 5-man Ad Hoc Committee on Local Government Administration and Community Affairs to investigate the allegations and report its finding.

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The Ad Hoc Committee headed by Hon. Rotimi Olowo after series of meetings and assessment tour of the local government discovered that the suspended council boss obtained a loan form Skye Bank in 2012 to execute five projects in the council area while the projects for which the loan was obtained had yet to be completed.

It was also observed that all conditions stipulated in the loan as approved by the ministry were violated and the huge amount expended on the construction of the new secretariat complex did not commensurate with the work level.

Hon. Olowo, in the report presented during the plenary session, stated the council chairman’s response to the committee that upon his assumption of office in 2011, he had sought the approval of the state government to obtain a soft loan from Skye Bank to execute 13 critical projects which included the construction of the local government secretariat.

In his contribution, Hon. Wahab Jimoh said the committee’s findings exposed errors created by the bureaucracy system of governance which does not exempt the council manager and the treasurer, contending that the council boss, Oke, shouldn’t be sanctioned alone.

Agreeing with the resolution of the House, Hon. Tobun Abiodun stressed that the affected council boss worked in total deviance of the procurement procedures, saying that the job executed was not in tandem to the money expended.

According to him, the council boss, Hon. Oke’s action was flagrant disobedience to order and the law.

“It is expected that the local government at this stage should do all that is humanly possible to support and collaborate with the effort of the state government in making life more meaningful to our people. The Chairman who has gone against the conventions of the law should be suspended and this should serve as a deterrent to those who have the intention of violating the administrative guideline,” the lawmaker said.

Another lawmaker, Hon. Bisi Yusuff, expressed support on the resolution of the House, alleging that the local government council was controlled by the trio of the suspended council chairman, the treasurer and council engineer.

He further opined that the supervising councillor and the councillors were just mere appendages of the local government chairman, pointing out that the resolution of the House would bring about discipline in governance.

Consequent upon the directive by the House that the council vice-chairman should take over the affairs of the council with immediate effect, the speaker, Hon. Obasa, directed the Clerk of the House, Mr. Sanni Azeez, to forward the House resolution to the appropriate offices for notification.

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