Deputy speaker denies knowledge of litigation Gboyega Akinsanmi
Former Deputy Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Funmilayo Tejuosho, has forfeited two wings of a 5-bedroom semi-detached house located at 3A Sasegbon Street, Ikeja GRA, which the report of a panel of inquiry on illegal sale of public assets said was illegally acquired.
Tejuosho, a serving four-term lawmaker, finally forfeited the property yesterday after the incumbent Deputy Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Wasiu Eshilokun-Sanni formally took over the building, which was allocated to him in 2015 as his official residence.
The Clerk of the State House of Assembly, Mr. Sanni Azeez and the Director of Lagos State Staff Housing Board, Mr. Dele Oyewunmi, among others handed over keys to the two wings of a 5-bedroom semi-detached duplex, which previous deputy speakers in the state had used before Tejuosho moved in when she was nominated as the deputy speaker in 2007.
After she was impeached in 2009 as the Deputy Speaker, Tejuosho had remained in the apartment, thereby denying successive deputy speakers from occupying their official residence.
After the handover yesterday, Eshilokun-Sanni, explained how the residence was allocated, noting that he got “a letter of allocation from the Clerk of the Lagos State House of Assembly that House No. 3A Sasegbon Street, Ikeja GRA was allocated to me as my official residence in 2015.
Subsequently, he said he sent his officers “to find out the state of my official residence. They reported to me that it was occupied. I reported to the Clerk and Speaker of the House of Assembly to avoid undue conflict on it.
“Thereafter, the Speaker constituted a panel headed by the Majority Leader, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade and after several weeks, they reported their findings”.
He, therefore, explained that the House of Assembly had treated the matter with much empathy, magnanimity and tenacity of purpose before it was finally handed over to him.
Confronted on whether litigation on the asset had been resolved, Eshilokun-Sanni said he was not aware of any litigation, noting that the building was the official residence of the deputy speaker and that past deputy speakers had lived in the building.
THISDAY had on Sunday reported that the state government had begun revoking its assets illegally acquired by highly placed persons in Ikeja GRA, Ikoyi, Magodo, Lekki and Victoria Island others in line with the report of a panel of inquiry it set up to probe the sale of such assets between 2006 and 2016.
It was also reported that the state government would commence the revocation exercise this week, which might affect Tejuosho and over 100 beneficiaries of illegal asset acquisition in the state between 2006 and 2016.
Apart from the lawmaker, it reported that no fewer than 100 highly placed persons including political actors, lawmakers as well as former government functionaries who served under the administrations of Bola Tinubu and Mr. Babatunde Fashola would be affected.
A government official revealed how Tejuosho was involved in the alleged illegal deal to which he said the state government lost billion of naira, noting that two wings of a 5-bedroom semi-detached house located in Ikeja GRA was the official residence of Deputy Speaker of Lagos House of Assembly.
He said the lawmaker representing Mushin Constituency, moved into the apartment when she was serving as the State Deputy Speaker between 2007 and 2009, but allegedly used a firm linked with her to acquire the property at a ridiculous offer while serving as the deputy speaker.
After extensive review of the report, according to the official, it was discovered that two wings valued at hundreds of millions of naira was in 2010 offered to a certain Funmi Smith of Debam Mega Solutions Limited.
He said: “The property was acquired by a firm linked to Hon. Funmi Tejuosho. It was sold at a sum far less than half of its market value, but seven years after the offer, barely half of the offered sum had not been paid to the state government coffers by the company.
“The state government has resolved to revoke such assets or the beneficiaries pay the market value. The state government lost billion of naira to such illegal asset acquisition across the state. It is not acceptable given the state of economy and entrenched public interest.
“The lawmaker has been living in the official residence more than seven years. She has denied deputy speakers after she was impeached in 2009 access to their official residence. In fact, the current deputy speaker cannot access his official residence.”