- Committee obeys, adjourns indefinitely
Segun James and Akinwale Akintunde
A Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja has ordered the Lagos State House of Assembly to maintain status quo in the ongoing investigation of former Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode.
Justice Yetunde Adesanya gave the order yesterday, following an exparte motion filed by Ambode through his counsel, Tayo Oyetibo (SAN).
Joined as respondents in the suit are the Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa; House Clerk, Mr A.A Sanni; Chairman of the Ad hoc Committee set up by the House to probe the procurement, Hon. Fatai Mojeed and members of the committee. The committee members are Gbolahan Yishawu, A.A Yusuff, Yinka Ogundimu, Mojisola Lasbat Meranda, M.L Makinde, Kehinde Joseph, T.A Adewale and O.S Afinni.
Ambode instituted the suit against the state assembly to contest the constitutionality of the probe of the buses, which were procured based on budgetary approval as part of the Bus Reform Project of the State Government designed to revolutionise public transportation in line with global best practices.
Meanwhile, Ambode’s lawyer was wednesday turned back at the sitting of the committee probing the former governor.
The lawyer, Mr. Olaniran Obele from the chambers of Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), counsel to Ambode, told journalists that they were not allowed into the committee meeting.
However, following the receipt of the order of the court asking that the status quo be maintained, the joint committee adjoined its probe indefinitely in deference to the court ruling.
Speaking with journalists, Obele said, “We came to represent Ambode but the officials of the House of Assembly in a military manner prevented us from entering the committee room.
“We brought processes from the court and letters to serve on the committee chairman and the speaker but they refused to accept validly issued court document, letter containing what the court has said to them but we were not allowed to go in.
“The former governor respects the House; he has sent his lawyer to inform the committee set up by the House that this is what transpired in the court; it is out of courtesy that we have come,” Obele said.
“We were around, while the preliminary of the proceeding was on, but we were not allowed in. We didn’t come here to submit court proceedings alone, but we came to represent the former governor. If they didn’t take any step, we don’t have a problem with that, but it would be very sad if they took any action,” he said.
Addressing journalists after adjoining until further notice, Chairman of the committee, Hon. Fatai Mojeed said the asssembly sent its legal team to represent it in the court.
“We started late because before we commenced sitting we had to get feedback from our legal team that went to the court and from the feedback from our lawyers we have to adjoin the sitting until further notice in respect of the court ruling.
“We are lawmakers; we are not lawbreakers, and we have to respect the court opinion, so that is why we adjoin till further notice. Lagosians should be expecting more from us,” he said.
Explaining why the former governor’s lawyer was not allowed into the committee room, Mojeed said it is against the business rule of the House.
“We invited the former governor, not his representative; we want him to come and clear himself; that is why they were not allowed in and it is even against our business rule.”