SaharaReporters has uncovered a grand plot by Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, to systematically absolve himself from all corruption allegations against him.
Following a series of detailed exposes on his corrupt activities by SaharaReporters in recent weeks, Obasa had found his position come under threat especially after public outrage in reaction to the revelations embarrassed the leadership of the All Progressives Congress in Lagos and at the national level.
The APC portrays itself as a group of faultless politicians on a mission to rescue Nigeria but since coming into power at the federal level in 2015, corrupt practices including squandering of public funds had become one of its mainstay.
As a result of the situation, a plan was hatched by Obasa and his allies to stage a sham investigation into the matter by the setting up of an ad-hoc committee to look into all the allegations raised against him.
In several detailed reports, SaharaReporters had catalogued monumental stealing of public funds using different guises by Obasa and his allies at the Lagos legislature.
In one instance, it was revealed how Obasa awarded contracts to himself using different companies owned by him and how he got the Assembly to approve N258m for printing of invitation cards for the inauguration of lawmakers two months after the event held.
Obasa was also exposed to have made the Lagos parliament approve N34.7m for the organisation of media and civil society organisations parley.
That was aside N80m received as estacode for a five-day event by the Speaker, his deputy and 17 other lawmakers in the Lagos Assembly.
Perhaps the biggest of all the revelations on him by SaharaReporters was the disclosure that at least 64 bank accounts were linked to the Bank Verification Number of Obasa.
Most of the bank accounts were registered with various names and used to siphon public funds in Lagos.
The BVN: 2296663231, revealed that Obasa operates accounts with multiple names in Polaris Bank, Zenith Bank, Access Bank, Ecobank Nigeria, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, United Bank for Africa, First City Monument Bank and Wema Bank.
To conceal his identity, the Speaker changed his name and date of birth in some of the accounts.
Following mounting pressure on Obasa to either clear his name or step down from his position as Speaker of Lagos Assembly, he put together the ad-hoc committee, which held its first sitting on Wednesday, June 3, 2020.
Led by the Chairman, Hon. Victor Akande, the committee claimed to have deliberated extensively on the series of allegations against the House and Obasa.
Akande disclosed that the petitioners and others would be invited for a meeting on Thursday, June 4, Friday, June 5, and Saturday, June 6 to investigate the allegations with evidence.
The committee listed Sahara Reporters, Human Rights and Environmental Development Agenda, BudgIT, Concerned Nigerians, Babajide Otitoju of TVC, Mr Bayo Oluwasanmi, Adeola Fayehun (Keeping it Real) among those to give more evidences on the matter while the Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Hon. Tunde Braimoh and the Clerk of the House would all be on the ground to answer questions.
But despite claims to have invited all the listed organisations and individuals to appear before the committee on Thursday, most of those mentioned never got invitation letters including those residing outside Nigeria.
SaharaReporters gathered from reliable sources in the Lagos Assembly that the move was all part of a grand ploy by Obasa to wash himself clean from the allegations of stealing public funds against him.
“The plan was for the Speaker to announce that he was stepping down today even when he is the one that set up the committee.
“And then by Monday he will be reinstated after the committee must have claimed that those behind the allegations did not show up to substantiate their claims. That was the plan,” a source in the Assembly told SaharaReporters.
Since blowing open his stealing of public funds, Obasa had searched for all means to get SaharaReporters to soft-pedalled but without luck.
Unable to achieve that, he paid N60m to social media influencers to attack the online news publication on Twitter and other social networking platforms.
Outraged by the development, civil society groups including Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, and Enough is Enough Nigeria, asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to launch an investigation into corruption allegations against Obasa.
The EFCC is yet to respond to that call and initiate any form of investigation on Obasa.
Saharareporters, New York