Fashola Gets A Breather As Court Stops Assembly Probe

Source: thewillnigeria.com

San Francisco March 16, (THEWILL) – Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola was handed a lifeline on Tuesday by a state High Court when it ruled that the Lagos State House of Assembly cannot proceed with its probe of the governor over allegations of impropriety and financial misconduct leveled against him and lawmakers by a group.

Justice Habeeb Abiru while ruling in a suit filed by an activist and journalist, Richard Akinola against the lawmakers for initiating the probe against the governor declared as illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional the decision of the lawmakers to set up a six-man committee or any other committee to investigate the allegation contained in the advertisement published by a 'faceless group' called "The True Face of Lagos."

Justice Abiru also declared the 'True Face of Lagos' was an illegal association as it was unregistered with no physical address and ordered a perpetual injunction restraining the lawmakers along with their agents from proceeding with or acting on the purported investigation.

"The action of the Defendant in setting up a six man committee to investigate allegations of financial impropriety leveled against the Executive and Legislative Arms of the Lagos State Government by a group published in The Punch Newspaper of January 28, 2010 under the caption, 'The true face of Lagos', pursuant to its resolution passed on January 28, 2010 without that resolution having been first published in its journal or in an official gazette of the Lagos State Government is a fundamental breach of the provisions of Section 128 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and is, therefore, unconstitutional, illegal, unlawful, ultra-vires and of no effect whatsoever."

Continuing, Justice Abiru said, "The only statement was that credited to the member representing Alimosho 1, Hon. Adelabu A. O., who raised the issue under 'Matter of urgent Public Importance,' from their constitutional responsibilities to check the financial recklessness of the Executive.

"Does it mean that if tomorrow another advertorial comes out from another faceless group accusing Members of the House of Assembly of collecting bribes from an agency of government, for example, and shirking from its responsibility that another committee will be set up to investigate same? What then happens to the business of lawmaking?, he queried.

"And it is this that has caused so much unpleasant ripples within the polity. Something is definitely not right," Justice Abiru added.

Governor Fashola and his predecessor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu have been at war because of Fashola's refusal to renew a multi-billion naira consultancy deal between Alpha Beta, a company linked to Tinubu and the state government and observers believe Tinubu was using the probe to blackmail Fashola and possibly force him to resign or get the state assembly which he (Tinubu) controls to impeach him.