Lagos State Govt Denies Taking N200m From Public Treasury To Defend Sanwo-Olu’s Election Victory

By Damilare Adeleye

The Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, has denied reports that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu paid four law firms N50 million each to defend his election victory from state treasury.

The allegation is contained in a document shared by the 2023 Labour Party governorship candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, on his verified X handle @GRVlagos.

According to the document, the Lagos Ministry of Justice allegedly instructed the law firms: Ahmed Raji & Co, Akinboro & Co, Babatunde Ogala & Co, and Messrs Femi Okunnu & Co, to represent and defend the governor in various suits.

“We took Mr Sanwolu, Mr Hamzat, APC, and INEC to court. We did not take @lagosstategov to court. Why should the state fund his legal fees. Why should citizens’ taxes be used to pay for his representation.

“This is why they are always quick to say ” Go to court” because they are so irresponsible and cheap, to not even pick up their legal bills,” Rhodes-Vivour had tweeted.

But reacting in a statement on Tuesday, Omotoso described the allegation as another ploy to deceive the public about a non-existent payment.

He noted that the transaction referenced by Rhodes-Vivour never took place, adding that although there was a payment request, it was not approved by Sanwo-Olu.

The statement read: “A post on ‘X’ by Labour Party (LP) candidate Mr. Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, on November 19, 2023 alleged – without any proof whatsoever- that the Lagos State Government funded Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s legal dispute after the March 18, 2023 election. This is not true.

“The allegation was supported by a document that neither carried the logo of the Lagos State Government nor the endorsement of any of its officials. It was simply another ploy to deceive the public about a non-existent payment of N50,000,000 to four lawyers.

“While it is worthwhile for patriotic individuals to scrutinise the finances of the Lagos State Government, the outcome of such inquiry must always be based on verified facts and nothing but the truth.

“The transaction referenced by Mr. Rhodes-Vivour never took place. There was a payment request, which was not approved by Mr Governor when the Honorable Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice drew his attention to it because it is irregular.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu will never misappropriate public funds in defiance of his Oath of Office.”