Journalism of Courage

Lagos lawmakers’ probe of Ambode : Court orders status quo ante, adjourns until Nov. 20




An Ikeja High Court has fixed Nov. 20 for the hearing of the suit filed by ex-Lagos Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode against the State House of Assembly currently probing the purchase of 820 buses by his administration five months after leaving office.


In a swift move to counter the lawmakers who had “invited’’ him to appear before them over alleged misappropriation of funds through  about N3 million newspaper adverts, Ambode had instituted the suit against the lawmakers, the Speaker, Mr Mudashiru Obasa and the House Clerk, Mr A.A. Sanni.


Other respondents in the suit are Mr Fatai Mojeed, the Chairman of the ad-hoc Committee set up by the House to probe the procurement of the buses and the other eight members of the Committee.


The eight-member ad-hoc committee comprises Mr Gbolahan Yishawu, Mr A.A. Yusuf, Mr Yinka Ogundimu, Mrs Mojisola Meranda, Mr M.L. Makinde, Mr Kehinde Joseph, Mr Temitope Adewale and Mr Olanrewaju Afinni.


On Oct. 29, following a motion ex-parte moved by Ambode’s counsel, Mr Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), Justice Yetunde Adesanya, ordered that the lawmakers should appear before the court on Oct. 30 (today) in connection with the ongoing probe.


The lawmakers were, however, absent at Wednesday’s court proceedings but were represented by a counsel, Mrs Adenike Oshinowo.


Oyetibo told the court that all the respondents had been served with the court processes the previous day.


“Your lordship directed that we serve the respondents with the Application of Notice which has been done.


“We are ready for the Application of Notice filed on Oct. 28 and all the originating processes have been served,” Oyetibo told the court as the case was called up.


Responding, Oshinowo informed the court that the lawmakers would be opposing the motion and that the respondents were served the court documents very late the previous day.


She said:“We were served the Motion on Notice very late yesterday my lord and we shall be opposing the motion.


“We shall be asking the court for a date to regularise our processes.’’


Following the submissions of counsel, Justice Adesanya while adjourning the case, ordered parties to maintain the status quo.


The case was adjourned until Nov. 20 at the instance of both counsel for hearing.


Ambode is seeking a court injunction restraining the lawmakers to compel him to appear before them pursuant to a resolution passed by the House of Assembly on Aug. 27 as well as any other resolution passed in respect of the buses probe.


The immediate past governor also wants an injunction restraining the respondents from representing or continuing to represent to the public that he procured 820 buses in breach of budgetary approval.


The claimant wants a court declaration that the powers of the State Assembly under Sections 103, 128 and 129 of the 1999 Constitution as amended did not include power to indict him as contemplated by Sections 66(1)(h), 137(1)i and 182(1)i of the Constitution.


In addition, Ambode seeks a court declaration that the provisions of Sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 8 and 9 of the Appropriation Law of Lagos State 2018 requiring the approval of the House of Assembly before certain expenditure of money is incurred by the executive branch of the state is not in accordance with Constitutional provisions.

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