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Court rules on move to probe Fashola March 16

By Abdulwahab  Abdulah

LAGOS — A Lagos High Court sitting in Ikorodu, yesterday extended its earlier order restraining the Lagos State House of Assembly from continuing with its planned probe of Governor Babatunde  Fashola (SAN), over alleged financial impropriety.

The order of the court presided over by Justice Abeeb Abiru was after the conclusion of arguments from parties on whether or not the claimant in the suit, Mr. Richard Akinnola, has the constitutional right or locus standi to file the suit.

Akinnola in his motion on notice had prayed the court to stop the lawmakers from probing the state governor over the alleged financial impropriety published in a newspaper by a group, True Face of Lagos, accusing the governor of corrupt practices as well as claiming that the state lawmakers collected N20 million each to sweep the matter under the carpet.

In their preliminary objection filed by Lagos lawyer, Mr. Festus Keyamo, the lawmakers, however, said the claimant, Akinnola, had no locus standi to initiate the suit in the first place by preventing them from carrying out their constitutional duties.

At the resumed hearing of the case yesterday, Justice Abiru took the substantive suit filed by the claimant alongside the preliminary objections raised by the respondents, the Lagos State House of Assembly and reserved judgment till March 16, 2010 while Mr. Keyamo made an undertaking to ensure that the lawmakers did not do anything to frustrate the suit.

At the early stage of the proceedings, a leader of the Action Congress, AC, who also is a lawyer and a Second Republic House of Representatives member, George Sadiku appeared as ‘Amicus’ and appealed to the court to give the leaders of  AC some time to intervene and settle the crisis.

According to him, the 1962 political crisis that swept peace out of the Western region of the country started like a child’s play and an internal political party crisis which later snowballed into a nationwide problem.
Justice Abiru, however, observed that he was not a party to the suit before the court hence he over ruled his request.

Arguing his motion, Akinnola, through his counsel, Mr. Bamidele Aturu, said the lawmakers had failed to comply with the provisions of Section 128 of the 1999 constitution for their probe, saying: “The purpose of the provisions of the constitution is not for self justification, self indication or self promotion.”
Quoting Speaker of the state House of Assembly on the reason for the probe, Aturu said the argument that they “intend to show to the whole world that there is nothing to hide” does not hold water.


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