By Olasunkanmi Akoni & Monsur Olowoopejo
The Lagos State government has described the recent documentary aired by the British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC2, entitled: â€œWelcome to Lagosâ€ as distasteful to the government and people of the state, saying it has political and economic undertones.
This came just as it dismissed as a routine check the recent invitation of some state officials by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, over financial allegations levelled at them, insisting that no official had been found wanting.
BBC2 had on April 15, 2010 aired a documentary that portrayed Lagos as a huge slum.
The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Opeyemi Bamidele, made the remarks Tuesday while responding to questions from journalists at the 2010 ministerial press briefing in commemoration of the third anniversary of Fasholaâ€™s administration. He noted that the documentary was not the true picture of things in the emerging megacity of Lagos as it ignored world-acclaimed efforts of the state government to uplift the city.
The commissioner noted that every city had its own share of slums, whether it is Lagos, London or New York, and wondered why those areas were given prominence over and above the cleaner and more liveable parts of the city anytime Lagos was involved.
Bamidele, who disclosed that BBC had sent its reply on the protest over the documentary, said: â€œIt makes no sense to us. BBC said they did not mean to humiliate the residents of the state by that documentary, that they meant to show Lagos residents as very resilient people that would make a head way in any situation they find themselves. To us, it has political and economic undertones.
â€œWe do not agree with that explanation from the BBC because being an agent of the British government, we know they have their own interest.â€
On EFCC invitation of some officials
On the recent EFCC invitation extended to some officials of the state government, Bamidele said the anti-graft body actually invited some officials for clarifications on some of its projects.
He said considering the volume of projects going on in the state, the EFCC would definitely ask questions and seek clarifications.
His words: â€œI would have been surprised if EFCC did not invite any member of the Lagos State government. Going by the volume of works in Lagos, it requires EFCC asking questions and inviting us for clarifications. If EFCC has issues to clarify, it is enabled by law to do so.â€
This is quite a routine request from EFCC as an agency of the Federal Government that is saddled with that task and it has to carry it out.
â€œWe have been transparent in our actions we will continue to be accountable to the people of the state as we have been doing every 100 days.â€
While dismissing the allegations by a group called True Face of Lagos, Bamidele stated: â€œOur hands are on plough, we are convinced on the sanctity of our ideas, their allegations were unfounded.â€
Bamidele, giving his score card for the period under review, disclosed that Fashola has approved and released the sum of N26,901,593.26 as gratuity arrears to the retirees of the state printing corporation as part of his commitment to improving the welfare of the state workforce.