By Henry Ojelu
A Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja today ordered the Lagos State House of Assembly to maintain status quo in the ongoing probe of procurement of 820 buses by the Administration of former Governor of the state, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode.
Justice Yetunde Adesanya gave the order while ruling on an exparte motion filed by Ambode through his counsel, Tayo Oyetibo SAN.
The court had on Tuesday ordered Oyetibo to put the respondents on notice before hearing the exparte application.
The respondents are the speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, House Clerk, Mr A.A Sanni; Chairman of the Ad hoc Committee set up by the House to probe the procurement, Fatai Mojeed and members of the Committee.
They are Gbolahan Yishawu, A.A Yusuff, Yinka Ogundimu, Mojisola Lasbat Meranda, M.L Makinde, Kehinde Joseph, T.A Adewale and O.S Afinni.
In his statement of claim before the court, Ambode averted that contrary to deliberate misrepresentation of facts by the lawmakers, the procurement of the 820 buses was well captured in the 20 18 Appropriation Law which was duly approved by the House.
He added that having prescribed the manner of withdrawal of funds in sections 3 and 4 of the 2018 Appropn’ation Law, it was unconstitutional for the House to attach another condition in section 9 of the law for further approval to be sought before incurring any expenditure on the purchase of the buses.
Highlighting the specific breach of his constitutional n’ghts to fair hean’ng by the House, the former
Governor said on August 27, 2019 during proceedings of the Assembly, some lawmakers thoroughly vilified and disparaged him as having purchased the buses without budgetary approval and that the procurement was a waste of public ftmds, while at the end of the proceedings, the House resolved to constitute an Ad Hoc Committee to probe the procurement .
He is, therefore, seeking among others, the court’s declaration that the power of the House to pass a resolution under section 128(1) of the Constitution to cause an inquiry into his conduct as Governor is subject to the right to fair hearing as guaranteed by section 36(1) of the Constitution.
He also wants a declaration that the Resolution of the House setting up a 9-Man Committee comprising of the 4th-12th Defendants to investigate all transactions in respect of the 820 Buses said by the defendants to have been procured by him derogates from his right as guaranteed by section 36(1) of the Constitution and therefore is unconstitutional null and void.