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Protesters threaten Lagos lawmakers over moves to impeach Ambode

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.Assembly holds emergency meeting, insists on Ambode’s appearance on Monday

.Group gives Assembly deadline

IBRAHIM QUADRI

Hundreds of protesters on Wednesday embarked on peaceful march to the Lagos State House of Assembly to demand immediate end to moves by lawmakers to impeach the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.

The protesters said that the plot to impeach the governor was not only self-serving but capable of setting the state ablaze and scaring away investors.

The demonstrators who carried out the protest under the auspices of Lagos People’s Assembly – a coalition of civil society groups in the state, displayed placards of various inscriptions such as “Lagos people reject planned impeachment of Ambode, it’s self-serving; Lagosians love Ambode for his good works; We say let there be smooth transition for the sake of peace; Stop scaring investors and tourists from Lagos; Don’t set Lagos ablaze; and Lagos APC should be careful, election is around the corner,” among others.

The lawmakers had threatened to impeach the governor over alleged gross misconduct, particularly with regards to the 2019 appropriation bill.

But the protesters, led by human rights activist, Declan Ihekaire, said it was important for the lawmakers to drop the impeachment plan, and rather work with Governor Ambode to complete all ongoing projects and deliver democratic goodies to the people.

He said any move to forge ahead with the plan to impeach the lawmakers would ultimately affect the people negatively, and as such, all the parties – both executive and the legislature should sheathe their swords and rather concentrate on the dire need to work in the interest of the people.

“Lagos, it is trite to emphasize here, is the social and economic nerve centre of the country. A home to over 20 million population with gross infrastructural deficits. As far as we are concerned, if the two arms of government are determined to ensure that the welfare of the people is the supreme law of governance, then, it should be convenient to find a common-ground to resolve any ensuing misunderstanding.

“However, if the impasse is allowed to fester into huge political conflagration, the state and residents would be the victims of such a conflict. Besides, the general election is fast approaching and mischievous detractors on both sides would not hesitate to gain maximum personal aggrandizement from the conflict and such situation has the potential to disrupt the tradition of seamless transition of power and undermine the state’s social and economic geometric pace of development.

“We are appealing to the House of Assembly that, in the interest of one love and people of the state, they should leave Ambode to finish his tenure; the lawmakers should leave the governor to complete ongoing projects because that is what the people want,” Ihekaire said.

Responding, Majority Leader, Lagos House of Assembly, Hon Sinai Agunbiade, commended the protesters for conducting themselves in peaceful and orderly manner, assuring that the House would look into their petition and act accordingly.

Meanwhile, following protest that greeted the threat to impeach the Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, members of the State Assembly went into an emergency meeting in the Assembly premises.

The lawmakers had after the session insisted that the governor must appear before at the plenary on Monday next week with three of his commissioners. It would be recall that the House had on Monday adjourned plenary to February 4.

The Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa told the lawmakers on Monday that it was important to give the Governor a fair hearing over the issue involving the Governor and the 2019 Budget.

Obasa stated that there have been violations of the constitution and infractions on the part of the Governor.”The Attorney General, Finance Commissioner and Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning that ought to have advised the Governor did not do so.

“The most important thing is that we should let the people know that a budget that was yet to be approved was being spent, which was why we could not attend to the Governor on the budget on Monday 21, January. We must give them a fair hearing to come and explain what happened.

“The point has been made that there must be something before the House before you can commence expenditure. We want to call on the Governor to come within a week to explain himself.”We can start gathering signatures for impeachment. We can exercise patience and wait till another time,” he said.

In an apparent reaction to the Assembly’s threat, a Civil Society Organisation, Legislative Probity and Accountability gave the Lagos Assembly a five-day deadline to respond to its demands.

The group is demanding that the lawmakers account for the N28.8 billion running cost which they allegedly collected under the leadership of the Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa.

The Group alleged that the money was to serve as running cost which they allegedly collected under the leadership of Obasa.The LPA threw the challenge in a statement sent to Legit.ng and signed by its chairman, Olu Fajana in Abuja.

“While we will refrain from dabbling into the politics of this misadventure, we demand that the Lagos Assembly lawmakers must come to equity with clean hands.

“It is not our duty to ask the lawmakers not to probe Ambode if he has committed any infraction, we dare say that the Mudashiru Obasa has been collecting N9.6 billion each year and has so far pocketed N28.8billion as running cost out of which the entire members have been paid only N2.4 billion in three years,” it stated.

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