820 Buses Probe: Ambode Asks Appeal Court To Order Retrial Of His Case

A file photo of former Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode.

 

Hours after the Lagos High Court struck out his application seeking a restraining order against the State House of Assembly, the former Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode has filed his notice of appeal.

A copy of the document as obtained by Channels Tv’s judiciary correspondent, Shola Soyele shows that the former Governor is seeking an order of the appeal court restraining the lawmakers from going ahead or taking further steps in respect of the probe pending the final determination of the appeal.

The former governor also wants the court to make an order restraining the lawmakers from taking any steps that will deprive him of his personal right to liberty pending the determination of the appeal.

READ ALSO: UPDATED: Court Dismisses Ambode’s Suit To Stop Lagos Assembly From Probing Him

In a 17 paragraph affidavit deposed to by a legal practitioner, Olufeyijimi Tayo-Tiwo, Mr Ambode says that unless the lawmakers are restrained, they will act on the recommendations of its 9-man ad-hoc committee set up to investigate all transactions in respect of the 820 buses, a committee which he claims has already vilified, disparaged and denigrated him at a previous sitting of the House of Assembly on 27th Aug. 2019.

He further submits that there is a real danger that he will be further exposed to public ridicule & opprobrium, the embarrassment, and stigma of which will have become irreparable by the time the appeal would be concluded, thereby rendering any judgment of the court of appeal ineffectual and worthless.

Indeed, the sole issue for determination in the notice of appeal is, “whether having regard to all the reliefs he is seeking, the former Governor is not entitled to an order of injunction pending the determination of his appeal”

The notice of appeal document lists Four grounds of Appeal and former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode is contending among other things that the court erred when it held that his suit was premature, does not disclose a reasonable cause of action and that the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain it.

He also contends that the court was wrong in holding that the exercise of the lawmakers powers of investigation under Section 128(1) of the constitution is subject to his right to fair hearing as guaranteed by Section 36(1) of the constitution especially when his right was being violated.

He’s asked the appeal court to set aside the decision of the Lagos High Court and an order remitting the matter back to the Chief Judge of Lagos, Justice Kazeem Alogba to reassign the case to another judge for trial.

820 Buses Saga: Court Fixes Feb 27 To Rule On Jurisdiction In Ambode’s Case

A file photo of former Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode.

 

A Lagos High Court sitting in the Ikeja area has fixed Feb. 27 rule on whether it has the jurisdiction to entertain a suit filed by former Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos, seeking an injunction restraining some of the state lawmakers from probing him over the purchase of 820 buses.

Through his lawyer, Tayo Oyetibo, SAN, the former governor told the court that the lawmakers need to act in line with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution.

Oyetibo said that the former governor’s rights under Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution were being violated.

“His case is that the exercise of the lawmakers power is subject to the provision of the Constitution particularly the right to fair hearing as contained in Section 36.

“Secondly, the court will determine whether the exercise of the power of the House of Assembly is subject to the provisions of the Constitution under Section 128.

READ ALSO: Alleged N2.2bn Fraud: Fayose Challenges EFCC’s Move To Introduce New Witness

“If the court answers the second question in the affirmative, it has the right to ask if those rights have been violated by the House of Assembly,” the counsel submitted.

“We are also asking your lordship to determine the validity of a law or provision that will require the executive to come back to the House to seek disbursement of funds approved under the budget.

“The fifth relief is tied to the fourth relief: The lawmakers have been accusing the claimant of breach of budgetary approval. If there is no need for budgetary approval, they cannot accuse him of a breach,” he said.

He urged the court to dismiss the objection of the lawmakers with substantial costs.

Counsel to the lawmakers, Olukayode Enitan, SAN, on his part challenged the competence of the court to hear the suit based on three grounds.

“The first ground is that it is ultra vires (beyond legal power or authority) – that is, the power of the court to interfere with any investigation of the Lagos State House of Assembly or any arm of government based on the principle of separation of powers.

“The second ground is that the suit is preemptive and premature and not actionable, and the third ground is that it discloses no reasonable cause of action.

“I urge the court to decline jurisdiction as this suit is premature,” he said.

Enitan said that rather than accept an invitation to attend a probe sought by the House of Assembly, Ambode “rushed” to the court.

“The claimant has not been indicted; he has been invited to come and explain some things to us, but instead he ran to court.

Ambode’s Probe: Court Adjourns Case Till Nov 20

 

The Lagos State House of Assembly on Wednesday agreed to halt proceedings in the probe of former Governor of the State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, over procurement of 820 buses for public transportation.

Ambode had instituted a suit against the Assembly, the Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa and others, to contest the constitutionality of the probe, accusing them of bias and misrepresentation of facts.

When the matter came up in court on Wednesday morning, Ambode’s lawyer, Mr. Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), informed the court of his pending application for an interlocutory injunction, saying that same had been served on the defendants.

READ ALSO: Gunmen Kidnap Another Judge In Edo

In response, a team of lawyers of the defendants led by Mrs. Adenike Oshinowo and included Mrs. Adegbite and Ms. Olayemi Johnson confirmed service of the application but pleaded for time since the processes were served at about 6pm on Tuesday.

They specifically requested two weeks to respond but the date they suggested was not convenient for the court.

Responding, Oyetibo did not object to the application of the defendants for adjournment but urged the Court to direct parties to maintain the status quo. In her response, the presiding Judge, Justice Yetunde Adesanya, said “it goes without saying” and called on Mrs. Osinowo for her response who also agreed that the status quo would be maintained by the Defendants.

The court then adjourned the matter to November 20, 2019, for the hearing of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.

With the ruling, the former Governor cannot be summoned to appear again before the House probe panel as both parties have agreed to maintain the status quo till the new hearing date.

According to his statement of claim before the court, Ambode had said contrary to deliberate misrepresentation of facts by the lawmakers, the procurement of the 820 buses was well captured in the 2018 Appropriation Law which was duly approved by the House.

“In section 1 of the Bill, the 1st Defendant (House of Assembly) authorized the total Budget for the year 2018 to be One Trillion, Forty Six Billion, One Hundred and Twenty One Million, One Hundred and Eighty-One Thousand, Six Hundred and Eighty Naira (N1,046,121,181,680.00) comprising the sum of Three Hundred and Forty Seven Billion, Thirty-Eighty Million, Nine Hundred and Thirty-Eight Thousand, Eight-Hundred and Seventy-Two Naira (N347,038,938,872.00) only and Six Hundred and Ninety-Nine Billion, Eighty-Two Million, Two Hundred and Forty-Two Thousand, Eight Hundred and Eighty Naira (N699,082,242,808.00) only as the Recurrent and Capital Expenditures respectively.

“Part of the items authorized by the Bill under Capital Expenditure was: “LAGBUS Public Transport Infrastructure (MEPB); Part financing of 820 buses” which was item 8 under schedule 1- Part C of the Bill,” the former Governor averred.

He added that having prescribed the manner of withdrawal of funds in sections 3 and 4 of the 2018 Appropriation 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 rights to fair hearing 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 funds, while at the end of the proceedings, the House resolved to constitute an Ad Hoc Committee to probe the procurement.

He said it was surprising that the very lawmakers who contributed actively in vilifying, disparaging and denigrating him constituted the bulk of the members of the Committee, which was a clear derogation of his right to fair hearing.

Ambode added that in continuation of deliberate misrepresentation of facts of the issue, the House falsely claimed that an invitation had been extended to him to appear before the Committee but that he failed to honour the said invitation.

“The Claimant states that no letter of invitation was delivered to him before the 4th and 5th Defendants made the false allegation against the Claimant which was widely reported by various national Newspapers in the country.”

He added that the House Committee and indeed the entire members of the House had already adjudged him as having committed wastage of public fund by the procurement of the buses in question and had also already determined that the procurement was done by him as opposed to the State Government.

He said it was obvious that the lawmakers were totally biased against him having regard to their pronouncements on the floor of the House by reason of which he believes that his right to fair hearing as guaranteed by the Constitution had been seriously compromised by the defendants.

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 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.

He is therefore, among others seeking:

“AN INJUNCTION restraining the Defendants whether by themselves, their servants, agents and or representatives from compelling the Claimant, in any manner whatsoever, to appear before the Defendants pursuant to the Resolution passed by the Defendants on 27th August 2019 or any other Resolution passed in respect of the subject matter of this Suit.

“AN INJUNCTION restraining the Defendants whether by themselves, their servants, agents and or representatives from representing or continue to represent to the Public that the Claimant, AKINWUNMI AMBODE, procured 820 buses in breach of budgetary approval.”

Lagos Assembly Summons Ambode For A Second Time

A file photo of former Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode.

 

The Lagos state house of assembly has summoned Akinwunmi Ambode, former governor of the state, a second time to account for some transactions carried out by his administration. 

This second summon comes two weeks after the Assembly had asked the former governor to appear before it, an invitation which Ambode did not honour.

According to the notice of summon as published in national dallies, the Assembly asked Ambode appear before the House as to clear the air regarding certain financial dealings during his administration.

The former governor is to answer five major questions including, “(1) Unauthorised discounting of promissory note; (2) Purchase of 820 buses by his administration without due authorisation; (3) Misappropriation of Special Expenditure Funds; (4) Improper implementation of the Appropriation Law; and (5) Non-adherence to the Financial Regulations of the state”.

He is to furnish the Assembly with 15 copies each of all relevant document(s) relating to the issues raised through the Office of the Clerk of the House on or before Tuesday, October 29, 2019.

EFCC Accuses Ambode’s Supporters Of Injuring Three Officials, Damaging Vehicle

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has accused supporters of the former governor of Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode of injuring three officials of the commission and damaging its official vehicle.

The incident occurred on Tuesday when the anti-graft agency raided the home of the former governor.

A statement by the spokesman to the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren says, “the attempt by Operatives of EFCC to execute a search warrant on the residences of a former Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode was on Tuesday August 20, 2019 resisted by hoodlums loyal to the governor.

READ ALSO: EFCC Raids Ambode’s Home

“The thugs attacked the Operatives and vandalized their vehicle.

“The Commission had obtained valid warrant to conduct search on Ambode’s residences in Park View, Ikoyi and country home in Epe, as part of ongoing investigation of alleged malfeasance”.

Mr Uwajaren further explained that the Commission’s operatives were attacked and prevented from executing the search warrant in Epe by irate youths who injured three officers and damaged EFCC official vehicle.

“The attack was totally unprovoked as the Commission’s operatives were civic and did not molest anybody”.

He noted that the commission frowns at the attempt to manipulate the video of the search to create the wrong impression that officers of the agency molested residents at the Epe home of the governor.

According to him, “It is also not true that the search, was an attempt to plant foreign currencies in the home of the former governor”.

EFCC Raids Ambode’s Home

 

Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday morning raided the home of the former governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode in Epe area of Lagos.

The commission’s spokesman, Mr Tony Orilade, confirmed to Channels Television that “the visit by the operatives is part of an ongoing corruption investigation.”

The raid on the former governor’s house comes few days after a federal high court in Lagos ordered the freezing of three bank accounts allegedly linked to Ambode over a N9.9 billion fraud following an ex parte application by the EFCC.

Ambode in reaction denied this. He said no account of his contained N9.9billion let alone being frozen by the EFCC.

READ ALSO:

Alleged Fraud: No N9.9bn Traced To My Account – Ambode

‘We Are Investigating Ambode,’ Says EFCC

He added that he served Lagos well with utmost dedication and integrity and his record is clear and his mind joyful for the opportunity to have served the state diligently.

According to him, there has been no communication between him and the EFCC on the issue and the accounts in question belong to the Lagos State government and not any individual.

Why I Didn’t Attend Sanwo-Olu’s Inauguration – Ambode

Lagos Govt Pardons 14 Inmates After 20 Years
Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode (file)

 

The immediate past Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, has explained reasons why he did not attend the formal inauguration of Mr Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat.

According to him, the newly inaugurated governor and deputy-governor should be allowed to be the star of the occasion.

In a short statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Habib Aruna, on Wednesday, Ambode congratulated Governor Sanwo-Olu and urged him to enjoy his historic day without having him share in the glory.

He said he has had a quality private moment with his successor.

The former governor was confident that with the prayers, cooperation and collective support of all Lagosians, the new government would succeed in the excellent tradition of progressive governance which state has been known for.

“I have already formally handed over reign of power in the State to the new Governor in a most cordial and convivial ceremony at the State House yesterday. The formal inauguration should have Mr. Sanwo-Olu as the star of the day. I don’t think that glory should be shared with him by my presence.”

READ ALSO: President Buhari Sworn In For Second Term

Ambode had in a farewell State broadcast on Tuesday, officially marked the end of his administration.

“By tomorrow (Wednesday), there will be a change of guard in our State. I will be stepping down and a new Governor will be sworn in. We will have a new Governor and a new administration with the same objective; achieving a better Lagos.

“To all Lagosians; for your love, compassion, cooperation, and support, I am eternally grateful. My love always,” Ambode concluded.

African Football Legends Honour Ambode In Testimonial Match

 

African and Nigerian football legends lit up the Agege Stadium during a testimonial match in honour of the Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode as he ends his tenure in office.

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Habib Haruna, on Saturday, described the game, which was watched by a full capacity crowd at the stadium as thrilling.

The game had the biggest Nigerian stars coached by Olympic gold medal-winning coach, Bonfere Joe.

The Nigerian legend team had; Jay Jay Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu, Samson Siasia, Daniel Amokachi, Augustine Eguavoen, Mutiu Adepoju,  Emmanuel Amunike, Taribo West, Uche Okechukwu, Garba Lawal,  Peter Rufai and Ike Shorunmu.

READ ALSO: Fairytale Farewell For Robben And Ribery As Bayern Win Bundesliga

Others include Finidi George, Victor Ikpeba, Obafemi Martins, Tijani Babangida, Julius Aghahowa and Sam Sodje, while Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shuaibu and Ayo Makun, popularly known as AY, featured in the game.

Meanwhile, The African legend team, coached by former U-17 Golden Eaglets coach, Fanny Amun had the likes of El Hadji Diouf, Diomansy Kamara, Titi Kamara, Christian Karembeu, Stephen Appiah, Didier Zokora, Lomana Lua Lua, Khalilou Fadiga and Seydou Keita.

The game opened with a guard of honour for Governor Ambode by both teams, as he made way to perform the official kick-off for the match.

Kanu Nwankwo opened the scoring in the first half before Titi Kamara equalised for the African legends within a space of two minutes. A fowl in the penalty box by Taribo West on El-Hadji Diouf was converted by Titi Kamara which put the African stars 3-1 at half time.

In the second half, goals from either side ended the game in a thrilling 4-4 draw.

The Governor was also inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Nigeria Supporters Club (NSC) for his unwavering support towards sports development and especially football in Nigeria.

The event was also spiced up by music performances by top Nigerian artistes, including Two Baba, Small Doctor, among others.

Amobde Visits Buhari, Says He Has Learnt Some Lessons As A Politician

 

The Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, on Monday visited President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

Governor Ambode during his visit to the President said he has learnt some lessons as a politician.

He commended the President for inaugurating some projects in the state adding that his administration has touched the lives of Lagosians.

The Lagos State Ambode had lost his re-election bid following his failure to win the primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2018.

Ambode Preaches Love, Tolerance In Easter Message To Lagosians

Ambode Proposes N852.317bn Budget For 2019
A file photo of Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode.

 

Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has called on Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of tolerance, peaceful co-existence and sacrifice for one another, which Jesus Christ demonstrated throughout his period on earth.

The Governor, in his Easter message, said the celebration of the resurrection of Christ which the season represents, should be a constant reminder for everyone to extend the virtues of selflessness, love, sacrifice and tolerance.

In a statement by the Chief Press Secretary, Habib, the governor urged Christians to use the season as a period to reflect on their individual and collective roles towards promoting and sustaining the foundation of love, peace and harmony in the nation.

“We must therefore see this period as a time that presents us the viable opportunity to think about how we can help to steer our nation back on the road to peace, stability and prosperity, by working in the spirit of togetherness because no nation can make any meaningful progress in an atmosphere riddled with pockets of violence and killings,” the Governor said.

He said with the elections over, it was time for every Nigerian, to unite together and eschew bitterness along ethnic and religious lines for the sake of a more prosperous Nigeria, adding that no challenge is insurmountable where the unity of purpose thrives.

READ ALSO: Saraki Calls For ‘Selfless Service’ From Nigerians In Easter Message

“The elections have come and gone, we must not allow our political leanings determine our actions. The Nigeria we desire will only be a reality if all hands are on deck towards achieving a peaceful, united, strong, progressive and prosperous country. This is the time for us to avoid all divisive, parochial, ethnic and religious sentiments and rivalries, and begin to live more harmoniously with one another, as Jesus Christ enjoined us to,” he said.

Governor Ambode also commended Lagosians for the sustained peaceful co-existence that the State has experienced since the commencement of his administration despite being home to multi-ethnic, cultural and religious diversities.

He assured residents that his administration would continue to work for the greater good of the State until he exits the office.

Ambode Orders Demolition Of Over 80 Marked Buildings In Lagos Island

Marked building for demolition in Lagos Island

 

The Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has ordered the demolition of over 80 buildings in Lagos Island earlier marked to be brought down.

The order follows the collapse of a three-storey building in the Ita Faaji area of the Island, housing a primary school said to be located on the second floor of the building, killing both children and adults.

During an assessment of the disaster scene on Wednesday, Governor Ambode vowed to demolish all illegal school buildings in the area and some structures marked unfit in Smith, Palm Church and Adeniji Adele Streets.

READ ALSO: Lagos Govt Confirms 20 Killed In Collapsed Building

Following the governor’s order, officials of the State Building Control Agency led by its Acting General Manager, Omotayo Fakolujo, moved in on Friday to begin the demolition

Mr. Fakolujo told Channels Television that officials were acting based on the governor’s directives, adding that most owners of some illegal structures were evading arrest despite disobeying the government’s order.

He said, “I can say that the owners and tenants are recalcitrant, inasmuch as we try to evict them, they continue to evade arrest and go through the back door and we feel that this structure might go down as soon as possible and that is why we have to bring it down today.

“There is a lot of legal tussles that relate to demolition. For this one, we just had a clearance from the court last week. We are moving to Smith, Palm Church and Adeniji Adele where we have marked over 20 structures for demolition.

He added that the government was also trying to evacuate occupants of most of the structures about to collapse.

Building Collapse: Ambode Urges Residents To Allow Rescue Operations

Ambode Visits scene of Lagos Building collapse

 

The Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has visited the scene of the three-storey building collapse at the Ita Faaji area of Lagos Island, urging residents to allow rescue operations.

He described the incident as unfortunate and commiserated with families of victims who lost their lives, most of whom are children.

The three-storey residential building, located at No 14, Massey Street, Opposite Oja, Ita-Faaji, houses a primary school on its penthouse, caved in at about 10am on Wednesday morning trapping scores of pupils of the school in the process.

The governor upon arrival at the incident appealed to residents to allow rescue operators to carry out their operations without any hinderance, so as to rescue more children still trapped under the rubbles.

READ ALSOChildren Feared Killed, Others Trapped In Lagos Building Collapse

“I want to commiserate with the families of those that lost their lives in this collapsed building. I want to quickly let Lagosians know that this is quite an unfortunate incident. All we are trying to do is to scale up this rescue operation. Our response units are already here; we are getting additional cranes to be able to go deeper than where we are now to rescue more lives.

“I just want to appeal to people that when we are doing this kind of rescue operation, yes, sympathizers will naturally come but I want to appeal that they should give the rescue workers the chance to save more lives,” he said.

The Governor said his Deputy, Mrs. Oluranti Adebule, had also visited the hospitals where some of the victims rescued had been taken to, assuring that the State Government would immediately take over their treatment and foot their entire bill.

“The Deputy Governor is in the hospital actually taking care of those that were rescued and taken to the hospital most especially the children. On the part of the government, we would immediately take care of whatever it is that we can do, including the hospital bills.

“All we are interested in now is to save more lives and also see how those that have been rescued are put in proper place and proper care,” he said.

Giving a brief of the situation, the Governor said he had received information that the building was a residential one, with the school operating illegally within the premises, adding that about two floors of the building sunk to the ground.

He said most of the buildings in the area had been marked for demolition, but that some property owners in the area defy such notices, assuring that going forward, structural defective buildings would be demolished.

“The first observation is that this is an old building and it is only the Pent House and the other floors that we have been able to use to rescue people.

“So far, from what I have been briefed, we have rescued about 25 people and some already dead but we were earlier informed that it was a school, the building is not technically a school, it is a residential building that was actually accommodating an illegal school so to speak on the second floor.

“Like we have said, we have been carrying out a lot of integrity tests on the buildings in this neighborhood and as you can see, some of them have been marked for demolition but we get resistance from landlords but we must continue to save lives and we would intensify our efforts to see that those have failed our integrity test, we would ensure that they are quickly evacuated and we bring the structures down,” he said.

Governor Ambode also said that a full-scale investigation would be carried out immediately rescue operations are concluded, vowing that those found culpable would be severely dealt with in accordance with the relevant laws.

“This is unfortunate but we will investigate what has happened and also see the punishment for whoever are the culprits. That is the secondary level but the most important thing right now is to save lives and I just appeal to people that they should give us the chance to save more lives,” he said.

He assured that rescue operations would continue until all victims are rescued, adding that the General Officer Commanding 81 Division and the Brigade Commander were on ground to maintain peace and ensure smooth rescue operations.

“That is what is important to us and the more lives we save, the better for us,” he said.

Responding to a concern raised by a resident on the increase in illegal schools in the area, Governor Ambode said all schools that fall within that category would be closed down.