The Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) Ogun and the Human Rights and Grassroots Development Society (HRGDS), have demanded the removal of the Chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts and Anti-corruption, Hon. Lamidi Musefiu and the reconstitution of the committee over an alleged misuse of power.
The groups also faulted the ongoing investigation of a former Special Adviser/DG on Lands, Mr. Biyi Ismail by the House Committee.
Ismail is being probed by the Assembly through the House Committee on Public Accounts and Anti-corruption, headed by Hon. Lamidi Musefiu for alleged financial infractions.
But, the groups declared that, the House Committee is “unprepared, uncoordinated”, saying the probe is a “personal quest with an ulterior motive”.
The groups disclosed this in a statement issued on Tuesday in Abeokuta by the Chairman of CDHR in Ogun State, Mustapha Tiamiyu and the Secretary of HRGDS, Femi Akanbi.
The statement read: “The Ogun State House of Assembly Committee on Public Accounts and Anti- Corruption Committee in its purported and claimed continuation of the review of the 2015-2019 audit queries, has summoned three former Directors General, Bureau of Lands and Survey and other officials who served in the Bureau between 2015- 2019 to appear before it on Thursday, 15th September, 2022.
“It was observed by the representative of CDHR at the sitting of the Committee held on Thursday, 31st of August, 2022 that the House Committee under Hon. Muse Lamidi did not know or have records of the names and the numbers of the Director Generals who had occupied the office it claimed to be investigating,it took the help of one of officers of the Bureau, who was at the sitting to roll out the important information, the Chairman was also skeptical having observers around at the supposed public sitting.
“This is another pointer to the fact that the House Committee simply is unprepared, uncoordinated and indeed on a personal quest with an ulterior motive. The greatest shock for us is the ineptitude exhibited by the Chairman of the Committee, we are wondering why the invites are being extended to just three (3) out of the Four (4) DGs who have occupied the office during the period under review.
“The 4th DG who took over office since the coming in of the current Governor, H.E Price Dapo Abiodun was not mentioned. In the spirit of fairness and equity, if the Committee is competent and factual, everyone who has served as Director General in the said period ought to have been invited since the investigation claims to be based on a ‘report’. Why then is it targeted towards those who served under the last administration alone?
“The Chairman of the Committee, Musefiu whilst addressing the officials of the Lands Bureau, Ogun State specifically requested that the file of Redeemer’s University land owned by the Redeemed Christian Church of God be presented to the Committee, he went further to state that if the file is not presented, Heads will roll in the Bureau.
“The Chairman was assertive and claims to suspect anomalies in the allocation of the Redeemer’s University Land and others in the State.
“For the Committee Chairman to have asserted that heads will roll in an ongoing investigation shows that he has facts at his disposal, the same Committee Chairman however failed to extend complete invite to all the concerned DGs, this is clearly a selective witch hunting and we challenge the Chairman to extend the invite to the current DG lands also so that he can defend the records of fraud for several billions of naira allegedly committed.
“There was a mild drama during the sitting of the Committee in respect of the claim that the Bureau’s erstwhile Director General, Mr. Biyi Ismail failed to honor the invite of the Committee, the Committee Secretary noted that, Mr. Biyi Ismail in actual facts, honored the two invites extended to him and that on one of the occasions it was the Committee that failed to sit even though Mr. Ismail honored the invite.
“The Committee Chairman then read out a personal invite he sent out to the erstwhile Director General via WhatsApp, such an action of Chairman of the Committee is surprising and unacceptable. The Chairman of such an important Committee of the House should be well exposed to know that such an invite does not and will not count.
“The CDHR wonders why a member of a ruling party will be the head of a Committee which traditionally should be headed by a member of the House who is in an opposition party. Are there no Honorables in the opposition party in Ogun State? The occupation of this important committee is one of the reasons for so much rot in manner of conduct at the Public Account and Anti-Corruption Committee of the Ogun State House of Assembly and the current administration, there is no watchdog and it is APC Members occupying every position including that which by practice, rules and tradition should be headed by the opposition.
“Our representative noted that all members of the House Committee Hon. Abdul Bashir Oladunjoye, Hon. Ganiyu Oyedeji, Hon. Kunle Sobukanla and Hon. Amosun Yusuf who were present are all members of the All Progressives Congress.
“Sadly, the House Committee headed by Hon. Muse apart from being improperly constituted is believed to be misusing the powers of the honorable office to pursue a personal squabble to malign and pose wrongful accusation, he however, claims not to be witch-hunting but the one sided invite and hasty publication based on fallacy proves to negate his assertions and exposes the actual intentions.
“The CDHR and HRGDS are however, curious to grasp the soul of the Investigation. The CDHR and HRGDS hereby demand that Musefiu Lamidi step aside as the Committee Chairman and charge the House leadership to immediately reconstitute the Public Account and Anti-Corruption Committee as the activities under Musefiu leadership may amount to nullity, the Ogun State House of Assembly standing order is clear about the membership of the committee, procedural breach is a total disrespect for rule of law. Lawmakers should not be Lawbreakers”.