The Lagos State Anti-Corruption law was formulated to enhance transparency and accountability, hallmarks of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration – and not to protect some personalities, the government has said.
The law, which will set up a commission to rein in corruption, has been hailed by lawyers as a step forward for true federalism. But some critics say without any proof – that its motive is to protect some personalities. This is wrong, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso said.
He was speaking on an Arise TV programme, “the Morning Show” in response to an earlier comment by rights activist Mr. Dele Farotimi, who alleged that the anti-corruption bill was signed into law to protect former Governors of Lagos State from investigation.
Omotoso said: “The Governor, while signing the bill into law, noted that it is in fulfilment of the promise he made to the electorate on assumption of office that there would be accountability, transparency and the State’s fund will not be misappropriated, the perpetrators will not get away with it. The assumption that the law targets certain section of the society is highly speculative, presumptuous and in the conjectural imagination of those who think so.”
He maintained that the law aims to rein in anyone who engages in corruption, saying that the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has shown that it is trustworthy, sincere, in whatever it does and means well for the populace.
“Lagosians trust Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, as indicated by the comments and feedback from the populace on the activities of his administration garnered through research,” the Commissioner said.
Asserting that the law is a form of decentralisation of power, a local variant of the Federal Law that would complement those at the federal level and not clash with them.
His words: “If any issue is raised and it gets to a point where it needs to be taken to the Court for clarification, it would help our jurisprudence and advancement of knowledge.”
He explained that so much intellectual exertion went into formulating the law and it has been commended by legal luminaries, just as he anticipated its replication in other States.
Replying to a question about the ongoing JUSUN strike, Omotoso said the Lagos branch only participated in solidarity with others because the Government has fulfilled its obligations to the union. He said discussions with the Union’s chiefs indicated that they would call off their action after consultations with the national body.
While reiterating the commitment of Governor Sanwo-Olu to securing Lagos, he urged citizens to avoid introducing ethnic sentiments into any crisis.
He said: “People need to understand that it is not only when influential people are apprehended and it is broadcast in the media that the Government should be seen as carrying out law enforcement.”
Condemning Monday’s unrest at LASU-Ojo, Omotoso said arrests had been made and emphasised that Mr. Governor directed the Commissioner of Police to ensure that the issue is thoroughly investigated and those found culpable prosecuted.