Mudashiru Obasa, Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, on Monday said the House passed nine bills and 45 resolutions in the last one year to ensure good governance in the state.
Obasa, who was speaking at the third edition of the Media and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) Parley at the Assembly complex in Lagos, said the bills and resolutions covered such crucial areas as education, health and environment, among others.
He stressed the role of the legislature in the promotion of culture and tourism in the state, as well as the preservation of statues and monuments, adding that the House was also involved in the sensitisation of the public on plans to include the study of culture in the school curriculum.
These, he added, was in addition to the oversight functions of the legislature to ensure checks and balances with the other arms of government, stressing that although the legislature enjoyed good relationship with the executive in the last three years, it was never a rubber stamp.
He said: “It is necessary to present our score-cards for accountability and to put the records straight. This we have been doing since the beginning of the 8th Assembly. “The House has been a force to reckon with in Lagos State. The Assembly has a critical role to play to ensure good governance.”
Obasa also expressed worry over the recent invasion of the National Assembly (NASS) during which the Senate mace was stolen, describing the incident as an attack on the legislature which must be condemned, even as he stressed the need for everyone to ensure the protection of the nation’s democracy.
He commended the roles of the media and civil society in protecting the nation’s democracy by keeping the other arms on their toes, calling on them to continue in their collaborative functions, which, he noted, had assisted the Lagos Assembly.
Answering a question on the huge refuse dumps in parts of the state, Obasa raised doubts over the legality of the operations of Visionscape, a company in charge of refuse disposal in parts of the state.
As far as he was concerned, Visionscape could be described as a ghost, stressing that efforts were being made to resolve the issue of waste disposal in the state.
He said: “As far as we are concerned, Visionscape is a ghost. We are working on the issue of the huge refuse dumps in Lagos. Some of the PSPs (private sector participants) are back on the streets.” Lagosians had of recent been expressing worries over huge refuse dumps in the state, which was attributed to disagreements that arose due to the involvement of Visionscape in waste collection, an action that saw some of the PSP agents off the streets.
On alleged harassment of students, who put on hijab in schools, buses and public places, Obasa told the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), which brought the complain through Prof. Ishaq Akintola, the organisation’s director, to forward a petition to the House for proper investigation by a relevant committee.
Obasa stressed: “We must do everything to protect the rights of our children. It is not just about faith, but about freedom.” On the controversial Land Use Charge (LUC), Obasa said the issue was in the interest of the state and the people, adding that if the current rate of development was to be sustained, there was need for Lagosians to pay more in terms of taxes.
“But it should not be punitive. We set up a committee to look into the matter. The committee is still working on it. Whatever will be the outcome will be in the interest of the people,” he said.
On condition of roads and infrastructure in parts of the state, he called on the media practitioners and civil society people to send information to the House whenever they discovered that things were not proper, stressing, “There is no abandoned projects in Lagos. It is all on-going.”
He renewed the call for special status for Lagos, and called on everyone to support the move, stressing that “We will continue to press for it until it is achieved as it of right.”