• Thursday, December 07, 2023
businessday logo


Lagos procurement scandal: Billion naira fans and phantom contractors

Lagos procurement scandal

In a recent public disclosure, Funso Doherty, a Lagos-based chartered accountant and politician, brought to light some significant allocations in the 2023 budget of the Lagos State Government (LASG).

In the budget, as revealed by Doherty, the governorship candidate of the Action Democratic Congress (ADC), includes staggering amounts earmarked for items such as a charter plane, SUVs, diffusers, and extensive infrastructure.

Doherty, in an open letter addressed to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, detailed various allocations that he believes require greater scrutiny, drawing attention to a register of public procurement awards by LASG for the second and third quarters of 2023.

Among the notable expenditures highlighted were a total of N440 million for brand-new Lexus LX 600 bulletproof sport utility vehicles under the office of the Chief of Staff, and N7,475,000 for the replacement of liquid fragrance in the Governor’s office. Furthermore, a significant sum of N400,000,000 was allocated for ad-hoc charter plane expenses by the state government.

Additionally, Doherty raised concerns over the allocation of N69.9 billion for the repair and upgrade of a section of the Eti Osa/Lekki Expressway, questioning the significant investment in a road rehabilitation project.

The letter also touched on the ongoing Lagos Rail Mass Transit (LRMT) project, highlighting the allocation of N218 billion for phase 2 construction and urging the government to provide assurances against potential cost overruns or inefficiencies.

Lagos State’s Public Procurement (April – September 2023)

Read also:Lagos paid N12.4bn for consultancy on Lagos Mega City project, others — Funso Doherty

Expressing concerns about lavish spending and infrastructure investments, Doherty emphasized the need for transparency and accountability in the management of public funds.

The disclosure sparked significant reactions on various social media platforms, with many Nigerians expressing outrage and disappointment over what they perceive as exorbitant and questionable expenditures by the Lagos State Government.

The revelations triggered a wave of reactions across social media platforms. Citizens expressed dismay and frustration, demanding accountability and ethical stewardship from government officials.

Reacting to these revelations, Olumide Adesina, known as ‘@olumidecapital’ on social media, pinpointed the acquisition of a bulletproof Lexus LX 600 for the office of the Chief of Staff in Lagos, calling for a deeper investigation into the companies awarded government contracts.

Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, a Lagos state governorship candidate under the Labour Party, expressed dismay over what he termed “irresponsible squandering of our common wealth in such difficult times.” He criticized the misalignment between government priorities and the pressing needs of the people, suggesting that these funds could have been used to create jobs and establish a social safety net for Lagosians.

“The irresponsible squandering of our common wealth in such difficult times is here in black and white,” GRV wrote on X. “As seen with the supplementary budget, the priority of this government is at total variance with the priorities and needs of the people.”

He continued, “When you consider the debt Lagos is in and correlate it with our infrastructure deficit, this analysis shows the reality of where these monies are going. Funds that could be directed in ways that create jobs and a social safety net for Lagosians. This level of financial recklessness only exist because the Lagos APC believe that with violence and rigging, they will never have to face the consequences of impoverishing Lagos state. We can not continue to elect a group of people who have no regard for basic decency and care only about enriching themselves and their cronies while they plunder our commonwealth”

Also, Karo (@Karovoni) lamented, “Lagos is being held back by kleptomaniacs,” reflecting widespread sentiment regarding the impact of extravagant spending on societal progress.

Similarly, Pearls (@MissPearls) criticized the allocations, stating, “So they approved N531.5M for the renovation of a Church, Replacement of liquid fragrance for Governor’s office for N7.4M, Monthly empowerment for the wife of Deputy Gov for N30M. Sanwoolu is surely out-thieving Thiefnubu his master!”

Read also: FAAC windfall: Eyes on squandermania governors

Jèfé Juan José (@Jefe_says) expressed disillusionment, reflecting on missed opportunities for change and societal transformation, “The revolution should have happened in 2020 after the EndSARS massacre. Nigerians are not ready to fight for their liberation or a better society.”

Some citizens voiced their frustrations, citing specific allocations and demanding accountability from public officials. While others lamented what they considered to be wastage and misappropriation of public funds that do not directly benefit the average Lagosian.

“This is why the Lagos State Government never deliberately publishes its annual budget. Every time we get a glimpse into it, we see massive financial recklessness, corruption and misappropriation of public funds,” according to @I_Am_Ilemona.

Sam, with the handle ‘@ilynem’ on Twitter, posted “They are telling you that the Igbo man hustling at Alaba to feed his family is your enemy while they use your children’s future to buy air freshener.”

With these revelations creating a stir among the public, many are calling for the Lagos State Government to provide clarifications and assurances regarding the budget allocations, as concerns about fiscal prudence and accountability continue to grow among citizens.