CIVIL Society Groups for Good Governance, CSGGG, has condemned the publication by two major media platforms indicating the then Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, of illegal payment of ₦4.6 billion into the personal accounts of some officials.
In a press statement, Comrade Ogakwu Dominic described the action of the platforms as a malicious attempt to tarnish the good image of Fashola, cause chaos, and mislead Nigerians.
Ogakwu stated that the media, as the watchdog of the society, should embrace the need to tow the path of confirmation, balance perspectives in its reportage instead of being biased just to gain popularity and more audience.
He reiterated that getting clarification and disseminating the appropriate information is key and the unity of our nation is non-negotiable.
“Our organization, Civil Society Groups for Good Governance, an assemblage of over 180 civil society organizations, totally committed to advocating for patriotism, truth, voice and accountability that consciously breeds transparency and neutrality, have observed with staggering consternation the recent publication by PremiumTimesng and SaharaReporters on November 16 with the headline: INVESTIGATION: Authority Stealing: How Fashola’s ministry illegally paid ₦4.6B billion into officials‘ personal accounts and how ministry headed by the ex-Lagos governor, Fashola, illegally paid ₦4.6 billion into officials’ personal accounts, indicting and dragging through the mud, the ministry of works, power, and housing headed by Fashola.
“First of it is imperative to note that the role that the media plays as the watchdog of the society is indispensable.
“There is an urgent need to also remember that information should not be published until adequate research is made and its coherence and completeness are achieved because misleading reports are capable of creating chaos, causing panic and hatred which could be detrimental to national development.
“The above assertion is premeditated on the fact that as the fifth estate of the realm and as an organization averse to dishonesty, subterfuge and other sharp practices, we have duly made a research and carried out an independent investigation into the allegations above-mentioned, and it is on this note that we have decided to let the media in on the facts,” the statement read.
Also, the CSOs decried what they described as constant misreport against the person of Fashola during his time in office as minister of works and housing who was accused of paying into accounts monies amounting to N4.6 billion.
“It may interest you to know that Olasehinde Micah, Oguri Ugochukwu Pascal, Oluwadare Festus Oluwatayo, Adekunle Ogunfadebo, and Ahmad Mohammad, were all project accountants of the ministry.
“Monies paid into their accounts were meant to finance different government programs, making the account’s official, as it was tagged “Projects Account”; which was even consented and appended to by the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation.
“Furthermore, on the issue of the right of way which is a legal right, established by usage or grant, to pass along a specific route through grounds or property belonging to another, and contrary to the media publication, the appropriation before us for every recovery of a right of way nationwide is N2.3 billion and N700 million was cash.
“This means that there was no extra-budgetary expenditure as claimed by the media platforms,” it added.