Ogun lawmakers bicker over N2bn federal credit

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The move by Governor Ibikunle Amosun to obtain N2billion from a federal account meant for petty traders, has again rekindled the crisis rocking the Ogun State House Assembly.

The fund, an initiative of the Federal Government, through the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, requires that for any state to benefit from it, must follow due process which include an evidence of a resolution of the State assembly.

However, an alleged attempt by the Speaker of the Assembly, Suraj Adekunbi, and twelve others to pass the resolution met a brick wall and degenerated to verbal war, as the other 13 lawmakers vehemently opposed the move and resolution, arguing that the resolution did not meet up the two-third majority requirement of the provisions of the law.

They also argued that the funds many raise the debt profile of the state and also faulted the approval for the use of Ogun State Agricultural and Multi-Purpose Agencies, OSAMCA, to access the money for onward disbursement to the traders.

The CBN requires that the state should establish a Micro Credit/MSME SPV which shall coordinate the applications by Participating Financial lnstitution, PFIs, for the fund.

However, the PFls shall be solely responsible for the appraisal, disbursement and recovery of loans under the Fund.

The 13 opposing lawmakers led by Remmy Hazzan, posited that based on the failure to meet the CBN requirement, OSAMCA was not the qualified agency to access the fund.

However, the crisis resulted in separate and hurriedly-organised press conferences held by the two factions within the assembly complex.

The Remmy Hazzan led faction comprising 13 members signed the press statement to fault the controversial resolution.

In the statement, the faction said the controversial House Resolution 232/2014 of Ogun State House of Assembly was unconstitutional, null and void.

“We, the undersigned members of the Ogun State House of Assembly, arising from the unlawful and disoderly passage of HR 232/2014 of the OGHA state as. follows: That the request for approval of the state government for the participation in the CBN MSMEDF was read to the OGHA on September 4th 2014.

The signatories included Samson Onademuren, Olufemi Allen-Taylor, Abiodun Akovoyon, Adijat Adeleye-Oladapo, Obafemi Olowo-Oloja, Hon. Joseph Obafemi, Salmon Adeleke, Olusegun Elemide, Elizabeth Anifowoshe, John Obafemi, Job Akintan, Bowale Solaja, Remmy Hazzan.

In similar vein, the other members, also numbering 13, led by the Speaker, Suraj Adekunbi, at their own press conference maintained that the resolution was passed, following the submissions of the two commissioners that accessing the fund would not add to the debt profile of the state.

The Chairman House Committee on Finance and Appropriation, Olusola Bankole, and his Information and Strategy Committee counterpart, Olayiwola Ojodu, argued that all the twenty-six lawmakers had earlier at the executive session agreed on the resolution before leaving to the plenary session, hence, there was no basis for dissenting voices.

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