By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, yesterday, inaugurated a five-man Tribunal of Enquiry to investigate the civil unrest in Ibeju-Lekki area of the state on October 12, which led to the gruesome murder of the Managing Director of Lekki Worldwide Investment Limited, Alhaji Tajudeen Disu.
Disu was reportedly killed while resolving a land dispute between members of Okunraye Community and some private companies embarking on various projects within the Lekki Free Trade Zone, LFTZ.
The Governor, while inaugurating the Tribunal, said as a responsive and responsible government, it had become necessary for his administration to set up a Tribunal to investigate the remote cause of the unrest with a view to forestalling future re-occurrence.
He said the unrest, if not properly managed and addressed, could lead to total breakdown of law and order, adding that the government was desirous of protecting the lives and property of the citizens.
Earlier, the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, said in exercise of the powers conferred on the Governor by Section 1 of the Tribunal of Inquiry Law, Laws of Lagos State, 2003, and considering the recent civil disturbances at the Lekki Free Trade Zone, it has become necessary to constitute a panel of enquiry to investigate the unrest.
The terms of reference of the Tribunal, according to Kazeem, include the following; “to find the remote causes of the disturbance; to inquire into all incidental matters that might have led to the event; to collect memoranda from individual stakeholders from various communities and all interested members of the public on the issue; to invite members of the public, stakeholders and all interested members of the public to give evidence leading to the disturbance; to proffer solutions to forestall the re-occurrence of such event in future; and finally, to make necessary recommendations to the government based on the findings of the Tribunal.”
Kazeem also disclosed that the Tribunal has 45 days to submit its report, and that further days might be added subject to the approval of the Governor.
The Tribunal, which is made up of distinguished Nigerians, has retired Lagos State High Court Judge, Hon. Justice Adesuyi Olateru-Olagbegi as Chairman, while members are Otunba Tunde Seriki, senior legal practitioner; Otunba Yemi Lawal, property developer; Surv. Fuad Kassim, former Surveyor General of the Federation; and Hon. (Mrs) Rafeequat Onabamiro, former member of House of Representatives representing Badagry.
A Chief State Counsel in the Lagos State Ministry of Justice, Mr. Adebayo Haroun is to serve as the Secretary of the Tribunal.
Responding on behalf of members of the Tribunal, Justice Olateru-Olagbegi thanked Governor Ambode for the opportunity given to members of the Tribunal to serve the state.
He assured that the members would work diligently and conscientiously to justify the confidence reposed in them.
While congratulating the Governor for his victory at the Supreme Court which affirmed his election, Justice Olateru-Olagbegi said based on the antecedents of the Governor, he was sure that the state was in the best hands.
6 firms sealed over tax evasion
Meanwhile, Lagos State Internal Revenue Service, LIRS, also yesterday, sealed up six companies for non remittance of taxes due to the state government totalling over N50million.
The defaulting companies (Nicon Town Management Company with a tax liability of N36,053,652.89, Marketing Mix and Company Limited with a liability of N10,712,914.15, Hope Valley International Clinic with a liability of 2,389,885.28, BEC Consultants Nigeria Limited with a tax liability of N792,563.47, Goldmine Global Services Limited owing N505,812.73 and Brown Brommel Limited with a liability of N368,159.63) owed the Lagos State Government money for periods ranging from one to five years (2007 to 2012).
A statement signed by the Executive Chairman of LIRS, Mr Olufolarin Ogunsanwo, said the companies were sealed pursuant to the provisions of Section 104 of the Personal Income Tax Act 2004 LFN (as amended in 2011) and will not be re-opened for business until all unremitted taxes are paid to the State Government.
He also warned defaulting companies, especially employers of labour, that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode had zero tolerance for tax evasion and that LIRS was set to begin criminal prosecution of all tax defaulters to ensure that culprits are made to face the full wrath of the law.