By Okunade Adekunle
The members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja Branch and Joint Action Front (JAF), have walked out of the public hearing on Land Use Charge organised by the Lagos State House of Assembly at the Assembly Complex, Alausa, Lagos State..
The members who were led out of the venue by the Chairman of the Branch , Bar. Adesina Ogunlana, exchanged words with the Lawmakers most especially, the Ad-hoc Committee Chairman on Land Matters, Hon. Bayo Osinowo, who could not hold his temper but was later calmed down by the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Rt. (Hon) Mudashiru Obasa.
The rowdy session which lasted for 20mins witnessed serious heat from both divides as the Chairman of Ikeja NBA, Bar. Adesina Ogunlana and the Secretary of Joint Action Front, Com. Abiodun Aremu, said they would continue with their protest on Thursday.
Ogunlana said that the copy of the amended law and necessary documents to enable the association to make meaningful contributions at the public hearing were made available to them yesterday, saying that the association wrote back to the Speaker to postpone the public hearing till after easter period.
He described the public hearing exercise as effort in futility, saying that the short note was not enough for them.
” The copy of the amended law was made available to us very late yesterday and we wrote back to the Speaker to extend it for 2weeks, that the process public hearing can be done after the easter period”
Also, the Coordinator of the Joint Action Front, Com. Abiodun Aremu, said that the organization was against any law that is against the people, saying that there was no public hearing before the law was imposed on the people and which they start to extort and exploit the people.
Aremu argued that the tradition of public hearing in Nigeria was anti-people, saying that it was just a ploy to stamp the decision of the elite.
He added that the Lawmakers were elected by the people, saying that the people can determine what was right and what was wrong.
” We are not pleased with the processes itself. The whole thing is an attempt to win the people and the will of the people supercede any will. We are not satisfied with the process and what they are doing”, said Aremu
While responding to questions from newsmen after the public hearing, the Ad-hoc Committee Chairman on Land Matters, Hon. Bayo Osinowo, argued that there had been public notice on the public hearing for almost three weeks on the pages of newspapers, saying that he was surprised with the reaction by Ikeja NBA and JAF.
Osinowo explained that the NBA Chairman was disrespectful to the authority of the assembly , saying that the House followed the due process in organising the public hearing.
He added that the old charge was still enforced, saying that all the comments and observations by the participants would be considered when the amendment commences.
Osinowo explained that there was no way the Lawmakers would make law or amend existing laws without making recourse to the people, saying that they were voted into power by the people.
“There is no way we can make law or amend an existing law with consulting our people because no one is an island of knowledge. We know they are the one that voted us into power as their representatives, so we can’t do anything without reaching out to them. Am assuring you that all remarks and observations would be duly considered when treating it”, said Osinowo
While speaking with the newsmen immediately after the public hearing, Rt. (Hon) Mudashiru Obasa, said that there is two weeks for anybody to submit his memorandum for consideration by the lawmakers, describing the exercise as successful.
Obasa said further that the House would look at the various sections and issues raised by the participants and make amendment.
“The House would look all issues raised by the people where necessary and we would address them. We have a committee that would work on it and they will get back to us”.