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‘THISDAY’S Attack Borne Out Of Malice’—LASG

Posted by on 2008/07/22 | Views: 2007 |

‘THISDAY’S Attack Borne Out Of Malice’—LASG

The Lagos State Government, yesterday stoutly defended its integrity pointing out that recent publications of THISDAY newspaper casting aspersion on its character were borne out of malice, mischief and parochial self-interest.

The Lagos State Government, yesterday stoutly defended its integrity pointing out that recent publications of THISDAY newspaper casting aspersion on its character were borne out of malice, mischief and parochial self-interest.

Mr. Opeyemi Bamidele, the Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, told journalists in Lagos yesterday that, contrary to insinuations by THISDAY, the state government strictly follows due process and transparency in the award of all contracts.

According to him, “Hi-tech is a highly reputable and reliable construction company that has handled projects of very high quality in Lagos State and at costs that are even lower than the rates used by the Federal Government.”

The Commissioner cited some of the jobs satisfactorily handled by Hi-tech to include the reconstruction of Saka Tinubu Street , Victoria Island, which has a very difficult terrain, construction of Adetokunbo Ademola road, rehabilitation of the bridge to Aboyade Cole and the ongoing reclamation, stabilization and transformation of the Bar Beach.

In the same vein, he explained that the Lekki Infrastructure project, involving the Lekki Concession Company, is a heavy direct private sector investment in the country, and it is thus not the business of the Lagos State government to select the contractor.

“All Nigerians can bear witness today to the high quality of work done so far on the first two kilometres of the Lekki – Epe Expressway already delivered by the Concessionares,” the Commissioner said.

He equally dismissed claims that the cost of projects in Lagos State are shrouded in secrecy, stressing that “details of our project costs can be found in our budgetary breakdown and in several publications of the government, which are in the public domain. There is absolutely no reason for a government that is doing so much that is visible to hide the cost of its undeniable achievements.”

The Commissioner said further that the Lagos State government has no business dealings with any individual or corporate organization indicted for violating any known laws of the country and does not intend to do so.

Meanwhile, the management of ThisDay last night stated its own side of the story. In a statement signed by ThisDay’s Deputy Managing Director, Kayode Komolafe, entitled: “Re-Why ThisDay is blackmailing Lagos Government, by official”, it said:“We deny categorically that ThisDay is blackmailing the Lagos State Government as alleged in the report. As an organisation of repute, ThisDay does not blackmail and it is not in position to blackmail the Lagos State Government. For what benefits would ThisDay do that?

“The investigative stories that the Lagos state government is referring to were done as part of the constitutional duty of the press to hold governments accountable. How does that amount to blackmail? “We have one editorial policy for all; and not one for the Lagos State Government and another for the other.

“The truth is that the Lagos State Government promised to grant ThisDay permanent approval on site at Lekki, Lagos to locate the ThisDay centre for Education and the Arts. But in its wisdom the state government reneged and we accepted its decision as a law-abiding organisation and we moved on to Polo Club, Ikoyi to host our events to the glory of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“We have no more events to host now or in the near future in Lagos. So of what benefit will it therefore be to ThisDay to seek to blackmail the Lagos State Government?”

ThisDay had stirred the hornet’s nest with its report in the Sunday 20 July edition, saying contractors handling projects in the state were doing a shoddy job.

The state government denied the allegation and cited some quality projects handled by the contractors.

The government further accused ThisDay of writing “negative stories” against it because of its failure to grant ThisDay permit for the company’s “Africa Rising” Music and Fashion Festival scheduled for Lekki, adding that ThisDay had also defaulted in its tax obligations.

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