The Lagos State Government, through the Public Procurement Agency (PPA), has explained why it spent a total of N468, 710, 840 to purchase a bulletproof car, chickens, rechargeable light, fans, and fragrance.
The explanation followed a letter of complaint written by the 2023 governorship candidate of the Africa Democratic Congress, ADC, Funso Doherty, querying some of the purchases made by the PPA in 2023 and the amount spent on them.
The PPA had uploaded on its website some of the contracts awarded, name of the contractors as well as government offices and ministries the purchases were made to.
Of particular interest were purchases made for the office of the Governor of the state, Babajide Sanwo Olu, the deputy governor’s office and the office of the Chief of Staff.
In the website, it indicated that N7, 475, 000 were spent to buy fragrance for the office of the governor, N18, 468,000 was spent by the office of the Chief of Staff, Tayo Ayinde, for the supply and distribution of 2,000 Noiler chickens across local government areas and wards in the state, while N440,750,000 was for the procurement of a brand new Lexus LX 600 bulletproof car for the use in the pool of Chief of Staff office
For the office of the deputy governor, N2,017, 840.00 was awarded for the supply of items such as rechargeable fans, rechargeable lights and fridge.
Doherty, in his letter had asked the state government to explain reasons behind spending such a huge amount in the face of the current economic hardship the country is going through..
Replying to the complaint, the agency stated that the amount spent on the purchases were a reflection of the current economic realities.
It added the fragrance purchased were not meant for only the office of the governor but also for other offices and state houses.
On the purchase of chickens for local governments and wards by the office of the Chief of Staff, the agency noted that it was part of the socio-political responsibility of the government to cater for its citizens.
However, the Director-General, Lagos State Public Procurement Agency, Fatai Idowu Onafowote has said that the widespread negative reactions the purchases has generated in the public space was as a result of the initial failure of the agency to clarify reasons such amounts were spent.
In a statement signed by him, he apologized for any embarrassment the negative reactions had caused the contractors whose names were listed on the website.
“We regret that specific details, particularly concerning the descriptions of government dealings, may have inadvertently led to confusion, impacting both governmental entities and corporate partners providing services to the State. This arose largely from the lack of detailed descriptions in the project information, which has inadvertently led to confusion in the public space,” the statement stated.
It added: ” It’s never our intent to cast doubt or cause misunderstandings that might tarnish the reputation of respected individuals and organisations.”
He promised that the agency would continue to improve its internal processes and communication methods ‘as our commitment as a government is to offer clearer and more accessible information to the public.’