Police didn’t seal up Teslim Balogun Stadium, but there to protect government property

A top official of the Lagos State Sports Commission Wednesday described the news reports in some section of the media that the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Suru-lere was sealed up by policemen on Monday.

The source (name withheld), who preferred anonymity, told our reporter that, the report was unsubstantiated and the writer failed to put a call through to any member of staff of the commission who would have given them the true position of things.

The source disclosed that: “The policemen that came to the Sports Commission were specially invited by the state government to maintain peace and order, following the misinformation of some disgruntled elements who want to forcefully and unlawfully misinterpret the April 23 circular signed by the Permanent Secretary, Cabinet office in the Lagos state government, Adeniran Odeyemi, directing heads of government agencies to hand over power by May 10, to give way for proper handover ahead of May 29 change of government from Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to Governor Babajide Sanwo Olu.

Our source noted that, some misinformed persons, who obviously did not read the full content of the circular, were so impatient to carry out the transition process without authorization.

The April 23 circular reads in part: “In a bid to facilitate a seamless transition, His Excellency, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, the Governor of Lagos State, has directed that all appointees serving in various political capacities including, but not limited to Personal Assistants, Special Assistants, Special Advisers, and members of the State Executive Council, are expected to prepare their individual, handover notes and submit same to the office of the Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Office in hard and soft copies not later than the close of work on Friday 10th May, 2019.

“2. However, members of Statutory Board, Chief Executive Officers of parastatals, organizations and Governing Council whose tenure have not lapsed are not affected by this directive, for avoidance of doubt, the Statutory Boards under reference above are: Civil Service Commission, Judicial Service Commission, Independent Electoral Commission and House of Assembly Service Commission.”

The source noted that, the second part of the circular covered Dr. Kweku Tandoh, who is a sitting chairman of the board of the Lagos Sports Commission with a four-year tenure out of which only one year and half had been spent in office. “The state government is fully aware of this since Dr. Tandoh’s tenure has not lapsed.”

The security personnel at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, who were on duty on May 10, 2019 told our reporter that, the report that the stadium was sealed off was false. They explained that, the policemen who were at the facility on Monday were there to prevent authorized persons from fomenting trouble. The two entry gates to the stadium were opened as usual for normal activities.

The security personal added that, the picture in the published story, was a very old one taken a long time ago.

Meanwhile, the leader of special athletes whose base is just outside the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos, Mr. Azeez Amuda, popularly called ‘Century,’ told our reporter that, he was at the Stadium when the police came around. He stressed that: “The stadium was not sealed off by the police. They were just there to maintain law and order against persons who had planned to foment trouble on the issue of the May 10 handover as contained in a circular from Alausa. The police were just there to checkmate troublemakers.

Amuda, disclosed that, two days before May 10, some persons approached him to mobilize his members to join them in a protest on May 10 at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, but he declined, since the Sports Commission chairman has been performing excellently.

The source denied the report that the chairman squandered money meant for the commission to buy cars for the board member, and also owes backlog of unpaid salaries for athletes and coaches.

“This is the Lagos State civil service that has its laws, rules, regulations and due process. With due process in the Lagos State government, the chairman of the board of the Sports Commission cannot buy cars for board members. The Commission does not hold the money, everything is in Alausa. It is only the Head of Service and the Chief Staff to the Governor that could make such purchases. Obviously, the reporter was misinformed and unfortunately, he didn’t take time to do his investigations. The commission does not owe salaries of athletes and coaches. They have all been paid up to date; the athletes will confirm that to you. The only exceptions are the contract coaches whose contracts expired since December 31, 2018. And efforts have been made to renew their contracts, with a proviso to pay outstanding salaries when a contract renewal eventually comes after the approval  by the state governor,” the source said.

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