Plans by the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, to construct a N4 billion mission house for the African First Ladies Peace Mission (AFLPM), has been condemned by Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka and civil society groups, Thursday, saying it is “a mind-boggling fiscal misappropriation.”
Information Nigeria recalls that the fund for the mission house, which was expected to serve as centre to host other African First Ladies, was listed in the 2013 budget of the FCT, Abuja.
In a letter read during a protest march organised by Women Arise for Change Initiative, which also had in attendance radical lawyer, Mr. Festus Keyamo; wife of late Beko Ransome-Kuti, Abosede; daughter of the late Afro beat king, Yeni Anikulapo and others, Soyinka and civil society expressed their displeasure with the move.
The protesters, in their hundreds who displayed various placards which read: “N4 billion will create jobs, so we say no to mission house; N4 billion budget for Mission House, we say no to fiscal rascality”, converged on the premises of the Lagos State Television, LTV, Agidingbi, Ikeja, and later marched to Lagos House, Alausa.
Traffic was partially brought to a halt around Alausa axis for about an hour due to the activities of the protesters.
The Nobel laureate whose statement to other African First Ladies was read by the President of the Initiative, Mrs. Joe-Okei Odumakin in the presence of Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, said: “There is no such thing as an African First Ladies Mission in the Nigerian appropriation list.”
Soyinka, however, called on other African First Ladies to immediately distance themselves from the idea, saying: “Your names have been invoked as the ultimate beneficiaries and thus, you are vicariously implicated. In the name of St. Valentine and the love I bear for you all, please dissociate yourselves from this display of shameless avarice. I shall not go so far as to ask you to denounce what you probably know nothing about, but if you ever get to hear of it, distance yourselves from the gross impropriety.”