Lagos traditional rulerdismisses National Theatre’s denial, insists on ICPC probe of GM

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The traditional ruler of Otumara Community in the Lagos Mainland of Lagos State, High Chief Kehinde Kalejaiye has described as false, misleading and an attempt to evade justice the recent statement by the management of the National Theatre denying the investigation of its General Manager/ Chief Executive Officer, Prof Sunday Ododo by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC).

In a press release dated January 10, and signed by the Director, HRM of the parastatal, Agbo Ita, the management claimed that there was never a time the General Manager, Prof Sunday Ododo was invited for questioning by the anti-graft Commission.

It further claimed that no petitions were written against the management or the GM/CEO to the ICPC by the RATTAWU, National Theatre, Chapter while also alleging that the highly revered traditional ruler threatened and launched a campaign of calumny against the GM with an assault on Federal Government property.

Reacting to the claims, Kalejaiye described the claims by the management as evasive and an attempt to divert the attention of the public from the allegations of corruption levelled against the GM.

He disclosed that the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) invited Prof Sunday Ododo through a letter dated April 5, 2022 to the Commission’s Lagos office.

He stated further that the invite was sequel to the series of petitions submitted to the anti-corruption agency by the workers’ Union, RATTAWU and the Concerned Stakeholders of the parastatal lamenting misappropriation of funds, lack of openness and due process in the running and sales of properties of the parastatal.

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The invitation letter signed by the Resident Anti-Corruption Commissioner, Kabiru Elelu, which was titled, ‘Investigation activities/request for documents’ reads in part, “the commission is investigating the alleged violation of the Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Act No. 5 of 2000.”

Reacting further, Kalejaiye said, “It is out of place for the management of National Theatre to be economical with the truth. If the ICPC didn’t invite the GM for interrogation, why did he issue a query to the leaders of RATTAWU for petitioning the ICPC?

“In an attempt to gag the union and cover for their atrocities, on May 9, 2023, the Director of HRM, Agbo Ita, issued a query to the leaders of RATTAWU for writing a petition against the management to the Permanent Secretary alleging misconduct and various offences committed by General Manager.

“If this is a case of witch-hunt as alleged by the management, why did the RATTAWU petitioned the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy alleging misconduct and corruption on the part of the General Manager and his collaborators?

“What’s the explanation of the GM to the alleged intimidation and series of queries issued to staff for speaking the truth to power? The list is endless.

“The issue at hand goes beyond witch-hunting as alleged by the management. It is all about cleansing the country and particularly the National Theatre of corruption. Nigerians are suffering and corruption is killing the economy. And this will continue to be if left unchecked.”

The monarch continued that “If the Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, Dr Betta Edu was hurried relieved of her position to pave way for a thorough investigation into the allegations levelled against her, why should Prof Ododo remain in office despite being investigated by the ICPC?

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“The union has also passed a vote of no confidence on his leadership, the workers are complaining too and importantly, he is being investigated by the anti-corruption agency but he remains in office while continuing in his nefarious activities.

“As a traditional ruler, I know the implications of false allegations therefore I have strong conviction in my claims in the video I released some weeks back which has since gone viral.”

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