The Lagos State Government has defended its action of spending public funds amounting to N531million to renovate Saint Andrews Anglican Church , Oke-Popo, Lagos Island.
The matter blew open when the 2023 governorship candidate of the Action Democratic Congress (ADC) in Lagos State, Funso Doherty, raised questions about the release of ₦531million for the renovation of the church.
In an open letter to the state government, Doherty wondered why the Lagos government would spend ₦531 million of taxpayers’ money to renovate a church.
He also asked the government to explain the rationale behind the approval of ₦24.5million for the renovation of the official residence of the Lagos Commissioner of Police and other outrageous expenses observed on the state’s procurement portal.
However, the state Commissioner for information and strategy, Gbenga Omotoso while reacting on Tuesday during an interview on Arise News Television said the renovation of the church and the Oba of Lagos palace is part of the government’s social responsibility.
Omotoso said the money was not only used for renovation but also compensation for the demolition of sections of the church during the construction of a major road in the area.
The commissioner added that the church and the Oba of Lagos palace are historical landmarks in the state, and the preservation of such landmarks cannot be over-emphasised.
He said : “The Church was founded in 1889 and stands as a significant historical landmark in Lagos State.
“The need for the state to preserve such landmarks can, therefore not be over-emphasised.
“The contract amount encompasses funds allocated for both the refurbishment of the church and compensations given to the church for the necessary demolition of sections of its property due to road expansion.”
Omotoso assured that the procurement website will remain in the public domain to maintain the state government’s openness and expressed that they are open to opposition criticism to allow effectiveness in their work.