Ifalade Ajasa, the general manager of the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Agency (LNSA), is currently enmeshed in allegations of abuse of office and financial misappropriation, THE WITNESS reports.
Stories have been told how LNSA, an agency established in 2016 by Akinwunmi Ambode and adequately funded by the state government to keep communities in the state safe, had often gone AWOL while street urchins and sundry criminal elements reigned supreme in the same neighbourhoods. This is, however, caused by the alleged bleating failure of the management of the agency to live up to its mandate.
LNSA was created to provide a second layer of policing in order to ensure that Lagos State and its communities are more secure.
In the LNSA’s official website, Prince Ajasa, the agency’s head honcho is profiled glowingly as a consummate professional with a track record of service excellence, but the tenure of the Lagos prince has now become controversial, with some staff and Lagosians raising highbrows querying his management of the agency.
The investigation revealed that Ajasa has allegedly turned the agency into a one-man show, with the general manager deliberately demobilizing key staff members, while practically running the agency with his personal staff and sundry aides, as a private entity.
Several staff members of the agency, who spoke on condition of anonymity, lamented that every process from operations to procurement is being compromised.
“He has since sidelined directors of departments in the agency, including the director of administration, and uses his personal staff to perform statutory roles of core staff members,” one senior staff member who craved anonymity in order not be victimized said.
But that’s just one in a series of allegations against a man who took over the reigns of affairs of the agency in 2020.
Since assuming office, Ajasa is said to have put an end to management meetings with other directors in the agency, against the Lagos State civil service rule, preferring to take decisions by himself which circumvents due process.
Ajasa, for instance, is said to have personalised the agency’s on-going recruitment exercise.
The advert publication for the recruitment, according to Lagos State Civil Service law, is supposed to be done by the public relations officer of the agency through the Ministry of Information or the Civil Service Commission, but he did the publication himself, in disregard for due process. Many of those who applied for the advertised roles confided that they never got email notifying them of the date for screening, which they alleged was a possible plot to sideline as many applicants to accommodate preferred candidates.
“I applied for the role, but no feedback till date,” said John Oloyede, “I’ve tried everything, gone to the agency’s Instagram page to complain, but nothing has changed.”
Indeed, the comment section of the agency’s Instagram page, is full of complaints by applicants who never got feedback after completing the application process.
Alleged Financial Misappropriation of the Agency’s Funds
Ajasa, who is said to be nursing a political ambition ahead of 2023 general elections, is also accused of misappropriating the bulk of the funds meant for running cost of departments of the agency.
For instance, the state government is said to provide about N3 million monthly as running cost for departments in the agency, but these departments are said to have been receiving paltry sums from this total.
“That’s not all,” one of the staff members who spoke to THE WITNESS said, “When a staff member writes a submission or request for funds and passes it through his office as required by law to the state government, against civil service rule, he removes the name of the staff who wrote the request and put his name as the one making the requests. And when the funds arrive, he diverts to other uses which the fund were not originally meant for.
For instance, N19.6 million was said to have been approved and released by the state government for the drilling of boreholes in the offices of the agency in the 57 local government areas and local council development areas (LCDAs), but no or few boreholes were drilled.
“He is also alleged to have misappropriated funds meant for servicing operational, staff vehicles and other equipment in the agency,” said.
Lagos Neighbourhood Safety Agency GM, Ifalade Ajasa, enmeshed in alleged financial misappropriation, abuse of office
Lagos Neighbourhood Safety Agency officers with some of the Agency’s utility vehicles/ Google
Scrapping of Functional Vehicles
On February 7, 2022, Mr Ajasa directed the disposal of 19 functional Toyota Hilux, two MG and one Ford Ranger worth millions of naira as scraps, documents seen by THE WITNESS revealed