Reps vow to recover illegally-acquired multi-billion naira public assets

The Ad-hoc Committee inaugurated by the House of Representatives on Tuesday vowed to use all legal means to recover the multi-billion public assets illegally acquired by some Nigerians and investors in various sectors of the Nigerian economy.

Chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee on Abandoned properties, Hon. Ademorin Kuye gave the assurance during a media chat after the inauguration of the 17-member Ad-hoc Committee by the Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila.

According to him, the Ad-hoc Committee is to take stock of all government-owned moveable and immovable properties across the country and foreign countries as well as critical sectors including power, oil and gas, among others.

Tribune Online reports that Hon. Kuye who observed that Nigeria was losing several billions of naira in rent to the abandonment of the several Federal Government-owned property across the country, said Federal Government’s abandoned properties in Lagos, Ibadan. Enugu, Port Harcourt, Kano, Kaduna and other cities were projected at about N830 billion according to conservative estimate put together by industry experts.

According to him, the NET building in Lagos could fetch the government about N1.6 billion yearly in rent, adding that “it is estimated that N126 billion has been lost in rent between 2006 and 2020.”

He said that in setting up the Adhoc committee, the House was concerned that many of government properties located in almost all the states of the Federation were abandoned at the wake of the Federal Government’s hurried relocation to Abuja, thus constituting a huge economic waste and loss of revenue to the country.

According to him, many of these properties are now serving as safe havens for criminals, illegally occupied, fraudulently transferred and wholly abandoned.

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He said: “Considering the present global economic challenge which is further accentuated by the effect of the pervasive COVID-19 pandemic that has crippled the nation’s mono-product economic reliance on oil, this Ad Hoc Committee will leverage the thin rare opportunity to serve as a watershed to cushion the harsh economic realities by sourcing the most needed funds by consciously ascertaining the existence place and use at such Federal Government properties across the country with a view to facilitating reinvestment end maximisation at their use.

“It is on record that some of the properties are currently being used by individuals and corporate bodies without remitting any revenue while their managers in name rear instances have not accounted for the revenue yield.

“According to a conservative estimate put together by the Nigerian Society of Builders, the value at these Federal Government abandoned properties in Lagos, Ibadan, Enugu, Port Harcourt, Kano, Kaduna and other cities are projected at about N830 billion.

“Experts say the potential economic loss at the National Stadium, Suru Lere alone between 2004 and now is about N52.6 billion. The NET building alone could fetch 1.61 yearly rent. In fact, it is estimated that N126 billion have been lost in rent between 2006 to date.

“Available facts also reveal that in addition to those properties, which were hurriedly abandoned due to the Federal Government’s relocation to FCT in 1990, there are still in existence many other properties such as buildings, vehicles, machines e.t.c. which are littered within and outside the country in addition to those earlier highlighted above, as a result of the commercialisation and privatisation exercise of the Federal Government.

Hon. Kuye assured that this Ad-hoc Committee with the membership of erudite professionals and individuals of high repute is not unmindful of the enormity of the responsibility bestowed on it and will go about its task with the utmost sense of responsibility to the fatherland. We shall not witch hunt any citizen or organization but will not succumb to any intimidation or pressure in the discharge of our duty.

While inaugurating the Ad-hoc Committee, Hon. Gbajabiamila said it was no longer news that the country was facing a myriad of challenges on multiple fronts especially with the current public health challenge in the country.

He said the Ad-hoc committee has been saddled with the responsibility to account for government investments littered across the country which has been abandoned for several years.

“At the same time, the drop in oil prices, our most valuable commercial export product, has left us with an economy in severe decline and a government on the brink of failing to meet our obligations to the people we serve.

“The existence of abandoned government property, valued in the hundreds of billions, left to deteriorate should trouble all our consciences. These projects are a visual manifestation of the excesses and failure to plan effectively and efficiently execute that has hampered our national growth and development for many years.

“The Ad-hoc Committee we have come to inaugurate today now has the duty to account for these investments and come up with a plan that puts these assets to good use in the interest of all our citizens,” Hon. Gbajabiamila stated.

The Speaker who expressed dismay over the number of abandoned property spread across the country maintained that no country will sit down and do nothing with its abandoned property littered around the country.

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