The House of Representatives’ Ad Hoc Committee to Investigate the Number and Condition of Capital Projects Abandoned by the Federal Government across Nigeria has raised the alarm over alleged transfers of public properties by civil servants to their children.
According to the committee, the civil servants, upon retirement and death, are leaving the assets to their children as an inheritance.
The Chairman of the committee, Ademorin Kuye, made this known when he led a delegation of members of the panel on a visit to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, to seek his intervention in the recovery of assets belonging to the Nigeria Electricity Liability Management Limited in the South-West.
Kuye said, “This ad hoc committee is a function of several complaints laid before the House some few years ago, about the Federal Government’s properties lying around in all the states of the federation, particularly those Federal Government’s properties that are being occupied now by hoodlums, some by unauthorised persons, some by retired civil servants who are now transferring the properties as if it is their own inheritance even to their children.
“Their children did not know that the properties do not belong to their fathers, so they think those properties are actually theirs.
“We felt that these are properties that should be reclaimed, and some are meant to be put up for sale, so that the proceeds can come into government coffers, both at the state and at the federal levels, so that we can have a win-win situation, remove the security problems that these abandoned properties are constituting to the state governments, and at the same time bring revenue to the government; and make a useful enterprise out of all those properties. That is why the ad hoc committee was formed.”
Kuye noted that the committee had on Friday inspected some properties owned by the defunct National Electric Power Authority. He recalled that during the privatisation of NEPA, the core assets of the authority – offices, machines and others – were transferred to private owners, while NELMCO was created by the Presidency to act as a vehicle for alienation of non-core assets.
The chairman disclosed that the committee had paid oversight visits to assets in Ikeja GRA, Ikoyi, Victoria Island and “there are other properties like that that we have been looking at.”
He said, “For example, we were at Merage, we were at Lekki, we were at Ladoke Akintola, we were at Kingsway, and other places, and there are still a whole lot of those non-core assets of NEPA.”
Kuye added, “We equally have the list generated by the Presidential Implementation Committee on the Alienation of Federal Government Landed Properties on most of these properties. Some of those properties, Your Excellency would recall during monetisation exercise that took place under (the administration of) President Olusegun Obasanjo and since then, most of those properties have been sold to civil servants who have retired and all of that. For some of those properties that are remaining, we are still looking at as to how to dispose of them.”
Sanwo-Olu, in his response, pledged support for the lawmakers on the national assignment.
He said, “The question is, why Lagos? Why not Lagos? I’m sure we are all students of history. Certainly, you cannot forget the role Lagos has played in bringing together the country called Nigeria. From a very historic time, even before Jaja of Opobo was adopted, it was an old colony of Lagos – it was the oldest colony in all of this country.
“Lagos had existed before Nigeria came into existence, before the amalgamation; Lagos had been two centuries before then…and we are indeed grateful to be part of the development of this country.”