June 23, 2024

Many govt assets in Abuja undocumented – FCT minister

Many govt assets in Abuja undocumented – FCT minister

The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mohammed Bello, has said that many assets belonging to the Federal Government within the nation’s capital are not properly documented. According to him, some of the public property, which was meant to be disposed of, had not been sold 17 years after.

Bello made this known in Abuja on Thursday at the investigative hearing organised by the Sub-Committee on the Federal Capital Territory of the House of Representatives’ Ad Hoc Committee to Investigate Abandoned Federal Government Properties Across the Federation.

The minister disclosed that all the relevant agencies of the FCT Administration had been directed to provide access to all documents, “particularly taking into account that the policy of the sale of government assets, particularly residential houses, to occupants was signed way back in 2005 – that is about 17 years ago.”

Bello said, “Obviously, in many of these institutions, there are challenges with institutional memory, archival materials and the whole process of documentation. That is why 17 years after this policy, quite a number of these assets are not yet sold; and as a matter of fact, some of them are not even fully documented.

“So, in today’s hearing, I want to assure you that you have the full support of the FCT Administration and throughout this hearing today and all your other engagements, Dr Nasiru, who is in charge of the sale of government assets in the FCT would anchor the team from the FCT and continue to work with you here, and, of course, on-site in all the various locations.

“But you have to understand that we are talking of quite a number of assets and a span of time that has covered the tenures of about five ministers or four; and, of course, quite a number of directors. So, being able to get to the source documents sometimes might take time. But the beauty of landed assets is that they do not disappear; you can see them, touch them and smell them in the words of estate surveyors.”

Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, noted that the probe is one that is best achieved through cooperation, collaboration and partnership and informed knowledge of the assets, their conditions and the most suitable options for utilisation.

Gbajabiamila was represented by the Chairman of the House Committee on the Legislative Agenda of the 9th House of Representatives, Henry Nwawuba, to declare the hearing open.

He said, “Across the country, several properties belonging to the Federal Government of Nigeria have been abandoned, and others severely underutilised for many years. The Federal Government of Nigeria possesses a large stock of abandoned properties that could become viable assets for the benefit of the Nigerian people if managed properly.

“The House of Representatives has since resolved to help identify these assets and take legislative action to help ensure they are either put to good use or transferred to provide income for the Federal Government of Nigeria. The Ad Hoc Committee to Investigate Abandoned Federal Government Properties Across the Federation has convened today’s investigative hearing to focus on such abandoned property in the Federal Capital Territory.

“This Committee has the mandate of the 9th House of Representatives to account for these investments and come up with a plan to put these assets to good use in the interest of all our citizens. To achieve this mandate, this Committee requires the assistance of stakeholders and citizens to provide information, context, and expertise.

“These hearings can take on an adversarial tint that often is not in the best interests of the country. I have the confidence of the chairman to assure you that the only objective of this committee is to do what is necessary to transform these moribund assets into beneficial ventures for the people and government of Nigeria.”

Chairman of the committee, Gaza Gbefwi, earlier in his welcome address, stated that the existence of abandoned government property, valued in the hundreds of billions, left to deteriorate, “should trouble all our consciences.”

According to him, these projects are a visual manifestation of the excesses and failure to plan effectively and execute efficiently, which has hampered national growth and development for many years.

Gbefwi said, “In seeking to account for these assets, the House of Representatives, through this ad hoc committee, is simply trying to rewrite past wrongs. This is particularly important at this time when our nation is pressed by serious financial difficulties and in dire need of creative thinking and out-of-the-box approaches to financial management and the operation of public accounts and resources.

“This investigative hearing will focus on abandoned Federal Government of Nigeria property within the Federal Capital Territory.

“We already know that there are quite a few of these, our intention now is to determine exactly how many there are, where they are located, the reasons for their abandonment and the options for recovering, reviving, and revitalising these assets to the benefit of the Nigerian people.”


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