Why we’re investigating FG’s abandoned property–Reps

The Chairman of the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee investigating federal government’s abandoned properties, Hon. Gaza Gbefwi, has disclosed that the decision was to correct the mistakes made in the past.

Gbefwi, who spoke during at a public hearing recently in Abuja, said the committee investigating the federal government’s abandoned properties in the FCT wants to recover the best of the properties for Nigerians.

“These projects are a visual manifestation of the excesses and failure to plan effectively and execute efficiently that has hampered our national growth and development for many years. In seeking to account for these assets, the House of Representatives, through this ad-hoc committee, is simply trying to correct past wrongs.

“This is particularly important at this time when our nation is faced with serious financial difficulties and in dire need of creative thinking. The country also needs to adopt out-of-the-box approaches to financial management and the operation of public accounts and resources,’’ he said.

Gbefwi added that the investigative hearing would focus on abandoned federal government property within the FCT, saying that the committee would also determine how many properties were involved, their location and the reasons for their abandonment.

He also said that the committee would explore options for recovering, reviving, and revitalising the assets for Nigerian.

The lawmaker said the committee would operate with integrity and restraint, seeking only to ensure that it delivers on its assignment and in the service of Nigerians.

Earlier, the Minister of the FCT, Mr. Musa Bello, had said all relevant agencies of the FCT Administration had been directed to provide the committee access to all necessary documents.

Bello said particular emphasis would be placed on the sale of government assets and residential houses to occupants, which was signed in 2005.

The minister, however, acknowledged challenges in institutional memory, archival materials and documentation process.

“Seventeen 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 throughout your other engagements,’’ he said.

Bello said he had delegated a team to work with the committee to ensure the mandate is achieved.

Also, the Managing Director of Nigeria Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMCO), Mr. Adebayo Fagbemi, told the committee that there is hardly any local government area without the defunct PHCN asset.

“We are here, limited to what we can do as an agency, I recommend that the committee goes beyond us; we can only give what is limited to us; assets were also shared to other agencies in the power sector,’’ he said.

On his part, the General Manager, Federal Housing Authority (FHA), Mr. Ibrahim Isiaka, cautioned the committee of the tendency of classifying work in progress as abandoned projects.

He said some properties were not abandoned, but there were no budgetary provisions for them.