Reps to invite ministry over alleged illegal auctioning of govt. property

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Abuja

The House of Representatives ad hoc Committee on the disposal of public property has resolved to invite the Ministry of Water Resources to account for assets of River Basin Authorities disposed from 2010 to 2022.

Rep. Julius Ihonbvere (APC-Edo) the chairman of the committee said this at an investigative hearing in Abuja on Monday, following revelations that the property of authorities were auctioned on their behalf.

“I want to assure you for now that we are not very satisfied and that is because you did not preside over this process.

“We are not satisfied with the disconnect in the contents in some of the documents; we will require that you come back after we deduce some of those documents directly from the ministry on behalf of your agencies.

“We will also invite the ministry to deal with us directly,” he said.

He said that the committee would investigate alleged illegal auctioning of government property by the Nigeria Ports Authority, Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Nigeria Railway Corporation, River Basin Development Authority, Railway Corporation and Nigeria Customs.

Ihonbvere said that the committee would rely on relevant sections of the Constitution, the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives and inherent jurisdiction of the National Assembly to achieve its mandate.

“In the course of this work, we have written letters to all the agencies concerned requesting for information on the subject matter and many of you did not bother to respond to our letter.

“We hope to physically visit the Agencies, examine your books and conduct physical inspection of all public properties acquired to determine the ones sold and procedures adopted for the exercise.

“As the representatives of the Nigerian people we will deploy all constitutional means to ensure that we achieve the mandate of the House,” he said.

Earlier, Dr Adeniyi Aremu, the Managing Director of Lower Niger Basin Development Authority, said he and other colleagues were appointed in 2018.

He said that the auction process began in 2017 and that because there were no boards in place the process was conducted by the Ministry of Water Resources.

Aremu said that documents on the process that were in the possession of the agency had been submitted to the committee.

He said that the entire details of the process were with the ministry who conducted and presided over the auction process.

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