…As Sanwo-Olu Assures Of Support In Recovering NELMCO’s Abandoned Assets In S/West
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has pledged his support for the
ongoing efforts by the House of Representatives to help recover multi-trillion naira abandoned Federal Government’s moveable and immovable properties in Nigeria, as well as foreign countries.
Sanwo-Olu gave the assurance while addressing the Chairman, Ad-hoc Committee on abandoned Federal Government properties across the country, Hon. Ademorin Kuye who led a delegation of members to seek the intervention of Government of Lagos State in the recovery of all Nigeria Electricity Liability Management Limited (NELMCO) properties in the South West geopolitical zone of the Federation.
Hon. Kuye explained that: “This Ad-hoc Committee is a function of several complaints laid before the House some few years ago, about Federal Government’s properties lying around 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 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. And we felt that these are properties that should be reclaimed and some that should be put up for sale, so that money can come in into government’s coffer, both at the state and at the federal levels.
“So that we can have a win-win situation, remove the security problem that these abandoned properties are constituting to State Governments, and at the same time bring revenue to the government; and make useful enterprise out of all of those properties. That is why the Ad-hoc Committee was formed,” he noted.
Kuye also informed the Governor that the Ad-hoc Committee had on Friday inspected some properties owed by the defunct National Electric Power Authority (NEPA), saying: “You will recall that during the privatisation of NEPA the core asset of NEPA, offices, the machines and all of that were transferred to private owners. While an agency was formed by the Presidency to act as a vehicle for alienation of non-core assets those are the Estates, the residential premises and all of that.”
“We were at Ikeja GRA yesterday, Ikoyi, some at VI and there are other properties like that, that we have been looking at. 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.
“We equally have the list generated by the Presidential Implementation Committee on Alienation of most of these properties. Some of those properties, your excellency would recall during monetisation exercise that took place under President Obasanjo and since then most of those properties have been sold to Civil servants who have retired and all of that, why some of those which are left behind, we are still looking at as to how we are going to dispose of them,” Kuye told the Governor.
Addressing the delegation earlier, Governor Sanwo-Olu who pledged his administration’s support for the lawmakers on the national assignment noted that their expedition to the State was a step in the right direction given the central position Lagos occupies in the history of Nigeria.
“The question is why Lagos and why not Lagos? And I’m sure we are all students of history. Certainly you cannot forget the role Lagos has played in fusing and bringing together the country called Nigeria.
“From 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 given that long history of Lagos, I’m sure the forefathers and the colonial masters find it appropriate to designate this place as the first federal state government and Lagos bore that burden for several years and we are indeed grateful to be part of the development of this country. And to look at the perspective where we are seated here, it’s a colonial story.
“We see as time to not necessarily right the wrong, but just putting things in proper context and proper perspective. We all know that the history of our democracy has been both military rule and civilian rule. And Lagos had had to carry the brunt for a significant amount of time before we birth Abuja. Given those stories into perspective, Lagos had become home to a lot of Federal Government’s assets as well as some liabilities at some point.
“So when you look at the assets also look at the liabilities, so we have to be able to kill both of them. We are aware of the great work you’re doing.
“Our submission, our request would be for the Committee to be very very discerning to be able to view Lagos with that compassion. So while that happen from our records, there are some assets that we know very clearly that it’s because of how governance has been in our country, there were no proper delineation between the state and federal government assets at some point.
“And in fact, a lot of the State’s assets I don’t want to use the word confiscated but were transferred to Federal not because people wanted to be mischievous but because it was very convenient at that time,” the Governor said.
He maintained that some Federal Government agencies in the 80s occupied some properties belonging to Lagos State, where they cohabit with Lagos State civil servants, “where A part will be Lagos State staff and B Part of it will be Federal Staff.”
“And you know too well that during the military administration, the military administrator will not allow his bosses to be looking for houses be it in whatever form, when he sits here as a Governor and he will not be able to take care of his own Constituents.”
He added that for the fact that the State had sat on the properties for about 40 years in law could amount to having ownership possession of the properties as recognized by law. But I will want the Committee to see how we can soften and see Lagos as the beaten child that should be taken care of.”