By Paschal Emeka, Abuja.
The House of Representatives has concluded plans to deploy it’s oversight power to probe all abandoned projects owned by the federal government across the country.
Speaking while inaugrating an Ad-hoc Committee to investigate federal government properties across the Country open, in Abuja, the Speaker House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila challenged members of the Comittee to live up to expectations.
The Speaker who was represented during the committee’s inuaguration by the Chairman House Committee on Legislative Agenda of the 9th House Of Reps, Hon. Henry Nwawuba further tasked members to investigate all properties and projects abandoned that belong to federal government of Nigeria.
The Speaker also challenged members to not only beam their searchlights in the abandoned projects alone, but to also find out why they are severely underutilised for many years.
He lamented that 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 propperly’.
Earlier, in his address during the event the Speaker has disclosed that the House of Representatives under his leadership has since resolved to help identify abandoned projects and take legislative action to help ensure they are either put to good use or transferred to provide income for the federal government.
He stated that the Ad-hoc Committee will commence investigative hearing to focus on such abandoned property in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, adding that it is one of the mandates of the 9th House of Representatives to account for these investments and come up with a plan to put them to good use in the interest of all our citizens.
While soliciting for the cooperation of all Nigerians, the Speaker further called for support as the Committee requires the assistance of critical stakeholders and citizens to provide information, context, and expertise on the abandoned projects.
He reaffairmed that the only objective of the investigative hearing is to do what is necessary to transform these moribund assets into beneficial ventures for the people and government of Nigeria.
He said: “the objective is one that is best achieved through cooperation, collaboration and partnership, and informed knowledge of these assets, their conditions, and the most suitable options for utilisation.
The Speaker further advised all stakeholders to contribute actively noting that all who have a role to play in the hearings should do so with decorum, dignity, and dedication to achieving the best outcome.
Also, the Chairman of the Ad hoc Committee Hon Jonathan Gaza recalled that ”when the House of Representatives first authorised the Committee to examine the causes of abandonment of useful property, assets, and to account for the stock of such assets across the country, we did not then realise the extent of the problem or how much work was going to be required to fully effect the Committee’s mandate.
”The existence of abandoned government property, valued in the hundreds of billions, left to deteriorate should trouble all our consciences.
”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 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 also focus on abandoned federal government of Nigeria property within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
”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.
”As legislators, stakeholders, and public policymakers we must make sure the recommendations we make consider all the prevailing circumstances and reflect the well-thought-out contemplation of objective realities and alternatives.
”We must work together in partnership for the common good.
I want to assure you today that this Committee will, as it has done since inception, operate with integrity and restraint, seeking only to ensure that it delivers on its assignment to the glory of God and in service to all the Nigerian people.
”On that note ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you all once more, and I propose that we commence the day’s activities.