Reps probe N230 billion abandoned projects

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The House of Representatives has begun a probe into a number of abandoned projects worth N230 billion across the country.

This resolve followed a briefing by the chairman of the ad-hoc committee on the probe, Ademorin Kuye (APC-Lagos), after House Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila had earlier declared a public hearing on the matter open on Tuesday, Vanguard reported.

“According to a conservative estimate put together by the Nigerian Society of Builders, the value at these federal government abandoned properties in Lagos, Ibadan, Enugu, Port Harcourt, Kano, Kaduna and other cities are projected at N230 billion,” Mr Kuye said.

Mr Kuye said preliminary findings showed that some of the government’s properties were being used by individuals and corporate bodies, who do so without remitting any revenue to the federal purse.

Citing some of the projects, he noted that the estimated economic loss at the national stadium, Surulere, Lagos, from 2004 till date, is about N52.6 billion, while about N126 billion had been lost in rent to the NET building between 2006 to date. The amount, he said, could settle 161 years rent.

The lawmaker also explained that some of the abandoned projects came as a result of the relocation of the capital city Abuja in 1990, from Lagos as well as the commercialisation and privatisation exercise during Obasanjo-administration.

“The House shall take necessary legislative steps to address national economic challenges, poverty, infrastructure decline, mute of resources, revenue leakage and corruption,” he said, adding that this will be done in line with extant laws.

As with the global economy, the ravaging coronavirus pandemic has left the nation’s economy gasping for breath. Oil prices have slumped and federal earnings have shrunk.

But Mr Kuye maintained that his committee “will leverage the thin rare opportunity to serve as a watershed to cushion the harsh economic realities by sourcing the most needed funds by consciously ascertaining their existence.”

In the past, the House had promised similar large scale probes without result, but the chairman assured that his committee “will carry out the task without fear of intimidation in the bid to efficiently discharge this assignment for efficient national service delivery and economic development, in the interest of the greater majority of the Nigeria people and for posterity.”

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