Reps probe water resources ministry over assets disposal
House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on Disposal of Public Property has begun a probe into disposal of assets belonging to the 12 River Basin Development Authorities (RBDAs) in 2018 by the Ministry of Water Resources.
Chairman of the committee and House Leader, Prof. Julius Ihonbvere (APC, Edo), gave the hint, yesterday, when Managing Directors (MDs) of RBDAs appeared before the panel.
The MDs had told the committee that the ministry was responsible for the advertisement and selection of auctioneers, adding that only the ministry could answer questions about the auction. They noted that the ministry was responsible for the sale of property in 2018 because the agencies had no Governing Board.
But Ihonbvere said the committee was not satisfied with the MDs’ explanation, but had no choice than to invite the ministry. According to the House Leader, the committee is out to investigate alleged illegal auctioning of government properties by Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), River Basin Development Authority (RBDA) and Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
“In the course of this work, we have written letters to all the agencies concerned requesting 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 their books and conduct physical inspection of all public properties acquired to determine the ones sold and procedures adopted for the exercise. As representatives of the Nigerian people, we will deploy all constitutional means to achieve the mandate of the House,” he said.
Earlier, the Managing Director of Lower Niger Basin Development Authority, Dr. Adeniyi Aremu, had said he and other colleagues were appointed in 2018, adding that the process of auctioning off the items in their custody had already commenced before the assumed duty.
Get the latest news delivered straight to your inbox every day of the week. Stay informed with the Guardian’s leading coverage of Nigerian and world news, business, technology and sports.