By Dauda Omaku
LAFIA — AS tension mounts in Nasarawa following protest against alleged sale of the state liaison office in Lagos and other government assets, the major opposition People’s Democratic Party PDP on Tuesday challenged Nasarawa State Governor Abdullahi Sule to disclose to the people his role in the sale of state government properties including the liaison office in question.
Also, the party has requested governor Sule to tell the people who the owner of the state’s property located in Apapa close to the port sold for N150m and later resold to a big business associate earning a profit of N80m privately rather than roping the former Umaru Tanko Al-Makura into his administration’s shady involvement in the sale of state owned properties afterrelationships went sour.
Fielding questions from journalists on the protest by some indigenes of the state in Lagos to register their displeasure on what they described as arbitrary sales of state owned properties by the APC led in the state, Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Hon. Francis Orogu accused governor Sule of complicity and playing a script by sponsoring the protest in order to descredit the immediate past administration of Umaru Tanko Al-Makura in a deal he was a part of.
Orogu wondered why governor Sule has suddenly realized after more than four years that citizens should take to the streets in Lagos to protest sale of state owned assets which he is part of the criminal depossession of state property only when there is perceived disagreement between him and Al-Makura.
According to the opposition party chairman, “This is orchestrated by the incumbent governor Sule to witch-hunt former Gov. Umaru Al-Makura because the two 9f of them appear no longer politically together and cosy, “Orogu alleges.
It would be recalled that Nasarawa State indigenes residing in Lagos State under the auspices of Nasarawa State Development Association protested the sales of the liaison office in Lagos
Chairman of the Nasarawa Indegenes in Lagos, Musa Ikushigya, had in a protest letter expressed dismay over the manner in which their members were dehumanized by men of the Nigerian Police Force at the premises of the liaison office on the orders of a certain AIG who is allied to a presidential candidate supported by the Governor in the last election.
The group alleged that the indigenes of the state were forcefully evicted from the property located at Plot 1234 Bishop Oluwole Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, on the guise of being illegal occupants.
The PDP Chairman told the press that assets of the state including the Lagos liaison office were sold in 2017 during the administration of Al-Makura, wondering why the group were only protesting over the sale of the property six years after insisting that the protest was orchestrated by the paymaster.
“Members of this protesting group are resident in Lagos State but kept quiet all this while but suddenly realized that the property was sold years ago. I challenged the Nasarawa State Government in 2017 at both magistrate and high courts when the sale of the assets came up. Though I lost the case at the High Court, I appealed against the judgement, and the case is still pending at appeal court,” Orogu declared.
The PDP Chairman explained that he was not in support of the sale of any assets that belonged to the people and the state anywhere and had made efforts to stop the action of government in that regard and no elder, citizen or chief raised a voice then.
He, therefore, called for the revocation of the sale of all Nasarawa State Government properties located in states across the country rather than singling one of the properties because of political differences.
Meanwhile, the state House of Assembly Tuesday set up a nine member adhoc committee to probe the sale of government owned assets.
Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon Ibrahim Balarabe Abdullahi announced the House resolution after Hon Mohammed Adamu Omadefu, the Majority Leader of the House, brought the issue under the matter of public interest during the House proceedings in Lafia today.
The Speaker had urged the committee to immediately proceed to Lagos to begin its investigation on the alleged sale of Nasarawa State Liason office in Lagos State.
He further urged the committee to do a thorough investigation to unravel the alleged sale of government properties by the immediate past administration.
” Yes, this House under my watch has passed a resolution directing the former government to sell the state properties in Lagos and other states for infrastructure development as requested by the past governor,” the speaker retorted.
” With what we have seen in the media yesterday that security men have sent indigenes of the state staying in our Lagos Liaison office, out of the structure, I can only say it was unfortunate. We feel bad and disappointed.
On this move by the State Assembly, Orogu wondered how an assembly that gave the nod for the sale then will suddenly turn round to investigate on the ground that “they are feeling bad and disappointed. Who is fooling who.” This means the assembly is investigating itself over an action it took against the public and the speaker himself.
The assembly knowing very well that this case is at the appeal court and therefore should not be debated by the assembly according to house rule ougth to know that it can no longer handle this matter until it’s determination by the courts. Their involvement at this point explains one of the reasons for the bias and insistence of the governor to return Balarabe as speaker of the state Assembly in order to perpetuate evil against the people. ” He said “what this revealed was that even the house committee charged with oversight functions in this regard failed in their duty , if the claim that they don’t know who bought those properties and how they proceeds was utilized after almost 6 years under their watch. This action is nothing but a justification of a political conspiracy, an action initiated not in good faith, not in the interests of the state but another political scam, ” he was quoted to have said.