Posted by By Kolade Larewaju & Ben Agande on
GOVERNORS Gbenga Daniel and Peter Odili of Ogun and Rivers States respectively have protested the inclusion of their names in the list of beneficiaries of Federal Government property.
ABEOKUTA— GOVERNORS Gbenga Daniel and Peter Odili of Ogun and Rivers States respectively have protested the inclusion of their names in the list of beneficiaries of Federal Government property.
Police Affairs Minister, Alaowei Broderick Bozimo, also said he was embarrassed by the inclusion of his name in the list of beneficiaries announced by the Federal Ministry of Housing.
Otunba Daniel apparently not satisfied with a denial issued by his Commissioner of Information, Mr Niran Malaolu, petitioned President Oluseguen Obasanjo, describing the inclusion of his name as a “great embarrassment to him.”
Otunba Daniel in a letter dated April 2, 2005 said the inclusion of his name was a “fabrication” and that it was done to damage his character and score cheap political points.
Chief Odili of Rivers State had through his Information Commissioner, Mr. Magnus Ibeh, denied that he bought any of those houses, saying: “It was absolutely false.”
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Budget Intelligence and Price Monitoring, Mr. Oby Ezekwesili, specifically asked for explanation and unreserved apology from the Housing Minister, Mrs Mobolaji Osomo, for the embarrassment caused her.
Governor Daniel in a five-paragraph letter entitled “Re: Scandal in the Ministry of Housing “ said neither did he at any time apply nor got any allocation of property from anybody or institution in any part of the country, adding that the inclusion of his name was done in bad faith.
He said: “Let me start by saluting your candour and resoluteness in the pursuit of the war against corruption. It is noteworthy that this is the first time in the history of our nation that a government will, in words and deeds, tackle the cankerworm of corruption to the admiration of the generality of our people and acclamation of the international community. We want to assure you that our government and people are firmly behind you, as we believe that the steps so far taken in this regard will reduce corruption and engender a better society.
“However, the recent scandal in the Ministry of Housing to which my name has been linked came as a rude shock and great embarrassment. Let me point out without any equivocation that I am in no way connected either directly or indirectly with the scandal reported in the national dailies of 1st of April 2005. Indeed at no time did I apply or got allocation of any property from anybody or institution in any part of the country. I was not offered any allocation of any property whatsoever through any proxy.
“The appearance of my name in the said list is a complete fabrication and done in bad faith by those who are bent on impugning my character to score cheap political points. Your Excellency sir, without sounding immodest, I am a contented man who is satisfied with all God has endowed me with.
“I want to reassure your Excellency that we in Ogun State will continue to support your anti-corruption war. We will never do anything to undermine your efforts to sanitise the polity and make Nigeria a shinning example of transparency and good governance.
“May God continue to give you the strength and wisdom you require to steer the ship of state to the Promised Land.”
Chief Bozimo, through Tony Okwudiafor, Chief Press Secretary, Ministry of Police Affairs said: “The attention of the Minister of Police Affairs, Alaowei Broderick Bozimo, has been drawn to the publication in several national newspapers listing his name as one of the beneficiaries who bought Federal Government houses in Ikoyi, Lagos.
“The minister is highly embarrassed by these stories linking his name to any such purchase and wish to state unequivocally that “although forms for the sales of Federal Government houses were sent to my office, I have not accepted to buy, neither have I bought nor spent a kobo to purchase any government property.”
Opara, Bwari deny
The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Austin Opara and the Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, Mr Abubakar Bawa Bwari, have denied any involvement in the sale of the Federal Government landed propertyin Lagos or any part of the country for that matter, saying those who included their names as beneficiaries of the property did so on their own.
Their denial came just as the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties yesterday called for an independent inquiry into the government property scandal. In separate reactions on the matter, the two principal officers called on the president to get to the root o the matter, saying government officials should not be using other people’s name to perpetrate crime.
In a statement in Abuja, the deputy speaker said he did not at any time apply for the purchase of the purported Ikoyi property neither did he collect, fill or return any form for that purpose. The statement signed by the Special Assistant to the Deputy Speaker on Media, Mr Austin Uganwa, said the allegation that the deputy speaker purchased the house in Ikoyi came as a huge shock and he was determined to getting to the root of the matter.
“As one of the respected leaders of this nation who presides over lawmaking processes, the honourable speaker has overwhelming respect for the laws of the land, rule of law and due process and would not contemplate to act in the contrary,” the statement said.
In his reaction, the Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, Mr Bawa Bwari, said the news that he purchased government house came to him as a rude shock. “I did not indicate any interest, I did not collect the form and I did not empower anybody to collect on my behalf. Those who included my name as one of the beneficiaries of the government properties should remove my name from the list,” he said.
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