Senate Accuse Executive Of Selling National Assets Without Consultation 

Joseph Bakare

The Chairman of the Senate committee on Privatisation, Sen Theodore Orji has accused the Executive arm of Government of selling and concessioning national assets without consulting it.

He also accused the Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, Alex Oboh of ignoring his calls and text messages.

Sen. Orji made this known during an interview with newsmen on Tuesday.

Part of the assets listed by Orji include the sale of the following; the National Art Theater and Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS); all the River Basin Development Authorities (RBDAs) at N836 million and Nigeria Integrated Power Projects (NIPP)’ Omotosho, Geregu and Calabar at N434 billion to core investors.

“During the BPE budget defence before my committee, I complained bitterly that the relationship between our committee and the BPE, has not been very cordial due to the behaviour of the DG, BPE.

“This is a man that if we call him on phone, he would not answer…If we send him a text message, he would not reply. How then does he want us to communicate? There should be a synergy between the Senate or its committee on Privatisation and the BPE because that is the major parastatal that we oversight

“I also believe that that the Senate Committee on Privatisation should be carried along when most of the arrangement to either sell or concession our national assets are being made so that we would be aware.

‘‘Let me assure Nigerians that there is no member of the Senate Committee on Privatisation that knows about all these things; except they read it on the pages of newspapers. We were never briefed by the management of the BPE. We were not there when the necessary documents were signed. Also, we were never invited at all.”

Further, he narrated how Oboh repeatedly sidelines his committee.

“When the DG, BPE came to defend his agency’s 2021 budget proposal before us; we asked him why he didn’t invite us at least as witnesses. He merely apologised.

“This is neither the first time nor the second time that such a thing would happen. When it happened the first time, I accosted him and asked him why he prevented us from carrying out our statutory job. However, we felt this is the best time to open up so that tomorrow; Nigerians would not blame the senators for being part of the sale of our national assets. We know nothing about the entire transactions as a committee.

“However, we want to assure Nigerians that the Senate committee will carry out its functions by summoning the DG, BPE. We would demand for all the documents relating to the entire transactions.

“We would ascertain whether due process was followed. Also, we would look at the amount that the BPE put up the assets for either outright sale or concession. We would scrutinise the papers to see whether they are fair or ridiculous amounts because what Nigeria as a nation needs now, is money.”

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