A Lokoja based human rights activist, Comrade Idris Miliki Abdul has berated the Kogi State government over its current move to sell 10 assets belonging to the state, describing it as unwise and unacceptable.
Miliki, who is the Executive Director of Centre for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution (CHRCR), condemned the proposed move in a press statement released in Lokoja today.
Abdul also queried the rationale behind this proposed sales of the assets which according to him was built from the taxpayer’s money by the previous administrations.
“This is a government that has not built one bedroom flat in two years despite the colossal amount it has received through bailout, parish club, statutory allocation and monies collected on behalf of Local governments through the Federation Account.
“Despite the biggest cement factory in West Africa is located in Lokoja Local government of Kogi State and the natural gift of Rivers Niger and Benue from God also located in Lokoja the state capital, this government have not thought it wise to have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the cement factory to enable it build several housing units for its citizenry,” he said.
He pointed out that it is worrisome that both approved 2017 and 2018 budget does not have a single naira budgeted for housing in it.
“These are assets that can bring in income and generate revenue for the state if it has been properly rehabilitated and put to use. This is the same government that has embarked on the renovation of Government House running into billions of naira and is yet to be completed in two years.
“We hope the same Government House will not be put up for sale to finance the 2019 budget before the end of the present administration.
“What will happen to the revenue house built by the current administration, will it also be put up for sale? A government that is not building houses is ready to sell the ones inherited. This proposed sale is one-step forward and two-steps backward.
“What is the role of the State House of Assembly in this matter as the government explained that he informed the State Assembly during budget defense. Does it means the state assembly did not ask question on how the approved budget will be financed as the 2018 budget speech of the Governor Alh. Yahaya Bello presented to the State House of Assembly on the 21st of December 2017 did not contain the sale of Kogi Assets to finance the budget.
“When and where was this decision taken to dispose off Kogi assets to finance budget? We reject this proposal in entirety and called on the citizens of Kogi across the world not to key into or accept this proposal to put our common patrimony on sale,” he stressed.
The proposed properties/assets to be disposed off as disclosed by the Kogi State Government include the Commissioner quarters in Lokoja, Confluence Beach Hotel, Kogi Hotel, Kogi State Liaison Office Ikeja Lagos, Kogi State Liaison Office, GRA Kaduna, Lokoja International Market, 12-Storyed building Abuja, and Olympic Confluence stadium.