The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Kogi and some citizens of the state have begun to kick against the alleged plans by the Governor Yahaya Bello-led administration to sell off 10 of the state’s properties to finance the N151 billion budget of the state for 2018.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) gathered on Monday in Lokoja that the properties are all located in highbrow areas of Lagos, Abuja, Kaduna and Lokoja, the state capital.
The state Commissioner for Finance, Ashiru Idris, confirmed to NAN that the plan to sell the properties was not hidden.
Mr. Idris said that he had made a full disclosure of the government’s intention to dispose of some its assets and property before the state House of Assembly recently.
He said that the properties were for outright sale and not for commercialisation.
He said that the state government had engaged some consultants to carry out the evaluation of the properties.
“When the consultants are done with the evaluation of the assets and properties, we will place adverts in newspapers for bidders,” he said.
However, the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rejected the government’s plan to sell some of the state’s assets to fund the 2018 budget.
The party called on the state government to perish the thought of selling off the “legacy properties.”
The party’s Publicity Secretary, Bode Ogunmola, stated this while reacting to the state government’s proposal.
“To say the least, we consider the plot to be selfish, devilish and myopic.
“It is shameful that a government which is saddled with the inability to pay workers’ salaries let alone executing people-oriented projects will now scheme to mortgage our collective future,” the statement said.
A cross-section of residents who spoke on the matter also cautioned the state government against selling off the property in the interest of the future of the state.
The residents who refused to disclose their identities urged the government to think out of box and come up with ways of financing its budget deficit instead of selling off their collective property.
Mr. Idris, however, dismissed the fears raised by the PDP and the residents, saying that the process to sell off the properties outright was already in the process.
He listed the properties slated for sale to include: the Confluence Beach Hotel, Lokoja; Kogi Hotels, GRA, Lokoja; Kogi State Liaison Office, Ikeja-Lagos GRA; Kogi State Liaison Office, GRA, Kaduna; and Lokoja International Market, Lokoja.
According to him, others are the 12-storey Kogi House in Abuja, the vast Commissioners’ quarters in Lokoja and the state House of Assembly quarters along Hassan Usman Katsina road in Lokoja.
NAN reports that many of the properties being planned for sale were built between 1991 and 1993 and from 1999 to 2003 by the first civilian executive governor of the state, the late Abuabakar Audu.
The Lokoja International Market and the 12-storey Kogi House, Abuja, were constructed by the administrations of Ibrahim Idris and Idris Wada.