Buhari orders recovery, sale of Federal Govt’s property



Nigerian government may unsettle some quarters with its latest decision to ‘recover’ about 80 landed properties in 11 states of the country.
A letter dated October 5, 2021, signed by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami SAN, and sighted by Prime Business Africa disclosed that the Federal Government has contracted Gerry Ikputu & Partners and M.E Sheriff Esq of M.E. Sheriff & Co as agents to spearhead the said property recovery project.

The letter titled “Letter of Instruction for the Recovery of Landed Properties and Buildings Belonging to the Federal Government,” which was seen by Prime Business Africa revealed that there was a Memorandum of Understanding and power of attorney dated 12th March 2021 between Gerry Ikputu of Messr. Gerry Ikputu & Partners and M.E Sheriff Esq of Messr. M.E. Sheriff & Co to conduct the asset recovery in the states of Lagos, Rivers (Port Harcourt), Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Abia, Anambra, Edo, Enugu, Imo, Delta and FCT, Abuja.

As stated in the letter, there are 29 properties identified in Lagos, eight in Rivers (Port Harcourt), two each in Cross River and Akwa Ibom, one each in Anambra and Edo, nine in Enugu, five in Imo, three in FCT, Abuja and nine in Delta State. Some of them are empty land, while some are buildings.

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The four ‘abandoned’ bungalows in Anambra, which the federal government says it wants to recover are situated adjacent to the Central Police Station, Nnewi.

Prime Business Africa could not immediately ascertain the status of the four bungalows said to have been ‘abandoned’ in Nnewi but Commissioner for Information and Strategy in Anambra State, Don Adinuba, said in a telephone conversation on Thursday afternoon that the state had not been duly informed of the said property recovery project. He, however, told Prime Business Africa that the federal government should be free to take over the property if indeed it’s abandoned to avoid being occupied by miscreants.

Malami’s letter to Messr. Gerry Ikputu & Partners and M.E Sheriff Esq of Messr. M.E. Sheriff & Co in respect of the 69 landed properties {with over 80 units) did not specify how much the Federal Government would be paying the appointed agents but there are speculations that this could run into billions of naira in costs.

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Besides, it remains unclear if there was an open bidding process leading to the appointment of Messr. Gerry Ikputu & Partners and M.E Sheriff Esq of Messr. M.E. Sheriff & Co for the recovery project.

The terms of engagement, as specified in the letter, is that the agents, after recovering the properties, would hand them over to the Federal Government through the Attorney-General of the Federation who would give further directives on necessary actions to take on the properties.

The agent, Messr. M.E. Sheriff & Co on behalf of its client is expected to work in collaboration with the Assets Recovery and Management Unit under the office of the AGF.

The engagement terms also stipulated that the agent must carry out all recovery drive with approval of the AGF’s office, while three per cent fee of all recovered assets shall be paid to the agent after disposal.

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The engagement between the Federal Government and the agents shall be for a period of six months, just as a breach of the terms could lead to termination of the contract.

The agent company was also mandated not to publicise any information arising from the engagement without prior approval of the AGF.

From the foregoing, the Federal Government is on a drive to recover the properties and sell them, which is being conducted by the Presidential Implementation Committee on Federal Government Landed Property, as a way of generating revenue to settle some financial obligations.