House of Representatives
Reps Claim Only Two Persons Own 1,267 Hectares Of Land For Project
There was a mild drama yesterday as former Senate President, Chief Anyim Pius Anyim, accused the chairman of the House of Representatives committee on the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Herman Hembe of bias over the probe of the controversial Centenary City project.
Anyim who coordinated the project when he served as the Secretary to the Government of the federation (SGF) wondered why the lawmakers dabbled into the issue even when it was trite knowledge that the Senate had already probed into the issue.
Anyim maintained that the two legislative chamber were interdependent and accused Hembe of not only angling to take bribe but pursuing an agenda of vendetta against his person.
Said he: “You have told everybody that cared to listen that when the former director general of securities and exchange commission accused you of demanding bribe from her, you pushed for her to be sacked and I refused to sack her while I was secretary to the government of the federation and so this is an opportunity for you to pay me back.
“I will not allow you to use the national assembly platform to pursue personal vendetta. It is unacceptable and I will not submit to it because it offends the rule of fair hearing.
“Mr. Chairman, you have been threatening to conduct this public hearing for over a year now. In fact you ended last year with it and this year you scheduled it for 27th January 2017, then moved it to 1st February and eventually February 3.
“Chairman we only discovered your game plan for all the postponement when you started sending messages to the managing director to come and see you privately.
“It was after all your effort to get the managing director to come and see you privately failed that you confirmed this date. I want you to know that nobody will see you privately. Rather we ate ready for the hearing.”
He, therefore, called on Hembe to step down as chairman of the committee and allow his deputy, Mr. Segius Ogun, take charge of the hearing on the basis that he cannot be guaranteed of fair hearing considering the fact that he has a deep seated personal interest and bias on the matter.
Hembe, who had hectic time restoring order during proceedings of the committee, flatly declined to heed to Anyim’s call on him to step down. He also denied ever soliciting for any form of gratification or favours from Anyim or any of his aides.
The atmosphere was further charged after the former federal capital territory (FCT) minister, Mr. Bala Mohammed, who initially refused to be dragged into the issue, described Hembe as childish disrespectful and “unrepresentative” in the way and manner he conducted the hearing.
Mohammed, however, explained that notwithstanding the fact that he had reservations on some aspect of the deal, the resolve to grant approval for the centenary city project was in line with effort by the government to woo investors into the country.
Hembe, who made copious references to the approvals granted by the former President Goodluck Jonathan on the issue, remained unperturbed as he asserted that the centenary city project deal fell short of the guideline as stipulated by the Abuja land swap programme.
Hembe claimed that after due diligence, his committee was able to uncover that the Abuja centenary city project belonged to two firms incorporated as Basic start limited and Company First limited with 10, 000 share capital apiece.
Saying both firms were owned by the same directors namely Paul Oki and Boma Ozobia, he insist that the committee would surely ask questions as to why the centenary city project with the size of 1, 267 hectares of land was allocated to just two persons in breach of the law.