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House probes alleged sale of Nigeria's building in New York

By The Citizen

The House of Representatives on Tuesday directed its Committee on Foreign Affairs to conduct a public hearing over alleged plans by the Federal Government to sell the official residence of Nigeria's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York.

In a resolution on a motion by Mr. Yakubu Dogara, the House also resolved that rather than dispose of the property, funding should be provided for 'serious repairs and renovation' of the house so that the Permanent Representative could occupy it.

In addition, lawmakers asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs not to renew any pending lease agreements or rented property for the PR.

Dogara recalled that the Federal Government acquired the property in 1961 to serve as a 'befitting' residence for the PR, noting that all Nigeria's past PRs, except the current one, resided at the residence.

'They never expressed any need, whatsoever, to rent other apartments in New York for purposes of residence,' Dogara added.

He told the House that due to 'a period of deliberate neglect' the property needed a budget of N350m for repairs.

However, he alleged that a bill of N2.7bn had been estimated as cost of repairs in a bid to 'sell off the property very cheaply.'

He stated, 'This seems to be the pattern with Nigerian national landed assets all over the world, whose proceeds after sales never come into the coffers of the government, but used to pay for one purported legal debt or the other.'