Reps summon water resources minister over ‘illegal’ auction of river basin authorities’ assets

A house of representatives ad hoc committee has summoned Joseph Utsev, minister of water resources and sanitation, over the alleged illegal auctioning of some government assets.

The ad hoc committee investigating the “illegal” disposal of some government properties between 2010 and 2022 and non-remittance of the revenue realised from the sale of the assets into the consolidated revenue fund (CRF), issued the summon at its inaugural sitting on Monday.

According to the panel, the minister is to account for the assets of the river basin authorities in the country auctioned between 2010 and 2022.

Some of the managing directors of the basin authorities who appeared before the committee on Monday said the water resources ministry auctioned the assets on behalf of the agencies.

The managing directors who appeared before the committees include Adeniyi Aremu, Lower Niger River Basin; Suleiman Abubakar, Upper Benue River Basin, and Bassey Edet, Cross River Basin Authority.

Aremu said the auctioning of the assets by the ministry of water resources had already begun before he was appointed in 2018.

Julius Ihonvbere, chairman of the committee, who is the majority leader of the house, expressed dissatisfaction over the process of disposing of the assets.

“I want to assure you for now that we are not very satisfied and that is because you did not preside over this process,” he said.

The lawmaker also faulted the documents presented to the committee by the agencies, noting that there are “disconnects in the contents in some of the documents”.

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