“A committee has been set up by the Federal Government saddled with the responsibility of recovering government property from former government officials.”
Sources close to the Presidency have revealed that a number of former government officials are still in possession of vehicles, buildings, generator sets and other entitlements that came with their previous positions.
According to the sources, in spite vacating their various offices almost three months ago, many are yet to return these government properties. To this effect, government has set up a committee made up of civil servants and security agents to recover the unreturned public assets from the political office holders, who had left office.
During a chat with some newsmen in Abuja on Sunday, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, confirmed the situation. “That is precisely the case, even here at the Villa, there are cars and other property belonging to the government which are yet to be returned.”
According to him, the Buhari’s administration will soon begin to demand for the return of these assets. He stressed that the aim was not to embarrass anyone but to return the properties to government. “The properties belong to the Nigerian people. We are not trying to humiliate anyone by asking them to return their cars or houses,” he added.
When asked whether the state and local governments were facing similar challenges with retrieving government property from their predecessors, Shehu said that he was not in a position to confirm or deny this.
He, however, added that he would not be surprised if that was the case, as this attitude of holding on to government property “even after leaving office must be a natural outcome of the culture of impunity that has prevailed in Nigeria over the past years of PDP rule.
“But change has come; that is why we have to do things differently now.’’ He reiterated President Buhari’s commitment to running an austere government that would save the Nigerian people millions in public funds.
“Imagine how much Nigeria will save by retrieving and re-using these government properties instead of purchasing new ones for new government officials,’’ he said.