By Mohammed Yangida, Lafia, Muhammad Tanko Shittu, Jos–
As the proposed sale of Nasarawa state assets, inherited from the old plateaus state, continues to generate heated debates, the issue has assumed a new dimension following new discoveries. Investigation reliable revealed that the Nasarawa state government will engage the services of security agencies to investigate the sale and allocation of its properties by suspected speculators over the past 10 years.
Most of the properties in choice areas in Jos, Plateau state capital, have been discovered to be in the possession of highly placed Nigerians and organisations.
These properties which were officially confirmed to be the legal properties of the Nasarawa state government by the judgement of the Supreme Court delivered on March 23, 2012, were spreadacross Plateau, Kaduna and Lagos states. Investigations revealed that some of the properties in highbrow areas had been fraudulently sold to unsuspecting members of the public, even before the Supreme Court judgement in connivance with some government officials in Plateau and Nasarawa states.
Further checks revealed that property No. 4, Liberty Boulevard, Jos, (White House) is presently being claimed by a retired senior military personnel with a caveat emptor reading “Residence of a military personnel keep off : Order.” Similarly, property on No. 3 Hospital Place, Jos, is also occupied by a retired permanent secretary from the Nasarawa state civil service, while the property located on No. 27 Ibrahim Taiwo Road, also in Jos, is occupied by a family member of a retired High Court judge from Plateau state.
Another property on No. 7 Fufore Road, Kaduna, is now being claimed by a security agency which is now a subject of controversy as to who actually sold the property to them. Other houses were illegally occupied by people for over 10 years as the state awaited the final verdict of the Supreme Court which came up in 2012.
It would be recalled the Nasarawa state executive council, acting on the resolution of the House of Assembly, proposed thesale of the assets after substantial recovery of the properties across the country before speculators resorted to encroachment or illegal occupation. Speaking on the development, the Plateau state Commissioner for Lands and Survey, Mr. Festus Funtir, said the state government was not aware of such development, adding that it was yet to receive any such complaints from the Nasarawa state government.
Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, Ahmed Tukur, said “whatever decision the state government will take concerning the property will surely be in the best interest of the state.”