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Reps Probe N1.017 Trillion Sovereign Wealth Fund, Without Media Access



The House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee, currently tasked with probing the utilization of N1.017 trillion within the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF), expressed its preference on Friday to carry on with its responsibilities without the presence of media coverage.

While the committee session had been covered by the media on Wednesday, the situation changed when the committee reconvened on Friday. At that point, a committee member informed journalists who were prepared to continue their coverage that their attendance was no longer necessary.

Kuye Ademorin-Aliyu, addressing the journalists, stated that the committee had decided to hold the investigative hearing in a closed-door format.

Protests arose from the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) concerning the presentations made by the Managing Director of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) on Wednesday.

Mr. Aminu Umar-Sadiq, the Managing Director NSIA told the committee during its first sitting on Aug. 23 it invested in schools and constructed some classrooms in primary schools across LGA in the country.

Reacting to the statement, the President of ALGON, Mr Kolade Alabi, denied knowledge of any projects being executed through the NSIA across the 774 LGAs.

“You have spoken well about schools but our own jurisdiction is primary schools; we have not seen a single school you built at the LGA level.

He demanded that the details of beneficiaries of various projects reeled out by the MD of NSIA, adding that “none of the projects to the best of our knowledge can be seen or felt at the LGA.

“They have spoken well in partnership with the communities but my question is how can you partner with the communities without LGA.

“They have spoken well about health delivery but the one that is within the limit of the LGA is primary healthcare’’, he said.

He said the NSIA investment was to state government-owned hospitals and not LGA hospitals.

“You have talked about 13,500 affordable houses but to who? Who would be the beneficiary,” asked.

Also, the Director-General of Nigeria Governor Forum (NGF), Asishana Okauru, represented by Mr Lateef Shitu, Executive Director, Strategy and Research, confirmed NSIA President’s statements describing LGAs as appendages of state governments.

However, some concerned lawmakers and stakeholders expressed displeasure over the flagrant abuse of the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) as regards the administration of local governments.

They urged President Bola Tinubu to ensure adherence to the provisions of the 1999 Constitution which recognises local governments as the third tier of government in the country.