An ad hoc committee of the House of Representatives has invited stakeholders in the Lagos International Trade Complex (LITC) concession over unrecovered N6.5 billion.
The committee investigating the lease of the federal government-owned assets made the resolution sequel to a unanimous adoption of a motion by Rep. Sani Bala (APC-Kano) at a public hearing on Tuesday in Abuja.
The stakeholders include the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), the LITC, Aulic Nigeria Ltd, and the Plaza Owners Association, among others.
LITC director Francis Dajilak told the committee that the complex’s concession went to Aulic Nigeria Ltd in 2007.
He added that five major stakeholders, including the State Security Service, existed in the complex before the concession.
Mr Dajilak explained that there were issues between the exiting stakeholders and Aulic after the concession, which delayed the implementation till 2008.
The director explained that between 2008 and 2017, when the contract was terminated, Olic did not remit funds to the federal government as agreed. According to him, between 2008 and 2017, when the contract was terminated, Aulic Nigeria Ltd owed N6.5 billion.
The director said all efforts to recover the funds after the termination of the contract proved abortive.
Mr Dajilak stated that the entire place was in a mess upon recovering the complex, and the EFCC was invited to recover the funds. He told the committee that EFCC made the but later released owners of Aulic after a few weeks with no amount paid into government coffers.
Mr Dajilak also mentioned that the LITC approached BPP to help recover the funds, but no positive result has been achieved.
Godson Okoye, Plaza Owners Association’s counsel, told the committee that if the complex was well managed, it could generate N12 billion annually.
He requested that the committee should give the association a few days to put their position into writing and submit it to the committee.
Mr Okoye pointed out that a lot was going wrong in the complex, and many of their members had lost a lot of money. He revealed that big businesspeople operating in the complex had relocated to neighbouring countries due to bad management.
In his ruling, the committee chairman, Dan Asuqu (PDP-Cross River), said the committee was interested in recovering the funds.
He also mentioned that the committee was interested in protecting the interest of Nigerians who had invested monies in the complex. According to him, we will do all within our powers and the constitution, even if it means making heads roll or stepping on toes.
The chairman noted that the committee was also interested in generating funds for the government, saying all will be done to ensure the government makes more than N12 billion annually from the complex.