WorldStage Newsonline-- The House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Relations on Thursday questioned the Ministry of Foreign Affairs over a N2 billion billed meant for the renovation of the residence of Nigeria's Permanent Representative to the United Nations.
The property sitting on 16. 6 acres of land in Tarry town, New York, USA. was bought in 1961 by Nigeria's late Prime Minister, Abubarkar Tafawa Balewa.
The Committee chair, Nnena Elendu-Ukeje said the House on November 5th 2013 had mandated her committee to investigate the matter because of an alleged conspiracy that inflate the figure for the repairs of the property in order to force the Federal Government sell it cheaply.
The investigation was triggered by a motion sponsored by Yakubu Dogara (PDP Bauchi) alleging intention to surreptitiously sell the building for a paltry N2.754 billion.
But the Supervising Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof. Viola Onwuliri in a presentation during the one-day public hearing by the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs on the alleged plan to sell official residence of Nigeria's, Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) in Tarty Town, New York, USA" denied the allegation saying there was no plan to sell the property.
The Permanent Secretary said they received a bill $16. 9 million for A new design and development of the property, and $12.8 million for the renovation of the existing structure.
He said that the property had deteriorated because of the dearth of funds to renovation adding that no major renovation had been done since the property was purchased in 1961 by the late Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Belewa,
Uhomoibhi said "It has not been sold and no intention to sell it. To the best of our knowledge as a ministry, we are cognisant of the essence of the monument and what it means to Nigeria as a nation.