A report by The Sun newspaper claims that some aides and ministers of former president Goodluck Jonathan shared 500 houses owned by the Federal Government in Abuja and Lagos before they left power.
Aside the ministers and aides, some heads of powerful federal agencies like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and top military officers also benefited from the alleged largesse of the Jonathan’s administration.
Making reference to the documents sighted in the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), the report revealed that the allocation of the houses was not done in their individual names but in the names of front-companies.
The report also claims that the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to probe Jonathan's administration has prompted the former government officials to abandoned the properties.
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A source in the SGF office said they are now scared to take possession of the properties which are scattered all over Asokoro and Maitama areas of Abuja as well as Ikeja GRA, Ikoyi, Victoria Island and Apapa areas of Lagos.
The source further said, most of the houses were abandoned because “the owners are obviously looking for private sector individuals that can buy them as many of them didn’t really get the allocations to live in the houses, they only want to sell them off and make profit.”
When queried why the allocations were done in the names of companies rather than the names of the actual beneficiaries, the official said: “Most of the owners got the houses while still in government and they wouldn’t like to disclose such huge assets in their assets declaration forms with the Code of Conduct Bureau because of the questions on the source of the funds used to pay for such. We’re only the ones who knows who owns what but if you follow the table of allocations, you will only find names of companies as beneficiaries.”
The source also exonerated the committee in charge of the houses of any complicity, adding: “Decisions and approvals more often than not, come from the Presidency.
“The committee also has no control over which name will be used for the purpose of allocation and what such beneficiaries do with the properties afterwards”, the official added.
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Another source in the Ministry of Lands and Housing, however, said that the number of houses allocated was far lower than 500. The source disclosed, “It is true that some requests for allocation came towards the end of the last administration but the real allocation was tactically delayed by some officials to avoid running into trouble with the then in-coming Buhari administration.”
Meanwhile, about 12 close aides of former President Goodluck Jonathan have been stripped of their official passports.