The House of Representatives committee on Foreign Affairs will on Tuesday commence a probe into the alleged plans to sell the Nigeria House in New York. The house is the official residence of Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations and the Counsel General.
Towards this end, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof Viola Onwuluri is expected to face the panelists and explain what actually transpired.
According to the clerk of the committee, Haruna Zakari, those expected to join Prof Onwuluri at the committee’s investigative hearing include permanent secretary in the ministry, Ambassador Martins Uhomoibi; current Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to UN, Prof Joy Ogwu and the deputy, Ambassador Usman Sarki.
Others are Nigeria’s ambassador to the US, Washington DC, Prof Adebowale Adefuye; former Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to UN, Prof Ibrahim Gambari; current Nigeria’s ambassador to China and former Permanent Representative to UN, Aminu Wali and former Foreign Affairs Minister, Olugbenga Ashiru, among others.
The lower chamber had on Tuesday, November 5 alleged that plans were afoot to sell off the Nigerian House and subsequently mandated the committee led by Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje to conduct a public hearing on the matter following adoption of a motion by Rep Yakubu Dogara (PDP, Bauchi).
Dogara had expressed concern that “in a bid to sell off the property very cheaply, an estimated repair bill of N2.754 billion has been prepared so that the government would be discouraged from carrying out the needed repairs and sell off the property.”
The Nigeria House was said to have been bought in 1961 by late Prime Minister Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa from the famous John Davison Rockefeller family at the sum of $1 million and is said to be located in one of the most expensive places in the world which makes it both historic and strategic.
It sits on over 16.6 acres of land and all former Nigerian representatives to UN had lived there.
The committee during an oversight tour of the property earlier this year smelt a rat and felt that such a monument should not be sold off.