ASCAB Writes Senate, Seeks Reversal Of ‘Fraudulent’ Privatisation Programmes – Channels Television

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Human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana (file)

 

A civil society coalition, Alliance for Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB), has written to the Senate, asking the upper chamber to set up an agency that would reverse alleged fraudulent privatisation programmes carried out in the country.

ASCAB in a letter dated April 28 and addressed to the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, called on the parliament to mount pressure on the executive to act on its report on Nigeria’s past privatisation programmes.

It will be recalled that the Senate had in 2011 set up a committee to investigate the privatisation and commercialisation activities of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) from 1999 to 2011.

The committee, which was chaired by Senator Lawan, had said it discovered some sharp practices in the exercise, ranging from alleged fraud and abuse of power.

As a result, the upper chamber advised the Federal Government to reverse some of the privatisation programmes.

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But ASCAB’s interim Chairman, Femi Falana, said the Senate should use “legislative tools to put pressure on the Executive” to implement the committee report.

He called on the lawmakers to “enact an Act to facilitate the establishment of a body that would actualize the reversal of all past privatizations which your (Lawan’s) Committee found were characterized by abuses, illegality and fraud.”

“The Senate should use legislative tools to put pressure on the Executive to implement the recommendations of the “REPORT OF THE AD-HOC COMMITTEE ON INVESTIGATION OF THE PRIVATIZATION AND COMMERCIALIZATION ACTIVITIES OF THE BUREAU OF PUBLIC ENTERPRISES (BPE) FROM 1999 TO 2011,” he said.

“That the National Assembly should enact an Act to facilitate the establishment of a body that would actualize the reversal of all past privatizations which your Committee found were characterized by abuses, illegality and fraud, pursuant to Section 16(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended.”

READ THE LETTER ADDRESSED TO THE SENATE BELOW:

28th April 2021

Senator Ahmad I. Lawan

The Senate President

National Assembly Complex

FCT, Abuja

Dear Sir,

AN OPEN CALL ON THE SENATE PRESIDENT TO PUT LEGISLATIVE PRESSURE ON THE EXECUTIVE TO IMPLEMENT RECOMMENDATIONS IN THE “REPORT OF THE AD-HOC COMMITTEE ON INVESTIGATION OF THE PRIVATIZATION AND COMMERCIALIZATION ACTIVITIES OF THE BUREAU OF PUBLIC ENTERPRISES (BPE) FROM 1999 TO 2011” CHAIRED BY SENATOR AHMAD I. LAWAN

ASCAB recalls that in your capacity as a Senator, you chaired the Senate AD-HOC Committee that investigated privatization and commercialization activities from 1999 to 2011.

The verdict of the Committee that you chaired is that the privatization exercise in the period 1999 to 2011 was an abysmal failure in that there were abuses of the prescribed procedure, which facilitated the looting of public assets and transfer of same to private individuals and/or companies.

The confounding findings of your Committee compelled the Committee to call for reversal of listed privatizations and the prosecution of identified individuals, among others.

Coincidentally, you are today the President of the Senate. ASCAB, therefore, calls on you to use your good office to do the following:

  1. That the Senate should use legislative tools to put pressure on the Executive to implement the recommendations of the “REPORT OF THE AD-HOC COMMITTEE ON INVESTIGATION OF THE PRIVATIZATION AND COMMERCIALIZATION ACTIVITIES OF THE BUREAU OF PUBLIC ENTERPRISES (BPE) FROM 1999 TO 2011”
  2. That the National Assembly should enact an Act to facilitate the establishment of a body that would actualize the reversal of all past privatizations which your Committee found were characterized by abuses, illegality and fraud, pursuant to Section 16(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended, which provides as follows:

(3) A body shall be set up by an Act of the National Assembly which shall have power: (a) to review, from time to time, the ownership and control of business enterprises operating in Nigeria and make recommendations to the President on the same; and

(b) to administer any law for the regulation of the ownership and control of such enterprises.

In order to remind the Senate of the findings in the Report of the Senate’s AD-HOC COMMITTEE ON INVESTIGATION OF THE PRIVATIZATION AND COMMERCIALIZATION ACTIVITIES OF THE BUREAU OF PUBLIC ENTERPRISES (BPE) FROM 1999 TO 2011, ASCAB has reproduced some of the key findings of your Committee. They are as contained in the enclosed publication entitled, “The Case Against Privatization”.

ASCAB is committed to partnering with the Senate in popularizing the findings of your Committee and putting public pressure on the Executive arm of Government to implement the Recommendations of your Committee.

We look forward to a collaborative campaign that would lead to a reversal of the dispossession of the public and the taking back from the private sector of the resources that have been fraudulently transferred to private individuals and/or their companies.

Thanks very much for your anticipated cooperation.

Yours faithfully,

Femi Falana, SAN

Interim National Chair

Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 And Beyond (ASCAB).

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