The House of Representatives committee on Foreign Affairs will
tomorrow start a probe into the alleged plans to sell the Nigeria
House in New York which is the official residence of Nigeria's
Permanent Representative to the United Nations and the Counsel
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 Rep Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje to conduct a public hearing
on the matter following adoption of a motion by Rep Yakubu Dogara
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.