The All Progressives Congress in Bauchi state opposes the recent lease of the Zaranda Hotels and the sale of some businesses in the state by Bala Mohammed’s government, saying it was done to satisfy some selfish interests.
The party said it was baffled by the “shadow and overnight” dealings between the Bala Mohammed and business associates, friends and political allies of the Bauchi state governor.
Speaking at a press conference at the party’s Next Level secretariat on Friday, the state chairman, Babayo Misau, said the party notes with “great indignation, dismay and utter condemnation that the current bad transactions are murky, questionable and clearly detrimental”. to the collective interest and well-being of the people of the state of Bauchi.”
The press conference text was titled: ‘The APC Bauchi State Chapter Outright Condemns the Unlawful Lease of Zaranda Hotels at N1.2bn, Wikki Hotels at N200m and the Sale of Bauchi Meat Factory at N301m, Galambi Cattle Ranch at N150m, Bauchi Fertilizer Blending Company at N400m and the Bauchi Furniture Company on paltry sums to family and friends against the interests of the people of Bauchi state.’
He expressed his dismay that successive governments in the state have spent billions in hard-earned state funds to establish the industries, which were only divested by Bala Mohammed’s government to serve some personal interests.
Misau said: “The industries affected are the famous Bauchi Meat Factory, which played a prominent role in supplying meat around the world in the 1990s; the Bauchi Furniture Company, which employed hundreds of our youth and had its products all over the country; and the Bauchi State Fertilizer and Blending Company, which supplied massive amounts of fertilizer to farmers at subsidized rates for rapid agricultural progress.
“Also the Zaranda Hotels and Towers which contribute enormously to our internally generated revenue, in addition to the employment of our teaming youth; the Wikki Hotels and Tours which preserves the purpose as Zaranda Hotels; the newest Gallambi Cattle Ranch still popular for supplying bulls to the meat factory and producing fresh farm milk.
“Despite these commendable contributions by the affected companies to improving the economy of Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed’s government has chosen to sacrifice the industries for personal gain, otherwise Bauchi State will have no meaningful benefit from any of the following transactions:
“Leasing Zaranda Hotels for 25 years on N1.2bn ie on N133,333. 33 a day; leasing Wikki Hotels for 25 years at 200m Naira ie at N22,222. 22; Selling Bauchi Meat Factory worth billions of Naira at the cheapest rate of 301m Naira alone and removing the vital Bauchi State Fertilizer and Blending Company at a cost of only 400m Naira;
“Others are selling Gallambi Cattle Ranch at the bargain price of just 150 million Naira; and the Bauchi Furniture Company, which was also wiped out for a negligible amount much less than its present value.”
The APC chairman said more worrisome was the fact that not only is the amount of N2.251 billion to be realized as proceeds from the transactions too meager given the billions of Naira worth of the current financial value of the divested industries, alleging that “the sourcing companies, Shafa Ltd., New Frontier Ltd., H & Y Global Ventures and Butfield Ltd. are directly or indirectly associated with the Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, as business associates and close associates.
“This is in addition to the fact that the entire transaction and bidding process has apparently been compromised in gross violation of due process and oath of office,” he said.
Misau therefore issued a two-week ultimatum to the Bauchi state government to reverse the privatization of the said companies due to the associated negative consequences the move would have on the state.
According to him, “If the state government does not reverse its decisions after two weeks, we will go to court to seek redress for the interests of the people of Bauchi.”
He also called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Independent National Corrupt Practices and other related crime Commission and other anti-graft agencies to investigate the actions of the Bauchi State government.
“Let the general public and the people of Bauchi State take note that the All Progressives Congress strongly condemns the recent move by the government of Bala Mohammed to lease and sell the valuable industries of Bauchi State;
“We call on the EFCC, ICPC and other anti-transplant agencies to investigate the Bauchi state government’s move to divest ownership of six of the industries through privatization.
“We also call on all the people of Bauchi State to remain calm and be aware of the state government’s activities to ensure that their rights and interests are not compromised. They must eschew all forms of violence, but be adamant in the pursuit of collective rights and privileges.
“We call on all APC members to remain law-abiding and peaceful citizens while resisting all forms of threat and political harassment within the bounds of the law,” Misau said.