By Kauthar Anumba-Khaleel, Abuja
The House of Representatives has read for second time, a bill to establish the Nigerian Assets Management Agency to be charged with the responsibility of managing all federal government owned assets including but not limited to assets acquired through court orders, forfeitures and seizures by federal agencies such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Nigeria Customs Service, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
The passage of the bill sponsored by Hon. Jones Onyereri follows a heated debate at Wednesday’s plenary.
In his lead debate, Onyereri explained that the purpose for the establishment of the agency is for proper management of all federal government owned assets whether exists or acquired through seizures, court orders and forfeitures.
According to him, the agency will also ensure a proper co-ordination and enforcement of all federal government assets management legal regimes and enforcement powers conferred or any power or authority.
The legislator further explained that the agency if established “will protect and enhance the long term economic values of those assets viz-a-viz effective management and disposal of federal government assets.
The agency he said will collaborate with other government agencies both within and outside Nigeria carrying out similar functions wholly or in part in order to identify and determine the whereabouts of federal government property located and situated in any part of the world as well we ‘coordinating of all existing federal government assets units in Nigeria”
Speaking on the bill, Hon. Toby Okechukwu stated that many assets seized by AMCON, EFCC, ICPC, Customs and other security agencies often waste away hence the need to establish the agency to manage assets and also keep proper records and custody of seized assets saying “we do not need seized assets to waste away”
Similarly, Hon. Ahman Pategi said the bill will help in maintaining confiscated assets adding that instead of allowing assets worth to rot away when they could be put to better economic use.
However, Hon. Aminu Suleiman kicked against the bill noting that the establishment of such agency was an unnecessary creation of new bodies.
“for me, I am totally and completely against any new agency”
On his part, Hon. Edward Pwajok cautioned that the bill be fine-tuned, noting that while the intendment of the bill was beautiful, “the sponsors must be careful not to create confusion because agencies such as EFCC, ICPC, Police do seize assets with a court order”.