A thorough investigative report has revealed how Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) and current Governor of Kaduna State reallocated a plot of land belonging to the defunct National Primary Education Commission (NPEC), now Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) to himself.
According to Point Blank News, the Senate in 2009 had at the end of a lengthy probe of the El-Rufai administration, asked the Federal Capital Territory government to revoke a plot of land the ministry allocated Obasanjo Farms Limited on the eve of Obasanjo’s exit as president.
The upper chamber of the legislative arm of government, also directed that the plot be returned to its “original owner” inter-Projects Associates Limited.
Throughout the probe, El-Rufai concealed from the senators that in 1994, the former FCT minister’s outfit, El-Rufai and Partners Limited had undertaken a consultancy for National Primary Education Commission (NPEC) to build an 11-storey building on plot 589, Cadastralo Zone A00, the same plat the senators asked be handed Inter-Projects Associates Limited.
Earlier on in 1994, four companies that had indicated interest in constructing the 11-storey office of NPEC, only Contain West Africa was the preferred bidder recommended in a 200-page tender evaluation report by El-Rufai and Partners.
The contract was to be executed with the sum of N400 million.
In the said contract El-Rufai and Associates pocketed N19 million as “consultancy fees”.
The reported was dated November 1994, and jointly signed by El-rufai and Partners as the consulting quantity surveyors and Steveben and Associates who were architects of the project.
Both companies were based in Kaduna State.
The national headquarters of NPEC, at the time was on 12, Ali Akilu Road, Kaduna.
It had a Private Mail Bag with numbers 2328, and Alhaji Abdulsalam Abubakar Sambo was the Executive Secretary.
At the time of tendering of the evaluation report, the registered address of El-Rufai and Partners was located at S4 Kankia Street, Ungwa-Sarki Kaduna.
As interesting as it seems, Inter-Projects Associates Limited, the firm which El-Rufai re-allocated to NPEC’s land to in 2005, had after 11 years of designing NPEC’s building – shares the same S4 Kankia Street, Ungwa-Sarki Kaduna location.
In 1992, the then FCT Minister, General Gado Nasko had handed NPEC PLot 589, Cadastral Zone A00 to the Central Business District.
The plot’s size was measured about 8555 square metres.
Apart from NPEC, Gado Nasko’s administration allocated jobs of land to several other government agencies including the National Universities Commission, National Commission for Colleges of Education, Nigerian National Merit Award and Public Complaints Commission.
Investigations by Pointblanknews.com disclosed that out of fear that several government agencies were directed to relocate from Kaduna, several top Northern power brokers moved to block the directive.
Alhaji Yayale Ahmed was one of the the power brokers.
He was at that time the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education.
He later became Head of Service, and Minister of Defence, reportedly counter-directed NPEC and National Teachers’ Institute (NTI) to “stay put in Kaduna”.
In order to ensure that NTI never relocated to Abuja, checks have revealed that Yayale Ahmed converted NTI’s offical allocation on the Kubwa Expressway into Civil Service Training Institute.
Up till now, NTI’s national headquarters is located in Kaduna.
El-Rufai was appointed FCT minister in July 2003.
Few months later, he commissioned a programme dubbed “Accelerated Development Programme”.
El-Rufai under the guise of the programme, in May 2005 wrote NPEC, an agency he was working for in 1994 which had been scraped six years earlier.
The letter with the subject “Notice of Revocation of Undeveloped Plots Within Central Area Federal Capital Territory” was dated Tuesday, May 10, 2005 with the reference number FG 751.
The one-page letter was addressed “National Primary Education, UBE Building, IBB Close, Wuse Zone 4, Abuja”.
However, the correct address of UBEC is 7, Gwani Street Wuse Zone 4.
There is no IIBB close in the whole of Wuse Zone 4.
The letter read, “Following the expiration of grace period granted by the Minister to the effect and complete development of your plot within the Central Area, I have been directed to inform you that the Minister of Federal Capital Territory has in the exercise powers (sic) conferred on him under Section 28 (5) (a) & (b) of the Land Use Act, 1978, revoked your rights and interest over Plot 589 within Central Area (A00) for your continued contravention of the terms of development of the Right of Occupancy.”
The letter was also copied to the Directors, Develpoment Control, URP amd that of Surveys and Mapping was signed by one Mainasara B. G., an assistant Chief Land Officer.
Barely two months after the revocation of Plot 589, Mallam El-Rufai wrote Inter-Projects Associates limited informing the firm of its new ownership of the plot.
The file number was then given as MISC 80876 and the purpose as “Commercial”.
El-Rufai wrote, “I wish to refer to your application in the Accelerated Development Programme of the Federal Capital Territory and convey to you the approval of grant of Plot Number 589 in Cadastral Zone A00 of Cbd District measuring approximately 8555.00 sq. m.
“Please signify your acceptance of this offer in writing within two weeks from the date of this letter by collecting, signing and returning a Development Lease Agreement containing the terms and conditions of this offer to this office for perfection,” and thanked the firm “for your interest in developing the Federal Capital Territory.”
The Director, Abuja Geographic Information Systems (AGIS), on behalf of the FCT Minister signed the letter.
However, an official from UBEC, availed that there was no letter of such from the FCT ministry that ever got to his organization.
“I was a management staff at the time. No grace period was ever conveyed to UBEC let alone the one purporting to revoke our plot.
“In any case, if there is anybody who should have revoked UBEC’s land, it shouldn’t be El-Rufai, a man who participated in the design of our 11-storey building and got mouth-watering payment for it.
“How did a plot of land originally approved for a government education agency now become ‘commercial’.
Who approved the conversion?”
It was gthered by Pointblanknews.com tha El-Rufai’s opposition to the emergence of the late Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, and the bitterness he exhibited, led to the revocation of the allocation to Inter-Projects Associates Limited.
Meanwhile, FCTA authorities are yet to return PLot 589 to the rightful owners UBEC.
UBEC is currently tucked in a two-storey building in Zone 4, and continues to generate traffic gridlock in the area.
A driver complained that “The parking space in UBEC can’t accommodate the cars of management staff, let alone junior staffers. They are therefore compelled to park their vehicles on the road. At least one car is reported stolen each week, no thanks to the greed of El-Rufai who seized our land,”
The former Minsiter of State for Education, Barr. Nyesom Wike had reportedly been indifferent to efforts by UBEC to recover the property.
Be it as it may seem, an official of UBEC however disclosed that the agency, under a new management, had commenced moves to recover the property that is said to be wothe over N1 billion.
Here are scanned copies of El-Rufai’s Tender Evaluation Report, the letter revoking NPEC’s property, as well as the letters transferring same to El-Rufai’s front and Obasanjo Farms Limited.