The decision by the Bauchi State House of Assembly to repeal the law for the recovery of stolen government assets has continued to generate reactions.
There were allegations that the new law was at the instance of outgoing Gov. Mohammed Abubakar who had lost his reelection to Sen. Bala Mohammed of the PDP.
The Public Property and Fund Recovery Law (2017) was promulgated, passed and assented to by Gov. Abubakar in 2017 to recover public property from the officials of the administration of his predecessor, Mallam Isah Yuguda.
A committee was set up and chaired by Air Commodore Tijjani Baba Gamawa (Rtd) to recover from officials suspected government property in their possessions.
Cars, plots of land, houses and other property were recovered from officials by the committee, Daily Trust reports.
However, most of the property, including plots of land and other landed property were later returned to their owners after it was discovered that the committee had committed many errors.
Since then, the law remained in existence until when the House of Assembly decided to repeal it on Wednesday, few days to the expiration of Gov. Abubakar’s tenure.
The motion to repeal the recovery law was moved by the Deputy Majority Leader, Abdullahi Abdulkadir, representing Burra Constituency and seconded by Sale Nabayi, representing Gajuwa West and Magaji Inuwa representing Jama’are.
The Speaker, Kawuwa Damina, reportedly opened the motion for deliberation on the floor after which the bill and two others passed first, second and third readings without objection from any of the 16 members present at the sitting.
Specifically, the speaker appealed to Gov. Abubakar to sign the repealed recovery bill into law and urged people to understand and see reason for its passage.
However, the Member representing Lere/Bula, Aminu Tukur, had in an earlier reaction said that the bill was speedily passed with a motive to cause confusion.
He alleged that only 13 members out of the 31 members of the assembly were called secretly and that they later converged at 09:00am instead of 10:00am and commenced sitting.
“The 13 members were the cronies that danced to the tune of the outgoing governor who had a plan and it was hatched accordingly,” he alleged.
However, findings by our reporter reveal that 16 members attended the sitting where the bill was passed.
A source at the assembly said members were informed after Tuesday’s plenary to reconvene at 10am yesterday because the speaker wanted to leave for Abuja.
The source added that the bill in question was initiated by Gov. Abubakar as an executive bill to allow him recover government property.
“He has a choice to initiate the move to repeal the law. The incoming administration has the power to make the same law. It is all about what the government wants. The duty of the state assembly is to make laws or repeal them where necessary. It is a continuous process,” the source added.
The Deputy Speaker, Abdulmumini Bala Fanti, said the bill was hurriedly repealed to favour the outgoing governor.
Fanti, who was absent during the passage, alleged that everything that happened regarding the bill was carefully planned by lawmakers loyal to Gov. Abubakar, led by the speaker.
Several calls to Gov. Abubakar’s Adviser on Media and Strategy, Ali M. Ali, was not answered at the time of filing this report.
However, while addressing journalists yesterday in Abuja, Dr. Ladan Salihu, who is the head of the media team for the inauguration of the governor-elect, claimed that the outgoing administration of Gov. Abubakar had in the last five days employed over 1,200 unqualified individuals into the civil service and deployed them across state-owned tertiary institutions, ministries, departments and agencies.
He said all the last-minute appointments and laws purportedly facilitated by outgoing governor will be reversed.
He said the incoming administration of Sen. Mohammed was also concerned about the laws being enacted by the House of Assembly, allegedly designed to assist officers of the outgoing government to escape the long arm of the law for acts of corruption while in office.