Some indigenes of the Federal Capital Territory and civil society groups have accused Nyesom Wike of personalizing the affairs of the nation’s capital.
Under the auspices of the FCT Citizens and Civil Society Group, they further claimed that Wike is abusing public trust to service his allies and cronies in Rivers State.
He was also accused to massive land allocation to members of the Rivers House of Assembly.
The group made this known at a press conference on Sunday in Abuja by its convener, Daniel Okwa.
“We are raising these concerns because we have received credible information from various sources that Mr Wike has been using his position to enrich himself at the expense of the citizens of this country,” the statement said.
“These questionable conducts on the part of the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory are in the areas of shady allocation of land to cronies and highest bidders, usurpation of the role of civil servants, intimidation and extortion of property owners and developers, failure to address the genuine issues in the FCT, and lack of accountability in the administration of the FCT.
“On the issue of intimidation and extortion of property owners and developers, Wike has been hiding behind what is otherwise a legitimate demand for ground rent and Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) fee to carry out his shady dealings. He has used the threat of demolition of property and revocation of allocation to force people to pay these monies.
“While these payments are expected and legal, Wike’s demand for them is more tailored towards raising funds, which is problematic because there is no mechanism in place to adequately protect such funds from embezzlement. This is even as there are concerns that his proxies might have been on the take, allegedly receiving funds on his behalf from property owners who are compelled to negotiate additional grace periods because of the unrealistic deadline given to meet the demand notice.
“We also have allegations that suggest that Mr. Wike has been awarding contracts to his friends and family members and using public funds to finance his lifestyle. This is unacceptable behaviour for any public official, let alone a Minister of the Federal Government.
“Furthermore, we have reason to believe that Mr. Wike has been intimidating and harassing political opponents, stifling free speech and press freedom in the process. This is a clear violation of the fundamental human rights enshrined in our constitution.
“As concerned citizens, we cannot sit back and watch as our hard-earned resources, paid to the FCT in various forms of taxes and levies, are being mismanaged and wasted by corrupt officials like Wike. We call on the relevant anti-graft agencies to conduct a thorough investigation into these allegations. We also urge all residents of the FCT to join us in this fight against corruption.
“Contrary to the law and spirit of administering the Federal Capital Territory, Mr Wike has engaged in another disturbing trend, he has been engaging in discriminatory practices in the allocation of land and employment opportunities.
“Wike has focused on his G-5 as the beneficiaries of land allocations since he came into office with other exceptions being people from his ethnic stock in the Niger Delta. His recent allocation of land to some members of the Rivers State House of Assembly is clear evidence of this, which implies he is using FCT land as a political tool to service his followers in Rivers State instead of servicing the interest of the masses.
“This is a clear violation of the principles of fairness, equity, and justice that should guide the allocation of national resources. We believe that this kind of discriminatory behaviour is unacceptable in a country that is striving to build a cohesive and inclusive society. It creates divisions and undermines national unity. It also sends the wrong message to the international community about our commitment to democracy and the rule of law.
“As concerned citizens, we call on the relevant authorities to investigate these allegations and to take appropriate action to address this issue. We also call on all Nigerians to reject any form of discrimination and to work towards building a society that is based on the principles of justice, fairness, and equality. We believe that every Nigerian, regardless of their ethnic background or region of origin, has the right to equal access to land and employment opportunities.
“We will not remain silent while the rights of our fellow citizens are being trampled upon by those in positions of power. We urge all Nigerians to stand together in the fight against discrimination and to work towards building a better and more inclusive Nigeria.”