By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
LAGOS—IMMEDIATE past president of the Senate, Senator David Mark, has accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, of chasing shadows in its contention against his purchase of the official residence of Office of Senate President at Apo Legislative Quarters.
Senator Mark in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Paul Mumeh, said the property was duly offered for sale, bidded for, which he purchased, like any other person would, in line with the Federal Government’s Monetisation Policy started during the time of President Olusegun Obasanjo.
He said: “I had the right of first refusal. Even if I did not purchase it, someone else would have.
“I am a law-abiding citizen. I did not flout any law. Curiously, four houses occupied by the then presiding officers of National Assembly were offered to the occupants.
‘’All of us, me as the then President of the Senate, Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, the then Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, and his Deputy Bayero Nafada were all given the same offer.
“I am at a loss as to why it is now a subject of contention. If this persecution is about politics, my political party and the 2019 elections, I dare say that only God and Nigerians would decide. No amount of persecution would alter the will of God.
“I had refrained from commenting on this because it is already in the court. But they have taken the matter to the court of public opinion.”
Senator Mark through his lawyer, Ken Ikonne, in the suit NO FHC/ABJ/1037/2017 before the Federal High Court, Abuja, had said that he followed due process and legally acquired the property from the FCDA on April 27, 2011.
Senator Mark is also asking the court for a declaration that an order by the Attorney General of the Federation and one Obono Obla of the Presidential Task Force on Recovery of Government Properties compelling him to vacate the aforesaid property without affording him a fair hearing, amounted to a denial of his fundamental human rights, unconstitutional and void.
He recalled that the Federal Executive Council decided to authorize the sale of the properties housing the principal officers of the National Assembly because the general security of the area had been altered/compromised due to the sale of the other houses in the Legislative Quarters to the public.
Consequent upon which the houses were offered for sale and dully purchased.
Senator Mark was given the first option of refusal upon which he dully accepted on April 21st 2011 and paid the agreed purchase price to the adhoc committee on sale of Federal Government houses on April 27, 2011.