By Babajide Komolafe
ABUJA—Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, weekend stated the resolve of the Federal Government to deal ruthlessly with institutions and individuals indebted to Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON.
Osinbajo, who noted that one of the measures to be deployed against the debtors was stopping them from doing business with government, vowed that government would not fold its arms and allow AMCON debtors walk the streets free.
“I think the time has come for us (Federal Government) to set some examples with some of these top debtors of AMCON, which I believe will set a good example and serve as deterrent to others,’’ the vice president said.
He said the debtors had made it impossible for AMCON to resolve its outstanding N5 trillion debt, thereby holding the entire nation to ransom with their bad behaviour.
Osinbajo disclosed this while addressing some board members and management of AMCON, led by the Board Chairman, Dr. Muiz Banire, SAN, at State House, Abuja.
Osinbajo, who is the Chairman of Economic Council, said there were plans by government to set up an inter-agency collaboration framework that would comprise relevant government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, and supervised by the office of the vice president to ensure that institutions and individuals that were indebted to AMCON were not allowed to do business with government henceforth.
He said the Federal Government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari will no longer fold its arms and allow a few individuals owing AMCON huge sums of money walk freely on the streets in the country.
Osinbajo, who said he was impressed with the performance of the executive management of AMCON under the leadership of Ahmed Lawan Kuru for the recovery successes that have been achieved so far against all odds, also promised that the Federal Government would give AMCON whatever support that was necessary to enable it go after the obligors that have remained recalcitrant, despite the olive branch extended to them over the years by the recovery agency of the government.
“I congratulate AMCON for the work done so far, having recovered over N1trillion and counting both in cash and in assets. The work you do as a recovery agency is not something that is particularly easy or encouraging because we all know how Nigeria works.
‘’But we are committed to working more closely with your administration to ensure that these monies are recovered from AMCON obligors because it will help our economy and provide the government with more money to continue to improve on the development of infrastructure across the nation,’’ the Vice President said.
Osinbajo said in the next couple of days, he would invite the AMCON team, alongside other relevant MDAs, to discuss and fine-tune plans on how to ensure that anybody or agency that is a debtor to AMCON was completely made to face the wrath of the Federal Government as those who are indebted to the government are direct enemies of both the government and the people of Nigeria.
Earlier in his presentation, Dr. Banire, who said AMCON’s visit to the Vice President was to congratulate him and President Muhammadu Buhari on their recent victory at the polls, also highlighted some of the challenges and frustrations faced by AMCON as a result of the attitudes of some debtors who behave as if they were above the law in the country.
While calling on the government to rally round AMCON if it, indeed, wants the corporation to succeed, Banire said: “AMCON has been able to recover over N1 trillion since inception to 2018-year end.
‘’Of the recovered sum, cash accounted for 60 percent, while non-cash assets such as properties and equity securities accounted for the balance of 40 percent. Over the same period, AMCON’s repayment of its indebtedness to the CBN was over N1 trillion.’’