Nyesom Wike, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), has rejected accusations of procuring a N300 million Armoured Lexus LX600 SUV upon assuming his new role.
Wike promptly repudiated these claims following a visit to the Metro Train Station in Abuja on Wednesday. His purpose was to oversee the ongoing restoration of the Abuja Rail Mass Transport System.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), certain segments of the media had disseminated an image of an Armoured Lexus SUV, model LX 600, fitted with a ‘FCT – 01’ license plate. Reports indicated that this extravagant SUV, costing over N300 million, was attributed to the recently appointed FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike.
Countering these assertions, Wike dismissed the allegations, characterizing them as mere “mischievous” fabrications. He emphasized that he was inaugurated into office on Monday and had scarcely commenced his official duties. His activities thus far have centred on engaging with personnel. On the present Wednesday, he and the Minister of State for FCT journeyed to the Metro Train Station in Abuja to witness the state of affairs firsthand.
“We are now going back to the office to interact with each of the departments in the Federal Capital Territory Administration.
“But I have seen what is going on in the social media, how the FCTA Permanent Secretary bought a bulletproof car of N300 million that I am using.
“So, I want you people to go hit your hand there (on the car) and see whether it is a treated car.
“With all due respect, people should be careful not to destroy other people,” he said.
He clarified that upon his assumption of duties, the Permanent Secretary, Adesola Olusade, informed him that the FCTA possessed vehicles designated for ministerial use.
“And the car we use is this (pointing at a regular Lexus SUV).
“I have never approved for any car to be bought, and I have not used any official bulletproof car.
“I am not using a bulletproof car as FCT Minister, so we should report the right thing and not destroy ourselves.
“I want you to take a look at the car I came with, the one with the flag and see whether it is a bulletproof car”, he asked the journalists at the scene.
In a related incident, Anthony Ogunleye, the Director of Press in the Office of the Minister, refuted assertions made by certain media organizations regarding Mr Wike’s alleged intentions to raze 6,000 residences across 30 settlements in Abuja, including Wadata Plaza.
“We want to explicitly state that these accounts are completely baseless and lacking in any foundation,” stated Mr. Ogunleye.
He clarified that the narrative concerning the demolition of 6,000 houses was featured in a national daily publication on August 22, with the headline “Abuja land: FG may revoke land allocations, demolish 6000 buildings, slums.”
Furthermore, he pointed out that another mainstream newspaper published what he termed an “inflammatory narrative” with the title, “Wadata Plaza will go down, Reactions trail Wike’s demolition threat.”
“To clarify, the Minister has never specified the areas or the quantity of unauthorized structures to be removed in any of his statements. His emphasis has consistently been on the removal of unlawful settlements and constructions for the overall benefit of the public.”
He expressed frustration with a headline from a reputable broadcasting station proclaiming, “I will fix Abuja in six days,” and attributing the statement to the FCT minister.
“We wish to firmly state that the Honourable Minister never uttered such words or indicated this sentiment in any manner. This headline, therefore, is purely a product of mischief,” he asserted.
The press secretary highlighted that such sensationalized reporting not only misguides the public but also undermines the essential role that accurate and thoroughly researched journalism plays in society.