Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Communication, says he has only one house in Abuja, two in Ibadan and none in Lagos, contrary to the allegation that he has acquired over 22 luxury houses in his less than three years in office.
Shittu said this during an interview with Tribune in reaction to the claims by Victor Oluwadamilare, his former Special Assistant on Media, that he was being owed salary arrears in excess of two years while his boss continued living a lavish life.
“I am taking him to court over all these allegations to justify himself. In law, he who asserts must prove,” Shittu said.
“If he is accusing me of having houses in Lagos, Abuja and Ibadan, he should have the courage to state the locations. I will not assist him in his job. He has the herculean task of proving that in the court.
“I can give you the list of the houses that I have. I don’t have any house in Lagos. I have one house in Abuja, which I bought on mortgage from Jaiz Bank. I have two houses in Ibadan. So, those extra houses in Lagos, Abuja and Ibadan, he will have to justify them in court.
“Where will I, Adebayo Shittu, with my anti-corruption posture, with my very modest lifestyle all through and with my religious inclination, get the money for all of those vehicles? Does it make sense that somebody with socialist orientation will have that number of vehicles?
“Since I came on board as minister, two people donated two cars to me. Seyi Makinde donated one of the jeeps that I have and a former Accountant General of the Federation, Mr Jonah Otunla, donated one and I bought one for myself. So, Victor Oluwadamilare will have to explain where the other vehicles are.”
On why he appointed Oluwadamilare as media aide in the first place, and even stated that appointment was based on “trust”, Shittu explained: “I thought I could trust but I didn’t know that he is so greedy that he cannot be content with his status in life.
“I thought the appointment would rehabilitate him because I knew he was jobless at that time.
“More so, at the time I appointed him, of all those who applied as media aide, he was the only Christian. I didn’t want a situation where all my aides would be Muslims, so I decided to appoint him.
“I then wrote a letter to him and others sometime in 2016, that each special assistant would be paid a monthly stipend of N100,000. He accepted the letter. He acknowledged the letter. He didn’t react negatively. He didn’t reject the letter. He didn’t resign if he was not satisfied.
“In satisfaction, he stayed on the job on the basis of that N100,000 per month. As a minister, I am earning N800,000. If I have two, three, four aides and each is asking for N500,000…
“You know, the most realistic thing is for him to look for a job elsewhere. Victor didn’t look for job elsewhere because he was happy and satisfied with what I decided to be giving him.”
Shittu insists that he is “a moralist” and is “incorruptible”, and that he tries “to take after my leader, my mentor, President Muhammadu Buhari and I do not do anything that I cannot justify”.
“He must justify that allegation. I go on economy class whenever I am flying, whether within or outside the country. So, I don’t know what type of luxury life he claims I am living,” he said.