Reps committee on abandoned communication projects begins probe

The House of Representatives ad hoc committee mandated to probe all abandoned projects in the communication sector including Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) from 1999 till date has commenced its activities in Abuja.

Addressing its inaugural sitting, Chairman of the committee, Honorable Chukwuma Umeoji, who frowned on the quantum of abandoned projects across the country, promised to bring those behind the failed projects to book in line with the anti-corruption posture of the present administration.

The lawmaker said that the mandate of the ad hoc committee involved the investigation of Federal Government’s abandoned projects from 1999 till date with a view to establishing the cost of award, period of award, state of completion and constraints inhibiting the completion such projects.

According to him, “as you are aware, Federal Government ministries, departments, agencies, parastatals, commission’s and boards awarded contracts for the execution of many capital projects to contractors since the return of the nation to democratic rule in 1999.

“Many of these projects have been abandoned even as many of them have received advanced payments of not less than 50 per cent of contract sum.

“Government has spent several billions of naira on such contracts without government and the people getting value for money spent so far.

“It is instructive to note that if the nation is to have a meaningful development in terms of infrastructure and social services, there is the urgent need for a change in the manner of award of contracts for and the execution of capital projects.”

He further assured that “our resolve must be to uphold public trust above any primordial sentiments and dispense fairness and justice in our dealings with every stakeholder in this regard.”

He also said that the committee would invite all stakeholders involved and call for submission of memoranda which he would assist the committee in its assignment

According to him, some of the stakeholders to be invited are Federal Ministry of Communications Technology, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST), Nigerian Satellite Communications Satellite Ltd. (NIGCOMSAT) and Galaxy Backbone.

Also expected to appear before the committee are various contractors as well as the general public.

In his contribution, a member of the committee, Honorable Abbas Adigun Adekunle, said that the committee had to compile the list of all abandoned projects in the nooks and crannies of the country which will guide members for the on-the-spot assessment of such abandoned projects.

On his part, a member of the committee, Honorable Kolawole Lawal, explained that the committee was not set up to witchhunt anyone but to interface with stakeholders in order to know the challenges that led to the abandoned projects.

It is recalled that the eighth National Assembly had during the consideration of the report of its ad hoc committee chaired by Honorable Ahmed Yerima, which probed the $470 million Lagos and Abuja Closed Circuit Television Cameras (CCTV) contract under the National Security Communications System (NPSCS) conducted in 2017, recommended the prosecution of three former ministers.