In from Timothy Enietan-Matthews … .
Following last Friday’s multiple bomb blasts in Kuje and Nyanya, two satellite towns in the FCT and growing concerns over reported presence of Boko Haram foot soldiers in the territory, the House of Representatives on Thursday revisited the $470m Abuja, Lagos Closed Circuit Television Camera contracts, instructing an Adhoc committee to probe the non-completion of the projects.
The contract was awarded to a Chinese firm, ZTE Corporation in 2010.
The 7th House had also investigated the same projects and produced a report but no action appeared to have been taken by the Federal Government.
The motion for the revisit of the CCTV contract, which has remained controversial, was jointly moved by Honourables James Faleke and Adesegun Adekoya.
Leading the debate on the motion, Adekoya, recalled that the aim of the CCTV contracts was to “facilitate real time communication between security agencies to enhance their capacities to monitor and nip in the bud any criminal act before it is committed.”
According to him, the aim had been defeated with the failure of the firm to complete the installation of the cameras and make them functional.
Adekoya also noted that the terms of the contract involved the down payment of 15 per cent ($70.5m) by the Federal government, while the Chinese EXIM Bank would pay the balance of 85 per cent ($399.5m) to be repaid within 10 years at the prevailing interest rate and that there were several other projects involving Nigeria and Chinese firms, which had suffered a similar setback.
The lawmaker lamented that the Chinese usually ensure that loans given to Nigeria were tied to projects, which must be executed by Chinese companies, arguing that to fulfill the terms, due process and the nation’s laws are bent in the contract bidding process.
Backing the motion, House Leader, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, counseled that the investigation should ask specific questions this time round.
“Who signed the contracts with ZTE? Was it the police or the Federal Capital Territory Administration?
“There has been a lot of buck-passing on these contracts? Did the department that award contracts have the power to sign on behalf of Nigeria?
“What is the role of private firms in security issues? Do we now farm out national security matters to private companies, foreign firms? There is so much to ask in this matter, which we must take seriously”, Gbajabiamila said.
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