The House of Representatives has ed investigations into the massive Abuja airport road project which the lawmakers say bear questionable features in funding and terms, similar to the Abuja airport runway currently under a similar probe.
Investigators are to find out how the former Federal Capital Territory administration, under Adamu Aliero, arrived at the whopping N257 billion for the expansion of the twin outer expressways that lead to the city airport.
Also, they are to determine why the administration discarded earlier agreed that the project be funded through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) with the private sector paying 60 per cent, while the government paid the remaining.
Shortly after flagging off the construction, Mr. Aliero secured the approval of the late president, Umaru Yar’Adua, and opted for a total government funding of construction work, the motion sponsor, Dino Melaye said.
The job was awarded to Julius Berger Plc, which has recently come under attacks for undertaking to construct a 4.4km Abuja airport second runway an “outrageous” cost of N64 billion.
In the road contract , a member, Gbenga Onigbogi, who said he accessed the terms, alleged the company quoted a tonne of iron rod for N500, 000 each against market price of N100,000.
“We need to find out why jobs involving the Julius Berger don’t always go through competitive bidding and the costs are often times varied,” said Rivers state member, Betty Appiafi.
The House Aviation committee has held hearings on the runway contract where shocking details were revealed. Its reports have yet to be formally submitted and approved by the house.
At that amount, the contract was granted without a bill of quantity, in-house costing by the aviation authorities. Also amazing negligence on the role of the Bureau for Public Procurement was uncovered.
For the Airport road construction, recently named after Mr. Yar’Adua, the representatives are opting for an independent Adhoc committee to conduct the inquiry.
The investigations have been long in coming, after lawmakers raised concerns last year, about the abandonment of the PPP option with the former FCT Minister, Mr. Aliero, when the construction began.
Mr. Aliero explained then that the decision was taken after the federal government discovered that the option will “mortgage Nigeria”.
“The private group that was supposed to partner with government was to get money from the commercial banks and the agreement would have made the government to pay the interest rate which was too high,” recalled Leo Dilkon, the Deputy Chairman of the House Finance committee, which met with Mr. Aliero.
The interest rate amounted to N140 billion, Mr. Dilkon said.
But the lawmakers are doubtful of the explanation, questioning whether such details were overlooked before the signing of the contract.
“I see a similarity between what happened on the airport runway project and what is happening here,” said Igo Aguma, who represents Port Harcourt constituency. “We need to find out how water entered the boat.” The inquiry is to decide the true term of the deal, re-evaluate the project, re-measure the road distance, compare charges for similar construction in other parts of the northern zone, and recommend prosecution for those found guilty of misdeeds.http://234next.com/csp/cms/sites/Next/Home/5568264-146/reps_launch_investigation_into_yaradua_road.csp