Written by AbdulFattah Olajide & Muhammed S. Shehu:

Some of the contracts awarded by the Yar’adua Administration in several ministries were inflated while many other projects have either been abandoned by the contractors or are not being implemented at all, Acting President Goodluck Jonathan said in Abuja yesterday.

Speaking while inaugurating the 18-man Presidential Projects Assessment Committee which he established to probe the alleged contract scams in some ministries, Jonathan said the magnitude of the scams necessitated the establishment of the panel.

He said, “The importance of assessing the current state of all the Federal Government projects across the nation so as to provide accurate information on their status has become not only necessary but critical to national development. We have received reports of abandoned Federal Government projects; petitions of overvaluation and undervaluation and in some cases, non-performance of some contracts. The need for a comprehensive inventory of all our on-going projects and their level of funding has therefore become imperative”.

The acting president said the committee was established to help government focus its attention on completion and effective utilisation of resources for good governance.

The committee, which has three months to complete its assignment and submit a report to the government, has former Federal Capital Territory Minister Arc. Ibrahim Bunu as Chairman with Mr. Bon Otti as Vice Chairman. Dr. O. O Oluleye of the Office of Secretary to the Government of the Federation is the committee’s Secretary.

Other members of the committee are Mr. Iboro Ege-Edaba, Mr. Yomi Awoniyi, Navy Capt. (rtd.) Caleb Olubolade, Professor Aminu Mikhailu, Engineer [Dr.] Idris Abubakar, Engr. Pius Okpa, Mrs Kate Okparake, Engr. Usman Abubakar, Engr. Gbola Tokun, Engr. Etodo Inyang, Prof. Akoh N. Ugbabe, Engr. Ummi Aminu, Engr. Olusegun Adedeji, Engr. Khalil Inuwa and Engr. B. K. Mohammed.

Jonathan listed the committee’s terms of reference to include: (i)  To take inventory of all on-going Projects awarded by the Federal Government ii) to assess the level of funding of each project iii) To undertake a physical inspection of each project to determine work done and to ascertain whether it is commensurate to the amount paid to the contractors iv) To evaluate the professional competence of the contractors handling the various projects v) To examine whether the level of execution of the projects is in accordance with the terms of the contract agreement between the Federal Government and the contractor vi) To examine a plan of action that is realistic, practical and achievable including implementation phases for the execution of the projects vii) To examine the reason given if applicable why the projects were not executed in accordance with the terms of contract agreement at the time of the award; and viii) To make appropriate recommendations to Government on how to fast-track the completion of the projects.

The acting president also inaugurated the Presidential Monitoring Committee on the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), saying the committee was constituted to ensure enduring peace and rapid development of the region.

He said, “Let me use this opportunity to congratulate all Nigerians on the progress made so far on the restoration of peace in the Niger Delta. In particular I want to recognize the new cooperation and the high sense of patriotism that have been exhibited by the ex-militant leaders and their followers. They have done well. I want to reassure you that this administration is committed in its entirety to the development of the Niger Delta and the positive transformation of the Nigerian economy. It is in this regard that the NDDC must be supported to realize its mandate of developing the region and putting an end to the pains experienced by many who live there. We are determined to consolidate and build on the window of the amnesty process, and bring happiness to all Nigerians and foreigners alike who depend on the endowments of the region.”

Members of the ten-man committee chaired by Chief Isaac O. Jemide include Prof. Richard P. King, Surv. Akene Furoebe, Barr. Richard Anetekhai, Mr. Innocent Nyenngerifaka, Engr. Rabiu D. Abubakar, Alhaji Bello Maccido, Mr. Kanu Chiemezia Joel, Prof. Akinkube Oladepo  and Mr. Reuben Ade, with the Director (Parastatals, OSGF) as the Secretary.

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