—Okays N745.2m for another 8 forensic auditors
—Raises contract sum for construction of PTDF headquarters to N14bn
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
THE Federal Executive Council, FEC, on Wednesday approved about $1.96 billion for the award of contract for the development of the proposed Kano-Jigawa-Katsina-Jibia to Maradi rail line in Niger Republic.
The Council also approved the sum of N745.2 million for the procurement of additional eight Field Forensic Auditors for the forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC and another N12.088 billion Umuahia/Bende/Ohafia road with a distance of 45 kilometers.
The approval was disclosed by the Ministers of Transportation, Rotimi Amechi, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio and Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the FEC virtual meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Briefing on the rail project, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amechi said that his ministry presented two memoranda that were approved by the council.
According to him, “Two memos for the Ministry of Transportation were approved by the council. The first one is the award of contract for the design, manufacture, supply, testing and commissioning of one railway crane of 150 ton capacity for emergency and recovery of rolling stocks.
“This is to sort out say situations of accident on the track. It is for a total cost of N3,049,544,000. That’s the first memo that was approved for the Ministry of Transportation.
“The second one is the award of contract for the development of the proposed Kano-Katsina-Jibia to Maradi rail line in Niger Republic and to Dutse, the capital of Jigawa, for a total cost of $1,959,744,723.71, inclusive of 7.5% VAT.”
It was gathered that the proposed rail line from Kano in Nigeria to Maradi in Niger Republic is to cover a track length of 248 kilometres and will pass through seven senatorial districts in the North.
The rail contract which was initially budgeted in the 2018 Appropriation will connect at least seven cities in Nigeria and one city in Niger Republic and is expected to start from Kano and pass through Dambatta, Kazaure, Daura, Mashi, Katsina, Jibia and terminate in Maradi, Niger Republic.
It will connect about three states of Jigawa, Kano and Katsina and when completed, would assist in the supply of crude oil from Niger Republic to the refinery being built in the border town between both countries.
The border town is close to Katsina State and a mutual agreement for the construction of the refinery was some time ago reached between Nigeria and Niger Republic.
Also, briefing, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Mohammed, who briefed on behalf of the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr. Zainab Ahmed said that the council approved the procurement of 1,800 units of laptop computers for training schools and computer-based test examinations at three Nigeria Customs training schools.
He said, “On behalf of the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, I want to report also that she got two of her memos approved. One is for the procurement of 1,800 units of laptop computers for training school and computer-based test examinations at three Nigeria Customs Service training schools in Gwagwalada, Lagos and Kano for a sum of N351,540,000, with a completion period of six weeks.
“The major advantage of this particular contract is that it saves the department a lot of money in hiring consultants for training and other services.
“The Minister also got another approval for N197,843,100 for the expansion of the Nigeria Customs Service’s cash management’s software in compliance with International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS). This is also going to enhance the efficiency of the Department of Customs.”
Also, briefing on behalf of the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, Alhaji Mohammed said, “Finally, on behalf of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, a memo was presented today asking for approval for the augmentation of the contract for the construction of Petroleum Technology Development Fund corporate headquarters office in Abuja, for the sum of N3,773,784,399.48, therefore raising the initial approval for the contract to about N14 billion.
“However, the important thing about this particular contract is that the building has since been completed, it has since been in use and we inherited this augmentation from 2012, but since governance is a continuum, we are honouring the augmentation, but this headquarters building has been completed, the contractors have been magnanimous while all these arguments about the augmentation was going on, they were magnanimous enough to complete the project and many international conferences have been held in that building.”
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola said a memorandum for the award of contract for section two of the Ohafia/Arochukwu road at the sum of N12.088 billion.
He said, “The memorandum presented by the Ministry of Works and Housing today is for Section two of the Ohafia to Arochukwu road. This section comprises Umuahia/Bende/Ohafia road in Abia State and it was approved for construction at N12.088 billion comprising a distance of 45 kilometers to complement Section One which was previously awarded in 2018, that is the section from Bende/Arochukwu to Ohafia which was 19.27 kilometers.
“So with this award now, the entire length of the road is now under contract with the same contractor and we hope for expeditious execution.”
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Akpabio said that the memo that was presented by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs was a concluding memo on the procurement of Field Forensic Auditors for the forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission.
He said the council approved eight additional forensic field auditors at a total sum of about N745.2 million.
“This brings to the total number of field forensic auditors to 16 in addition to the earlier approved Lead Forensic Auditors, Messrs Olumiluwa Bashir and Co. These people are now going to be charge of the nine states of the Niger Delta which has been divided into 16 lots.
“As I stated earlier, lots one is Ernst and Young for the headquarters. They will be undertaking the 19 years of audit and also bring out the organigram for restructuring of the NDDC for better performance in future.
“Council also considered and approved the need to attach investigative security agencies, the relevant ones to each of the team to ensure transparency and also to be sure that whatever comes out is acceptable to not just in Nigeria but to the international community.”
On his part, the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola said, “We considered in exco the award of contract for the procurement of 52 number operational Green Maria vehicle to facilitate effective operation in the Correctional Service as well as ease of movement of awaiting trial inmate from the Custodial centres 247 of them in all to about 5022 courts in Nigeria.
“This is to complement what we have already acquired between 2016 and 2019 of about 451 Operational Green Maria vehicles. The objective is to ensure that the delay associated with trial of inmate is reduced if not eliminated.”