Reps To Probe Jonathan’s N18.7 Billion Railway Project

House of Representatives’ members have mandated a yet-to-be constituted ad hoc committee to probe President Goodluck Jonathan administration’s N18.7 billion railway project between 2010 and 2014.
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House of Representatives’ members have mandated a yet-to-be constituted ad hoc committee to probe President Goodluck Jonathan administration’s N18.7 billion railway project between 2010 and 2014.

The committee will investigate the Federal Ministry of Transport, the management of the Subsidy Reinvestment Programme (SURE-P) and the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) as well as the contractors handling the rail rehabilitation project.

The lawmakers, who voted overwhelmingly for the adoption of the motion sponsored by Solomon Ahwinahwi (PDP, Delta), regretted that despite sinking billions of naira to upgrade the country’s rail transportation, there was little success to show for it.

Ahwinahwi explained that the funding of the project through budgetary appropriation, foreign loans and SURE-P funds, should not be ignored following the dismal result of the project.

He raised concern about the level of performance of the rail track contracts, particularly the 463-kilometre Port Harcourt-Makurdi rail track rehabilitation that incurred N19,963,752,330.20.

Of the amount, he explained that the NRC paid N4,017,054,841 and SURE-P paid N5,594,021,377.07.

He said: “With these payments, only about three kilometres of ballast has been done with 400 kilometres left undone despite the total money released so far amounting to N9,661,076,318.

“We are not unaware of the report of a project monitoring committee that not more than three kilometres of ballast has been done on the entire track network from Port Harcourt-Enugu-Makurdi of a total of 463 kilometres of rail track, thus the N9,661,076,218.01 expended cannot be justified.

“Furthermore, the Abuja-Kaduna rail project had $841 million as the project cost, out of which the China Exim bank provided a loan of $500 million with about 25 per cent of the project completed when the entire project was envisaged to have been completed in 2014.

“We are equally aware that the Lagos-Jebba track rehabilitation project was awarded at a cost of N12,293,390,000 with the payment made so far at N11,699,999,111 without any tangible work done.

The lawmaker added: “Again, it is a fact that the Jebba-Kano track rehabilitation project had a contract sum of N12,169,237,337 with the payment of N10,423,318,023 without any appreciable work done.

“It is the same story with the Zaria-Kaura track rehabilitation project with N1,147,471,038 paid out of N3,206,241,650.

“We were reliably informed that procurement and rehabilitation of wagons, coaches and locomotives (narrow gauge) were projected at N6,502,914,067 with N4,071,008,628.64 so far paid. Kuru to Maiduguri track rehabilitation project has gulped N6,499,618,120 out of N23,720,359,045; all to no avail.

“Also, N718,205,192 has so far been paid for the track rehabilitation consultancy fee of N19,963,752,330.20.

“It should be of concern to all Nigerians that despite the billions sunk into this project, there was little or nothing to show for it as the coaches and locomotives running on these tracks are still a relic of modern railway transport.”

The motion was adopted after it was put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara.

In another motion, the lawmakers also ordered the probe of the sale of power assets by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) during the last administration.

An ad hoc committee to be set up by the House will “investigate the processes and sale of all aspects of the power assets in Nigeria by the BPE to determine if there were malpractices and misconduct in the exercise.”

The committee is also to determine whether the appropriate value was attached to the assets and if any person breached the law in the eventual sale of the assets of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).

The resolution was sequel to the passage of a motion titled: “Need to Investigate the Alleged Non- Transparent and Fraudulent Sale of Power Assets by the BPE” sponsored by a member, Chike Okafor.

Okafor, while presenting the motion, noted that the sale of PHCN assets did not pass the transparency test and that Nigerians disengaged from their jobs in the privatisation process were unfairly treated.

According to the lawmaker, there was lack of improvement in power supply despite the privatisation of the power sector.

When Dogara called for a voice vote on the motion, it was passed unopposed by members.

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