The Senate resolved on Wednesday to probe the abandoned installation of CCTV cameras in the Abuja metropolis.
The failed contract, which has been previously valued at $460 million, was awarded to a private contractor during the administration of late President Umaru Yar’adua.
The Senate passed the resolution to probe the contract following a motion sponsored by Ned Nwoko (PDP, Delta North) at the plenary.
Mr Nwoko, while presenting the motion, said that despite series of security measures already in existence, kidnapping and other insecurity challenges still persist in the Federal Capital Territory.
The senator said his senior legislative aide, identified as Chris, a lawyer, and 18 other persons were abducted two weeks ago from their residences around Galadimawa area of Abuja.
He said that security sources indicated that 12 of the victims have been killed by their abductors, while efforts to rescue the remaining seven are still ongoing.
Mr Nwoko called for a joint security operation involving the Nigerian Army, the police and State Security Services (SSS) for a rescue operation of the victims.
He also urged members of the upper chamber to encourage security agencies in the country to facilitate installation of CCTV cameras within Abuja metropolis and other parts of the country.
Ede Dafinone (APC, Delta Central), who seconded the motion, said there is an urgent need to stop kidnapping and other security challenges across the country.
Enyinnaya Abaribe (APGA, Abia South), in his contribution, said residents of Lugbe and Kubuwa areas of Abuja can no longer sleep in their homes because of the fear of being attacked by kidnappers.
Mr Abaribe urged security agencies to increase security surveillance patrols within the territory.
Abandoned CCTV cameras
Adamu Aliero (PDP, Kebbi Central) revealed that N500 billion was awarded to a contractor for the installation of CCTV cameras in the Abuja metropolis.
Mr Aliero said the contract was awarded to the contractor when he was the FCT minister.
Mr Aliero was the FCT minister between December 2008 to March 2010 under the administration of late President Yar’adua.
Although the senator was silent on the name and details of the contractor, he stressed that the installation of the cameras was abandoned.
He therefore called for the probe of the contract.
“The contractor just came and installed useless cameras and nobody is saying anything.
“It is now time for us to revisit that issue of the N500 billion award of contract for installation of CCTV cameras in the city.
“We should make the contractor account for the huge loss of money. The project has gone down the drain and nobody is talking about it,” Mr Aliero said.
After debate on the issue, the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, put it to voice vote and a majority of the senators voted in support of it.
Mr Akpabio, thereafter, directed the Senate Committee on FCT to liaise with the Office of the Minister of FCT to investigate the abandoned project.
The Senate President also urged the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun to increase the surveillance of patrols in Abuja to prevent kidnapping and other security challenges.
Mr Akpabio directed Clerk of the Senate, Chinedu Akubueze, to communicate the resolution to the appropriate authorities.
The failed Abuja CCTV camera project was a subject of legislative scrutiny in the lower chamber, the House of Representatives, during the 9th National Assembly.
Then-Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, disclosed to a House committee in 2019 that Nigeria was still servicing the $460 million Chinese loan that was obtained in 2010 for the installation of the CCTV cameras in Abuja, while the project itself was not executed.
Enraged by the disclosure, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) wrote a letter anchored on the Freedom of Information Act to the Minister of Finance, requesting detailed information on the CCTV project.
When the minister refused to release the requested information, SERAP sued the minister and the federal government, asking the court to issue an order compelling them to disclose the information.
In May this year, the Federal High Court in Abuja granted SERAP’s prayers, ordering then outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari government to “account for the spending of $460 million Chinese loan to fund the failed Abuja Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) project.”
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The court also ordered the government to “publish the total amount of money paid to Chinese and local companies and contractors and specific details of the names of the companies and contractors and status of the implementation of the project.”
But there is no indication the judgement has been complied with.
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