Amid numerous precautionary measures canvassed to contain the dreaded corona virus, the Honourable Commissioner for Environment and Petroleum Resources in Akwa Ibom State, Dr. (Barr.) Ekong Sampson, has called on the people of the state to pay serious attention to personal hygiene and environmental cleanliness, even as the state government is set to clamp down on illegal felling of trees in city centres.
The Member Representing Ikot Abasi, Mkpat Enin and Eastern Obolo Federal Constituency in the Federal House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Francis Charles Uduyok, in a motion he moved on the floor of the National Assembly on July 24, 2019 has called for an investigation into the Federal Government abandoned projects from 1999 till date.
Uduyok argued that “the alarming number of projects which were awarded to contractors by the Federal Government agencies, parastatals, ministries, commission and boards from 1999 that have been abandoned is worrisome,” noting that “these projects were estimated to be about 20,000 and have received advanced payment of not less than 50%, which in total amount to billions of naira;” adding that some of these abandoned projects include “important establishments like dams, bridges, hospitals, steel company, and access roads like the East-West road that was awarded in 2006 and yet to be completed after more than a decade.”
Considering the nature of the country’s economy, he highlighted that the abandoned projects have become pipes that drain Federal Government funds due to the inflationary rate that are obtainable when the Federal Government decides to revive the project after many years they were awarded.”
Calling for a change in attitude, he noted that “even though this trend has been in vogue, there is a need to change, if the nation is to have a meaningful development in terms of infrastructure and social services.”
According to him, “The House is also concerned that some of those abandoned projects are currently being occupied by hoodlums and miscreants who use them as abode to plan their nefarious activities just as The Guardian Newspaper of May 13, 2019 reported on the abandoned Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) building in Lagos, which experts say is worth about N50 billion, has been lying idle for over 40 years…, and has become safe den for smokers, criminals and abode for miscreants.”
He stressed that the House also believes in the vision of the current administration to move the nation forward, hence the need to factor into future budgetary funds to ensure the completion of the projects.
Hence, he called for a resolution “to set up an ad hoc committee to investigate the abandoned projects from 1999 till date, the cost of award, period of award, state of completion and constraint and report back within three months for further legislative action.”
Uduyok went on to emphasis that “It’s more in the news in Nigeria that projects have been abandoned; they are scattered across the length and breadth of this country, and these projects when completed could have been of economic importance to the wellbeing of the people of Nigeria.
“We are aware that most commissions, parastatals, and agencies that awarded these jobs, sometimes abandoned them because of contractual misunderstanding of either design or variation issues; most often some of them have been mobilized and they are not found on site.
“So it is important to look at this issue, how we can move this country forward by ensuring a compendium of all these projects with a view to ascertaining the major and immediate causes of abandonment and to ensure that in further budgets we will include them to ensure that they are completed for the benefits of ordinary Nigerians.
The motion collaborates the efforts of some interest groups like Citizens Center for Integrated Development and Social Rights (CCIDESOR) alongside Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) who in 2018 had jointly urged the National Assembly and States Assembly to enhance legislation against projects abandonment in the country.
The motion was ably supported by Isiaka Ayokunde Ibrahim saying,
“Nothing can be so apt than what the Honourable Member – Hon.Francis has brought to the notice of the floor for honourable members to consider; if there is anything, one of the plaques disturbing us as a society and as Nigerians, it is the issue of abandoned projects here and there. Some of these projects are even obsolete, not fit for any purpose any longer in Nigeria anymore; but it is surprising that each time every year, respective MDAs keep reflecting them in the budget. Besides this, if nothing, it is good to have a compendium of the abandoned projects, it is going to require huge man hours to have such a humongous assignment to be done or completed. But a journey of 1000km, we should start with a step, so that we start to archive all the abandoned projects in this country. From there it is going to be a tool, kind of condition assessment of what we have as assets for the executive of the Federal Government to form a structure for research for developmental purposes. I see it as an asset that we have as a compendium of.”
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives in reaction to the motion has constituted ad-hoc committees to look into the issue of abandoned projects in the country as postulated by Rt. Hon. Francis Uduyok.