By Chinwe Ochu
OrderPaperToday- The House of Representatives have set proceedings in motion to investigate circumstances behind the award of contracts for installation of CCTV cameras in the FCT and Lagos State in 2011.
Speaker Dogara Yakubu in a speech declaring the Investigative Hearing open today, said that the move will avail the law makers the “opportunity to assure Nigerians, that (they) will unravel and eliminate all defects in this contract imbroglio and ensure that the intent, which is to set up a secure communication channel for security agencies in the country is realized and shall not hesitate to hold to account the relevant actors for the expenditure of public funds where improprieties are detected.”
According to Dogara, the lawmakers are ensuring public accountability, subsequent to the House’s 8th October 2015 resolve to set up to set up Ad-Hoc Committee to holistically investigate the circumstances of the award of the contract for the installation of CCTV cameras and the failure of ZTE Corporation to complete the contract.
“Contemporary discourse on Nigeria is almost inevitably replete with issues surrounding insecurity, militancy, insurgency, and terrorism, with their spiraling effects on regional, national and international socio-economic relations. The role of an effective communication system for security agencies, cannot therefore, to my mind, be overstated. This Public Hearing should therefore be seen as a deliberate effort to ensure that the lives and properties of Nigerians are safeguarded through a responsive system, and that there is transparency and accountability in the deployment of Government funds within the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act.
“The 8th Assembly, under my leadership, is herein committing itself, to remain unflinching in its resolve to restate the security arrangement by ensuring an effective and efficient delivery of a seamless operationalization of National Public Security Communication System (NSPSCS) project, encompassing e-policing system, emergency response, video surveillance and audio/video communication channels for related security agencies, as a supportive means to restoring stability to the Nigerian state to facilitate the socio economic growth and development of the people of our country.”
He addressed rumors surrounding the award of the CCTV camera contract.
“Reports making the rounds that the country entered into a loan agreement with the Chinese EXIM Bank for a financing arrangement that did not take cognizance of the project cycle, focusing mainly on supplies and offshore arrangements; allegations regarding the slapdash implementation of the project of such national security relevance, abdication of effective project and financial standard management and accountability, and weakening of the public treasury by defrayed tax payments and irascible expenditures that have not been properly accounted to Government are unquestionably worthy of investigation.”
Dogara urged all members of the Ad-Hoc Committee to deal with the issues as raised “with every sense of diligence and resonance. The era of bloated and ineffectual contracts, that have their beginnings and endings in the mesh of corrupt activities, should be committed to the annals of history, as we seek to turn a new leaf in building a more secure country”
The Speaker finally said: “May I further implore Members of the Ad-Hoc Committee to carry-out this investigation thoroughly, succinctly without let or hindrance by studying the Memoranda submitted, and to give to all concerned Stakeholders the opportunity to fully make their submissions so as to assist the committee in situating where the problems lie and making profound recommendations to the House t