OrderPaperToday- The House of Representatives has set up an Adhoc Committee to investigate the monumental fraud in the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) from 2019 till date.
This followed a motion brought by the Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu (PDP, Delta) titled ‘Need To Investigate the Monumental Fraud And Illegalities Going On At The Federal Road Maintenance Agency of Nigeria (FERMA).’
House notes that FERMA was established in 2002, with a mandate to efficiently and effectively monitor as well as ensure the safety condition of all federal roads in the country.
House further notes that the agency is under the supervision of the Ministry of Works.
The lawmakers also pointed out that despite billions of naira voted to FERMA annually for purposes of road maintenance, the federal roads across the country are nothing to write home about as most of them have become death traps, killing hundreds of Nigerians yearly as a result of poor conditions of our roads.
They expressed displeasure that FERMA which was set up to ameliorate the sufferings of Nigerian road users is alleged to be enmeshed in serious corrupt practices by the management.
The House was also disturbed that the corrupt practices include high handedness by the leadership of the agency, over inflation of contracts, award of non-existent contracts.
The members also pointed out the massive splitting of jobs and flagrant disregard for procurement laws in the award of contracts, They also made reference to the lack of political will to implement the budget in full; adding that selective implementation of the budget was a major setback.
“There are allegations of intentional delays in awarding contracts for road repairs and construction; several months after bidding had been completed and successful bidders have emerged thereby compounding problems for Nigeria road users and sabotaging the effort of government.
“Worried that most of these contracts are alleged to have been cornered by the management for themselves and their cronies who abandons site after collecting reasonable percentage of advance payment of contract sum.
“Further worried that if this spate of unbridled pilfering by top government officials is allowed to fester and unchecked it will not only drain the national purse but discredit the perceived fight against corruption by this government in the eyes of the international community, hence the need for this motion.”
The motion was passed when the presiding officer put the question and the House Committee on FERMA was asked to tender its report back to the house within six weeks.