Onuminya Innocent in Sokoto
The Economic and Financial Crime commission (EFCC) has commenced investigation into abandoned projects in Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara States, a development that compelled contractors handling the projects to return to the sites.
EFCC’s Head, Sokoto Zonal Office Mr. Abdullahi Lawal disclosed this on Friday at a session with journalists in Birnin Kebbi, noting that the anti-graft agency “has been investigating abandoned projects in the zone.”
Lawal, who was accompanied by some EFCC operatives, explained that the on-going investigation would help the commission to know the level of completion of the affected projects as well as the funds already spent on them.
He added that the commission embarked on the investigation to ensure that all the contractors that were affected complete the projects for the benefits of the people and the development of the country at large.
In Kebbi, for instance, Lawal disclosed that the commission recently received petitions from concerned residents in January 2020 that there were various projects that had been abandoned in different parts of the state
The zonal head explained that the contractor handling the construction of new secretariat Birnin Kebbi had already been mobilised.
He added that findings revealed that the Kebbi State Government had released N949 million to the contractor handling the new Secretariat Complex at Gwadangaji Birnin Kebbi.
He explained that the commission had already discovered a lot of fraud being perpetrated through contracts awarded, and in some cases paid for by the government and abandoned without completion.
He said ‘monitoring of projects by interest groups will make it difficult for such projects to be abandoned. Corruption in abandoned projects is widespread and institutionalised.
“Beyond what any group can achieve, we must take ownership of the war against corruption to check practices that run counter to accountability and transparency.”
Lawal disclosed that in Kebbi some of the projects that were paid for and abandoned included Vocational Skills Acquisition Centre in Ambursa, Kebbi Ultra modern Secretariat, Bye pass street lights and 200 units of tractors and implements kept at Kebbi Agricultural Development Agency (KARDA)
Also, the commission’s zonal head disclosed that EFCC had visited Zamfara State, noting that they would invite all relevant stakeholders and ensure that awarded contracts were executed.
He said the story of Zamfara “is not different as some projects that will impact positively on the lives of the people were abandoned. Some of these projects include construction of township roads in Gusau, Gummi, Mallamawa to Bukkuyu, Anka, and Nasarawa town.”
He named other abandoned projects to include construction of 168 solar powered boreholes in the 14 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state.
THISDAY learnt that these projects were awarded during the administration of the immediate past governor, Abdulraziz Yari.
Confirming the report, the Kebbi State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku Bagudu noted that said the move was to hasten the completion of the project.
Bagudu, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Muazu Dakingari, disclosed that the project was under the office of the state Head Of Service.
He further explained that the release of funds followed the negotiation between the contractor Rocket Well Nigeria LTD and the Kebbi State government.