Members of the House of Representatives have commenced investigation into the failed Abuja CCTV project which was funded with a $460 million loan obtained from China.
The Details: The lawmakers, who were unhappy that the project was funded with a loan and left uncompleted, probed the Ministry of Finance for answers. This occurred at a budget defence session with the finance committee of the house of representative led by its Chairman, Hon. James Faleke.
“Before this administration, we collected some loans and the one that strikes me the most is the $460 million for CCTV installation in Abuja.
“I want to know the position of this loan. I am sure we are paying back, but the CCTV is not working. Any time we take loan from China, the Chinese will come and do the job, they will bring all their equipment, the personnel and the goods and yet we do not have value for the money, especially that of the CCTV.
“Where are we? I need you to look into it and send us a memo on this particular project,” he demanded.
Unfortunately, the Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed could not provide details on the status of the project even though she acknowledged that Nigeria is currently servicing the loan to the Chinese.
Ahmed’s response: “We are servicing the loan, but on the project, we will have to ask the Federal Capital Territory Authority because the project was deployed in the FCT. I have no information on the status of the CCTV.
“The conditions of the loans that we take from China always will be that a Chinese company will provide the infrastructure services. These are loans that are of 3%, the rail lines are being rolled out, the Abuja-Kaduna, Lagos-Ibadan rails are all loans from China and are being executed by Chinese companies.”
Backstory: The project, which was called the National Public Security Communication System, (NPSCS), was conceived by late President Umaru Yar’Adua to help security agencies in the Federal Capital Territory check the growing insecurity in the federal capital.
Findings show that late President Umaru Yar’Adua was persuaded by some of his powerful aides to award the $470 million project to the Chinese firm, ZTE Corporation, in August 2010 without proper monitoring.
The project was funded through a $600 million credit facility obtained from the Chinese EXIMBANK and scheduled for completion in May 2011.
In 2015, the House of Representatives directed an ad-hoc committee to probe the uncompleted projects awarded to the Chinese firm, ZTE Corporation.
The cameras were to be accompanied with 37 switch rooms, MW backbone, 37 coalition emergency response systems, 38 video conference sub-systems, 37 e-police systems, six emergency communication vehicles and 1.5 million lines for subscription.