Friday, 11 December 2015

FINALLY! Reps Investigates Railway Projects

The House of Representatives on Thursday, December 10, quizzed three past chairmen of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) over railway contracts which have been awarded and executed between the year 2010 and 2014.

Punch reports that the three past chairmen include former Peoples Democratic Party chairman, Bamanga Tukur, Abubakar Baraje and Ladan Shuni.

The railway projects awarded at different times to the tune of N1 trillion from the national budget and the Subsidy Re-investment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P), were for the rehabilitation and modernization of the railway system in Nigeria.

In a swift reaction to questions from members of the committee headed by Johnson Abgbonayinma, Baraje said the projects were awarded before he assumed office as chairman of the corporation adding that he spent less that seven months which was between May to November, 2013.

He said: “My board did not play any role other than the inspection of projects since the management of the NRC said we had no business with award of contracts. Almost all the contracts had been awarded and were ongoing when I came in for my brief tenure. I had to resign on the 12th of November because I was a toothless bulldog; there were no activities for me and there was also political reason,” he added.

The projects included Lagos-Jeba, Jeba-Kano, Port Harcourt-Makurdi, Makurdi-Kafanchan-Kaduna-Jos, Zaria-Kaura Namoda, and Kuru-Maiduguri most of which are yet to be completed.

Baraje and Shuni both denied knowledge of the contracts adding that they did administrative part of the job which does not include award of contracts.

Shuni said: “I never knew how contracts were awarded or how much they were awarded.”

The speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, mandated the committee to investigate the allegations adding that bench warrants would be issued to compel appearance where necessary.