$470 Million CCTV Project Scandal In Abuja, Anti-Corruption Tells Buhari To Investigate

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abuja cctvInspite of millions of United States of American Dollars expended in the Close Circuit Television Project in Abuja, the CCTV poles are seen laying idle all over Abuja without doing the needed work in which they were installed for.

With the occurrence of Boko Haram attacks and other crimes such as Armed Robbery in the FCT the CCTV would have been a better opportunity in capturing the perpetrators of these heinous crimes, but these has become an issue in which no one can decipher why over many years CCTV poles are laying idle without nothing on them.

In a Petition dated, 30th October, 2015 and addressed to His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari an Anti-Corruption group, known as Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL has written to the President asking him to prevail on Anti-Corruption Agencies to investigate the alleged corruption scandal of the failed project.

In the petition titled: An Appeal To The President To Prevail On Anti-Corruption Agencies To Do The Needful And Investigate The $470m (N76billion) National Public Security Communications System Project, CACOL said, “Coalition deems it necessary at this point in time to forward this appeal to Your Excellency to express our worries by the lackadaisical attitude with which the failure of CCTV Project in the Federal Capital Territory, especially in the Abuja metropolis, is being handled by various authorities including the Presidency. This, which has resulted in several security breaches and compromise of safety of residents and visitors to the FCT calls for your urgent intervention. This is, notwithstanding that we had earlier received invectives from the former Minister of the FCT when we made our initial comments on the project and called for the need to bring those culpable in the failed endeavour to book.”

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According to CACOL, it said; “The project which was initiated by late President Umaru Yar’Adua, was conceived to help security agencies in the Federal Capital Territory check the growing insecurity in the federal capital. But since the installation of the CCTV cameras and allied equipment, criminals and insurgents have over and over again launched violent attacks on the city without being detected. Between 2010 when the project was initiated and now, Abuja has come under seven deadly attacks, leaving scores of people dead and properties worth billions of naira destroyed. In all the attacks, the CCTV cameras installed across the city could not pick up images of the perpetrators of the dastardly acts.”

Writing further, the group which copied the Anti-Graft Agencies and the IG of Police, said; “it considers it a patriotic responsibility on our part to bring to your notice, facts and information at our disposal that are considered useful and helpful to your administration; all in the overall interest of Nigeria and Nigerians.

Investigation showed 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 carrying out due diligence on the company. The project, which was funded through a $600 million credit facility obtained from the Chinese EXIMBANK, was slated for completion in May, 2011. Part of the project consisted of the installation of Close Circuit Television Cameras, CCTV, in many parts of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.”

The Group said; “The NPSCS project is based on the Global Open Trunking Architecture (GoTa), a new technology that provides strategic telecommunications solutions to targeted clientele. Olusegun Aganga, the then Minister of Finance, led the Federal Government’s delegation to Beijing where the loan agreement for the project was signed with the Chinese EXIMBANK in June 2010. Former Minister of Police Affairs, Adamu Waziri and the then Inspector-General of Police, Halfiz Ringim, were also part of the delegation. The project was expected to create a dedicated trunk system for inter-agency communications and linkages as well as remove critical national security agencies from private network operators and service providers.

Following the April 14 bomb explosion that claimed over 100 lives in Nyanya, a suburb of Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, CACOL flayed the then administration of President Goodluck Jonathan Government over the poor handling  of the  N76 billion  (about $470 million) National Public Security Communications System Project in the city.”

“The contract, which was awarded by the Federal Government and completed in 2012, aimed at providing voice, video and data using the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) technology to enable security agencies to combat terrorism and other violent crimes in the Federal Capital Territory, Lagos and other cities across Nigeria. Unfortunately, the solar panels and batteries of the CCTV have been stolen while some cameras that were installed along the expressways and major roads in the city of Abuja have been crushed by vehicles involved in accidents. Spending billions (of Naira) on such project without any good result to show for it is a waste of public fund. As a matter of fact, spending N76 billion on just 1000 CCTV is the highest height of corruption,” CACOL said.

Asking CACOL Said; “Your Excellency sir, the questions begging for answers on this white elephant project are: How much did each camera circuit cost? Does it mean that a whooping N75 million was paid for each camera? Does it mean that no government agency was saddled with the responsibility of keeping watch on the cameras? What was the arrangement put in place to manage the project after the company that did the work handed it over? Nigeria is one absurd country where projects are awarded without plans of maintenance. It must be noted that if the crop of people in the present government were up, about and doing, a project completed in less than two years wouldn’t have degenerated to such abysmal level. If these CCTV cameras are functioning as they should, maybe the Nyanya bombing could have been averted.”

In their petition CACOL said; “it read with keen interest, but decided to ignore a ludicrous statement abdicating supervisory responsibility of the FCT minister on the project, credited to one Mr. Nosike Oguenyi, said to be the Special Assistant to the former FCT Minister on Media in reaction to ours regarding the CCTV Project, because we considered it an exhibition of crass irresponsibility of a chief accounting officer of a political entity. According to Mr. Oguenyi, the project was not that of the then FCT administration and as such the formal Honourable Minister of the FCT never had anything to do with it. Whilst suspecting his earnest efforts at exonerating his boss from anything pertaining to the said project, claiming the non-involvement of the FCT administration in its conception, execution and supervision, he needs to understand that the Honourable Minister, as the Chief Executive officer, chief accounting officer as well as chief security officer of the FCT, takes responsibility for the general running and protection of lives and properties in the territory, both physically and administratively which of course, include installations and constructions, regardless of whether such emanates directly from the FCT administration, the Presidency or even the private sector for that matter.”

“It must be further understood that the Minister of the FCT occupies a peculiar position which, by job implication, places him almost at par with a state governor. In that sense therefore, just as a state governor, as the state’s chief accounting and security officer is answerable to whatever happens in his domain, so also is the former honourable minister of the FCT.

We are not bothered by the abusive reactions but, we would not want the incoming FCT minister to behave to that par. The incoming FCT minister should see it as part of his major duty to ensure that lives and properties are protected since the purpose of governance is to assure the welfare and security of the people.”

“Let us make it clear here that CACOL has nothing in particular against the person of the former honourable minister, but owes it a responsibility to react, and very strongly too, against any noted act of corruption or profligacy in any form or guise especially when such involves the people’s commonwealth.

It is against this background, therefore, that we now urge your office to diligently investigate the procedure of the contract award and executions as well as probe individuals and firms that participated in the failed project. This means someone should be held responsible for the failure of this project. Enough of spending billions of taxpayers’ money on white elephant projects! An investigation should be conducted to expose whosoever defrauded the country to the tune of N76bn on a project that never worked. The former FCT Minister, Mr. Bala Mohammed who was supposed to be the then Chief Security Officer of the territory, government officials that supervised the contract, those who certified it completed including those who took delivery as well as those who are saddled with the maintenance of the project should be prosecuted appropriately for failing in their various duties.”

“Finally, we want to reiterate our call for a thorough investigation on this colossal wastage of the nation’s resources through this white elephant project and prosecute those responsible accordingly. A whooping 76 billion Naira cannot just be allowed to go down the drain without somebody or a group of people making explanations.Your Excellency, we, like the majority of Nigerians, repose much confidence in your ability, going by your track record, and your promise to maintain and sustain a zero-tolerance stance to corruption and other related vices, in every facet. This is why we are hereby imploring you to give the necessary push to investigative institutions and agencies to investigate, probe and prosecute all criminal activities in the CCTV project.

While assuring your Excellency of our unalloyed loyalty to the democratic sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and your administration’s seemingly unshaken resolve to confront headlong corruption and clean up the polity of every sort of sleaze and rot, we shall not tire out from lending our support in every legitimate way possible, to ensure a resounding success in your quest to fight corruption at all levels,” CACOL said.

Meanwhile, CACOL in its petition also attached the media reaction of the then FCT minister to its earlier complaints about the CCTV project. In the said publication, published by Vanguard newspaper on April 22, 2014 with story headline titled:  Bala Mohammed says Abuja CCTV, not FCTA contract, the story read thus; ANGERED by what he termed, wrongful accusation and defamation of character, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, Senator Bala Mohammed yesterday threatened to drag the Executive Chairman of Coalition against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL), Comrade Debo Adeniran to court if he fails to apologise to him.

In a statement by the Special Assistant, Media to the FCTA Minister, Nosike Ogbuenyi, he said that National Public Security Communications System Project in Abuja otherwise known as the CCTV Project was not a contract by the Federal Capital Territory Administration.

Ogbuenyi said, “The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has condemned what it described as an unwarranted and misguided attack of the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed by the Executive Chairman of a self-styled Coalition against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL), Comrade Debo Adeniran over the $470m (N76billion) National Public Security Communications System Project in Abuja otherwise known as the CCTV Project.

“We regard that unguarded outburst by Comrade Adeniran as a shameful advertisement of ignorance not just on the part of the man himself but also the organization that he purports to lead. While the FCT Administration has been doing a lot to enhance security of lives and property in the FCT and is ever ready to collaborate with any person, institution, ministry, commission or group committed to the same objective, the fact needs to be stressed that the Abuja CCTV project was never a baby of the FCT Administration by conception, execution or supervision,” the spokesman of the FCT Administration clarified.

Mr. Ogbuenyi therefore called on CACOL and its Executive Chairman, Comrade Adebayo to render an unreserved apology to the FCT Minister for wrongful accusation and defamation, adding, “If those calling for FCT Minister’s prosecution on account of a CCTV contract that he neither originated nor executed are not comprehensive illiterates, they should have been able to at least carry out preliminary internet research on the project to ascertain those that awarded and executed the contract.”

Ogbuenyi who urged CACOL and its leaders to henceforth endevour to carry out proper investigation of issues before making public pronouncements on them in order to avoid ridiculing itself and embarrassing innocent persons and institutions, however described the CCTV project as an important project in the estimation of the FCT Administration and enjoined those responsible for the installation, completion and operation of the vital security devices to do the needful thing to make them fully operational.

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