More heads may roll as Reps probe Abuja CCTV contract
By; Jacob Onjewu Dickson
More heads may roll as the House of Representatives embark on a probe of the contracts of Close Circuit Television Camera (CCTV) for Nigeria’s capital Abuja, and its commercial capital Lagos.
According to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Yakubu Dogara who spoke in Abuja, Nigeria is in dire need of a surveillance system as a means of restoring stability and facilitating socio-economic growth.
Speaking at the investigative hearing on the circumstances of the award of the contract for the installation of CCTV cameras in Abuja and Lagos, and the failure of ZTE Corporation to complete the contract, held in the House of Representatives new building yesterday, he said that the National Public Security Communication System (NSPSCS) is important for emergency response.
“Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, it is not in doubt that the country needs to evolve a mechanism of communication and response amongst security agencies as part of its counter insurgency strategy. For now this remains a huge challenge facing this government, it is imperative therefore to give it the needed attention including resource requirement.
“The 8th Assembly, under my leadership, is herein committing itself, to remain unflinching in its resolve to restate the security arrangement by ensuring an effective and efficient delivery of a seamless operationalization of National Public Security Communication System (NSPSCS) project, encompassing e-policing system, emergency response, video surveillance and audio/video communication channels for related security agencies, as a supportive means to restoring stability to the Nigerian state to facilitate the socio economic growth and development of the people of our country,” he stressed.
He explained that the need to probe the contract informed a deliberation on October 8, 2015, where the House deliberated on a Motion on the Need to Investigate the Circumstances of the Award of the Contract for the Installation of CCTV Cameras in Abuja and Lagos, and the Failure of ZTE Corporation to complete the contract and resolved to set up this Ad-Hoc Committee to holistically investigate and report its finding within a reasonable time.
“Contemporary discourse on Nigeria is almost inevitably replete with issues surrounding insecurity, militancy, insurgency, and terrorism, with their spiraling effects on regional, national and international socio-economic relations. The role of an effective communication system for security agencies, cannot therefore, to my mind, be overstated. This public hearing should therefore be seen as a deliberate effort to ensure that the lives and properties of Nigerians are safeguarded through a responsive system, and that there is transparency and accountability in the deployment of Government funds within the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act,” he informed.
Dogara explained that controversial reports making the rounds that the country entered into a loan agreement with the Chinese EXIM Bank for a financing arrangement that did not take cognizance of the project cycle, focusing mainly on supplies and offshore arrangements; allegations regarding the slapdash implementation of the project of such national security relevance, abdication of effective project and financial standard management and accountability, and weakening of the public treasury by defrayed tax payments and irascible expenditures that have not been properly accounted to government are unquestionably worthy of investigation.
“Let me use this opportunity to assure Nigerians, that the House of Representatives will unravel and eliminate all defects in this contract imbroglio and ensure that the intent, which is to set up a secure communication channel for security agencies in the country is realized and shall not hesitate to hold to account the relevant actors for the expenditure of public funds where improprieties are detected.
“I therefore urge all members of this Ad-Hoc Committee, to visit the issues as raised with every sense of diligence and resonance. The era of bloated and ineffectual contracts, that have their beginnings and endings in the mesh of corrupt activities, should be committed to the annals of history, as we seek to turn a new leaf in building a more secure country. I do understand that to reach any meaningful conclusion on the issue of this contract, the public investigation on the circumstances of the award of the contract for the installation of CCTV cameras in Abuja and Lagos, and the failure of ZTE Corporation to complete the contract, would have to be all encompassing bringing the entire investigation into the National Public Security Communications System (NPSCS) project,” he charged.