CSOs go back on plan to occupy SGF office over award of N240 million contract award
Fault Senate adhoc committee over SGF indictment
A Coalition of Civil Society organisations (CSOs) under the aegis of Citizens Action To Take Back Nigeria (CATBAN) yesterday did not make good their earlier threat to occupy the office of the secretary to the federal government (SGF), Mr Babachir Lawal over an alleged wrongdoing in the award of about N240 million contract for the removal of “invasive plant species along river channels and simplified village irrigation scheme (phase II) in Komadugu Basin in Yobe and Jigawa states.
Rather, the group faulted the Interim Report of The Shehu Sani led Senate’s ad-hoc Committee on Mounting Humanitarian Crisis in NorthEast had called for the resignation and prosecution of the SGF over his alleged involvement in series of infractions over the award of the contract by the Presidential Initiative on North East, (PINE).
CATBAN at a public hearing held at the Sheraton hotel in Abuja on the issue maintained that after conducting a thorough investigations into the issue, it has reached the conclusion that members of the upper legislative house were unduly persecuting the SGF.
The Co-convener of CATBAN Ibrahim Garba Wala who fielded questions from journalists and other rights activists at the occasions accused the Senate of waging a campaign of calumny against the SGF adding the damning report against him was politically motivated and calculated to tarnish his image and reputation.
Wala who disclosed that members of his team had to undertake a trip to the site of the project to see things for themselves noted that the contract was duly executed notwithstanding the fact that the SGF was not a beneficiary of the contract.
Stating that there was no need by his group to carry out the threat to “occupy” the office of the SGF since the claims by the Senate ad-hoc committee were “unfortunate lies”, he said: “We understand this is why one of the state government officials specifically told the Senate Committee that PINE had not done anything in their state despite our on the spot assessment which shows clear evidence of clearing /evacuation of invasive plant species and irrigation operation on the 115 hectares of land.”
“CATBAN can assert with authority that the contract was indeed carried out. The claims that it was meant to clear grass in IDP camp or that nothing has been done are nothing but unfortunate lies.”
He stated that their findings further indicated that the said grass cutting contract was originally tagged “Award of contract for removal of inversive (invasive) plants along river channels and 115 hectares of simplified village irrigation operation in Your state adding it was also discovered that document from PINE revealed that Rheolavision was not the main contractor that got the job.
“Rheolavision was engaged only as a consultant even though the Senate committee created the impression that the company of the SGF executed the contract.” He noted.
Wala said findings by CATBAN indicated that the SGF actually resigned from Rheolavision Engineering and all the other companies he had shareholdings in through a letter if resignation to his lawyers, D. D Azura and co, on the 28th of August 2015.
“CATBAN alongside the local NGOs went to the Likori bridge in Marma channel on the Hadeja River. We found the first project sign post which consists of the contractors’ and consultants’ details.”
Recall that the Senate , penultimate week indicted the SGF of sharp practices in expending the funds meant for alleviating the sufferings of the displaced in North East as well as other sharp practices.
The Senate report accused the SGF if allegedly owning one of the companies awarded contracts in the rehabilitation of the North-East adding that he had resigned from the directorship of the company in September 2016 but was still a signatory to the company’s account.