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Obasanjo awarded Abuja rail project without design, MOU, says Senate panel




• Contract inflated by N2b per kilometre
• Lawmakers demand refund of N392b
FORMER President Olusegun Obasanjo awarded the Abuja Rail Project in 2007 with neither a design nor a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), according to the Senate Committee on Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The then Minister of FCT and current governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, was said to have signed the contract based on an uncalculated estimate.

The revelation came as the committee discovered the contract, which stood at 60.67 kilometres, was inflated by $10 million (about N2 billion at N200 per dollar) per kilometre even as the length was later reduced to 45 kilometres without the refund of the cost for the 15.67 kilometres dropped.

To this end, the Senate committee, led by Dino Melaye has demanded the refund of the of $195,878,296.74 ( about N392 billion at N200 per dollar) being the amount for the 15.67 kilometres cut out from the Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC), handling the project.

The Project Manager of the company, Etim Abak, who answered questions from members of the committee when they undertook an oversight assignment to the project site, said the contract was signed by the then FCT minister without design and MOU, saying it was carried out based on what he simply identified as a conceptual design.

“The contract was awarded based on a conceptual design and estimates were not properly done. There was no formal design submitted and rail bridges and crossover bridges were not captured in the contract, “he told the committee.

According to him, the contract sum was $841.645,898 and project completion period was 48 months while the scope of work was 60.67km standard gauge, with double railway tracks and associated permanent way within FCT.

Melaye , who alleged the whole project may be shrouded in fraud, wondered why the project, whose length initially stood at 60.67 kilometres was later reduced to 45.245 without cut in the cost of the project initially paid for.

Now, you have reduced the length of the kilometre standard gauge from 60.67 kilometres to 45.245 kilometres. Meanwhile, there is no concomitant reduction if you juxtapose the length of kilometres and the reduction in terms of the cost.

“If we are to spend $841 million for 60.67 kilometres and now you have reduced to 45.245 kilometres and the only reduction in terms of monetary value is from $841.6 million to $823 million and with reduction of just about $17 million dollars, that to me is not commensurate with the reduction in length.”

He spoke further: “The Federal Government has so far invested $31.5 billion and another $7.6 billion from the SURE-P fund and if you put these together, we have $39.1 billion invested in the rail project, leaving the balance of $113. 233,155.32million .The sum of $3 billion dollars was proposed in the 2016 budget of the FCT for the rail project.

“ I did a personal research and looked at rail construction of the same specifications , of the same technology across the globe and one cannot but complain that the cost of this railway project in Nigeria is on a very high side.”

Melaye wondered why it was costing the Federal Government so much to construct a railway of just 45 kilometres unlike the construction of the same specifics across the globe.

He also questioned the rationale behind the government’s loan of $500 million from Exim Bank of China for the project, saying the money the Federal Government had so far injected into the project was far enough to execute the entire project.

“From my own calculation, in fact, from my comparison with other rail projects across the world, the Federal Government’s investment in this project is enough to execute the project without taking a loan as high as $500 million from China. Fortunately, one of those projects in Zambia was also done by this same company, CCECC,” Melaye said.

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  • Izeobor

    OBJ. the Nigerian messiah!

    • Certainly Naija


  • Osanebi Osakuni

    Only the likes of Melaye can speak on such a subject about OBJ and EL Rufai. Now where is EFCC? This is the same EL Rufai that first revealed to the World that Buhari is an illiterate. Hahahaha!

    • oduduwa

      This is the handy work of Jonathan. El-rufai is a saint. He will never do anyhing fraudulent.

      • Osanebi Osakuni

        That’s true o, Dr Goodluck led the Northern governors to visit Arabs. Pity!

      • charlieakpeumoh

        Hello! Stop dragging Jonathan into your mud!!

  • Auta62

    Obj and el-Rufai should be investigated by the EFCC for possible prosecution, if Buhari should be taken seriously in his anti-corruption war.

  • D Oladapo

    Can the El rufai awarded a contract of that magnitude without the approval of FEC? Can you build a railway line without design? Melaye is an irresponsible Chairman without eyes for details.
    Melaye ought to have invited the company representative, chairman, executive officer and all parties to the project before his diarrhoea mouth runs berserk. Nigerians lacks intellectual investigative methodology on my issues.

    • oduduwa

      It was Jonathan who told el-rufai to award it without any plan. Jonathan has left but his administration still hunts us.

      • charlieakpeumoh

        Did Mr. or Malam El-rufai ever serve under Jonathan? Or you are trying to cover-up your fellow yoruba tribesman – Mr. OBJ?? If so, then you are trying rather very badly – at cover-ups!

        • oduduwa

          Lolzzzzzz…… That is what APC will soon say, I am just helping them say it. What ever goes wrong in this administration, they blame Jonathan.

    • Henry

      But he said what he saw, though I’m not a Dino supporter because he’s an empty vessel and too bombastic. I would have preferred having El-rufia or Obasonjo coming out to refute what has been said, instead of attacking the messenger. The problem we have in Nigerian is we the lead always fight ourselves, while the leaders hug themselves. If this were in China, these criminals would be roasting in jail by now. Abuja is virtually empty juxtaposed to the humongous amounts of money spent on projects. There are abandoned projects everywhere, money allocated and looted away by our so called politicians which Obasonjo and el-rufia are part of them.

    • charlieakpeumoh

      Yes he did, at least while on the inspection and finding-out tours together with the contractors. Please always refrain from the use of insulting languages towards your fellow brother Nigerians!!! Or else please report back-to-school for behavioral studies at NOUN! It’s a university: at least you’ll come out a better and sober citizen. Ok?

  • honesty NO1

    Where is the rail road now? . The rail road was suppose to run from the NASS to ASO ROCK Go and see ETHIOPIA rail road. Wonders will never end in NIGERIA ! ! ! ! ! !

  • CF Okeke

    EFCC please get into action on the culprits immediately

  • Ojiyovwi

    Disgraceful if this actually happened. Someone should be sacked.

    • niaja niaja

      Sacked! That is the problem with Niaja! Jailed or sacked with them keeping their loot? Please jailed!

  • Ojiyovwi

    A railroad is an engineering project. Is Obasanjo an engineer? You cannot build railroads from memory. You need to design the dammed thing to recognised standards. Please humiliate our people again.

    • charlieakpeumoh

      Yes, my brother! Please remind yourself and perhaps a little research in Wikipedia online will greatly help you. As far as I remember, OBJ was a former Nigerian Army engineer graduate in the officers’ corp (check Nigerian military history)!

  • Nigerians are not stupid. We all know why former President Olusegun Mathew Okikiola Aremu Obasanjo, GCFR is becoming very restive of late, commenting on every topical political issue under the sun and trying very hard to deflect our attention as the anti-corruption crusade gathers momentum. Nigerians are not going to forget in a tick that he was the head of state and in government for over 16 years. The entire world has now taken notice of what Buhari would or would not do with the anti-corruption war. Being a former head of state is not immunity against prosecution for corruption. Nobody is above the Nigerian constitution. The President owes Nigeria and generations yet unborn the duty to prosecute the anti-corruption battle with every assets of the state at his disposal. Nigerians will not forgive him, if he falters or waivers in the ruthless pursuit of the thieves who have fed fat on our collective wealth while millions of Nigerians are living below poverty line. There should neither be a hiding place or sacred cows in this campaign.

    And for lawmakers, if they have their evidences intact, then they know exactly what the procedures are. They doors to the anti-graft agencies are open. Our lawmakers equally owe Nigerians a duty to support the President in the renewed anti-corruption war. To do otherwise is to abdicate their responsibilities to the Nigeria people. And history will not forgive them.

  • New Nigerian

    $39.1 billion invested in rail by pdplutocrats….where is the functioning rail system? Forensic accounting should be made on this file and details made bare for Nigerians to know what happened…

  • emmanuel anizoba

    How nice that our potheads at the Senate are firing at OBJ after the latter’s damning letter to them with respect to their love of sleaze? The effect of stimulants on human imagination is well documented. The stakes are high that our lawmakers indulge in some substance abuse. Cheers!

    • charlieakpeumoh

      That’s a formidable one! I simply love your comments! There are very many intelligent and poetic Nigerians, but strangely enough, very few intelligent politicians! How come?

  • NonPartisanElder

    Senator Melaye and the Guardian should realise that not all of us are so gullible as to take this poorly-researched story hook, line and sinker. The contract had no MOU but the contractual terms must have been stated. The contract was signed based on a conceptual design and the firm that bidded and won had no engineering design to work with? The contract was signed in 2007, the year Obasanjo and El-Rufai left office as president and FCT minister respectively, i.e. about 9 years ago. The critical questions are when did mobilisation of funds commence, 2007 or 2008? When were the variations to the contract carried out, in the same 5 months that Obasanjo spent in 2007? What happened to the contract in 12 months of Yar Adua and the almost 7 years of Jonathan’s presidency?

    It doesn’t make sense for Senator Melaye to target Obasanjo and El-Rufai alone. It’s an apparent pushback by the Senate. Let PMB bring all of them to book, including the contractors and the colluding civil servants. Please recover all stolen money.

    • Original_Raskal

      Last time I checked, yaradua delivered the 2010 new year message, and signed the budget for 2010. Were there ever two presidents at the same time in naija? How f00lish are you? There was protest in February 2010 for GEJ to be acting president of naija because yaradua was ill. GEJ was eventually made president in May 2010 and he left office in May 2015.

      Even a common google search should have reminded your dull empty skull that Yaradua was the 4th civilian President of Nigeria and was in office 29 May 2007 – 5 May 2010. That you are a yoruba man shouldn’t make you a moron! I’m yoruba like you and I got my brain upstairs. If you calculate May 2010 till May 2015 as 7yrs then what makes you think someone will take you seriously? You need to wake up from stupid1ty and get a life. Moron!

      • NonPartisanElder

        You also got the figures wrong regarding dates. The protests did not begin to happen in February 2010; the Save Nigeria Group, some other civil society organisations and well-meaning Nigerians began the agitation for GEJ to be made acting president since 2009 when it was obvious that President Yar Adua had become seriously incapacitated in a foreign country. It was rumoured that a cabal ruled Nigeria for long while VP GEJ stood aside and looked, until he was proclaimed acting president on Feb. 9, 2010. But I won’t call you a stupid moron, because that would be abusive and uncivilised.

        Dates apart, the substance is that we need to investigate those responsible for the contract administration, the alleged padding and variations that did not follow due process from 2007 to the present February 2016, a period that presumably covered President Obasanjo (5 months), President Yar Adua (33 months), President Jonathan (63 months) and President Buhari (9 months). Therefore, it should not be a matter of only President Obasanjo and Gov. El-Rufai as Senator Melaye would want gullible Nigerians to believe.

        • Original_Raskal

          Mr man! my dates are accurate! When did yaradua travelled for treatment? Who signed 2010 budget? Were there ever two parallel presidents in naija? So how do you work out your 33 months of yaradua to be 12 months? Only a moron will think 33 months is 12 months! You see why you are a moron now? Mind you, Yaradua was president of naija from May 29th 2007 until May 5th 2010. Just google naija presidents and their history and get a brain!

  • niaja niaja

    At the end of this village square meeting or court hearing by us Nigerians, nobody did something wrong. It is reflective of our polity and even judiciary. No standard, no rule of law and no continuity! The looting (killing of Nigeria) is still ongoing even under Buhari, the next government will tell us and guess what “nothing will happen”. What a country!

  • Patrick Nrialike

    The law makers should concentrate in ensuring the job is completed in time. With the rate the naira is depreciating , we would have made a lot of savings and should be thanking Obasanjo for initiating the job in the first place if we can get it completed and commissioned in good time. That should be their rightful concern now.