Reps accuse BPP of delaying second Niger bridge contract
• Seek end to killing of Nigerians in South Africa
The House of Representatives Committee on Works yesterday accused the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP) of delaying the due process of awarding second Niger bridge contract, even as it disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari could not award the project because of the sabotage in the system.
According to the committee, while the works ministry has concluded early procurement processes for the award of the contract, the Federal Government hasn’t awarded the contract because of the delay in approving the due process by the BPP.
The committee said that the construction work being done by Julius Berger was the early earthwork, which is in four stages, and not the building of the bridge as the public is being made to believe.
Chairman of the House committee, Toby Okechukwu (PDP Enugu), made this disclosure in an interview with journalists yesterday.He noted that while the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing had concluded work on the contract details and forwarded same to the BPP for approval, the lawmaker however, regretted that the inability of the BPP to approve the contract is holding back the Buhari administration from awarding the contract for the bridge.
Adding that the delay by the procurement agency in concluding the due process that will lead to the eventual contract award by the government may force the construction giant to demobilize from site in June, until the contract is approved and awarded to it legally.Okechukwu revealed that Julius Berger is scheduled to complete early earthwork on the bridge by June, warning that unless the BPP approves the contract for procurement. He said that the ministry has concluded negotiations with Julius Berger and submitted it to due process. Due process is holding the process down.
“Why are you not procuring the entire contract? And there is no framework for expenditure of money put in the budget if you don’t have a contract. The money put in the budget will be a waste if you don’t award the contract.“If Julius Berger demobilizes and has to mobilize again, it will cost you not less than N10 billion. And more importantly, you’ll not be able to take advantage of the seasonal weather issues.
“That’s why the monies put in 2015, 2016 and 2017 budget for the bridge haven’t been accessed because it’s not awarded.’’The House yesterday also urged the Federal Government to wade into the recurring problems associated with the killing of Nigerians in South Africa.Adopting a motion sponsored by Mrs. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, the lawmakers resolved to invite the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyema and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Abike Dabiri to brief the House on measures taken by the presidency to guarantee the security of lives and property of Nigerians in South Africa.
Onyejeocha who is the Chairman of the House Committee on Aviation expressed regrets that despite the intervention on previous killings, there was no tangible effort to curb the ugly trend.
Claiming that no fewer than 116 Nigerians were gruesomely murdered in South Africa in the last two years, she noted that the worrisome aspect of the ugly trend was the seeming unabated impunity with which Nigerians are attacked and killed in cold blood sometimes within the view of South African law enforcement agents.
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