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Reps probe N72.34b Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail contract

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•Lament alleged discrimination against PWDs
House of Representatives, yesterday, resolved to beam its searchlights on the N72. 34 billion contract for the 1443km Port Harcourt–Maiduguri section of the eastern railway line.

Mr. Mzondu Bem (Benue: PDP) claimed that the contract was awarded to Messrs Esser Contracting and Industry Company (Turkey), CGGC Global Projects Nigeria Limited and Lingo Nigeria Limited (in association with Strasky Husty and Partners Ltd of Czech Republic in 2011.

Moving the motion at the plenary presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Idris Wase, Bem claimed that 10 years after the award of the contract, there is no evidence that work has commenced on the site, with investigations revealing that budgetary provisions were made in this regard from 2010 to 2012.

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Bem further said that despite the budgetary provisions, there were claims that the contract, awarded to Esser Contracting Industry Company for the rehabilitation of the railway segment from Port Harcourt to Makurdi, was abandoned by the contractor, and was recently re-awarded to another company.

This, he said, suggested irregularities, with similar concerns about the remaining segments of the railway rehabilitation contract from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri.

The House thereby resolved to set up an ad–hoc committee to probe into the issue.

The House also resolved to probe alleged violation of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria and private airline operators.

The House, while adopting a motion sponsored by Miriam Onuoha, urged the relevant agencies to provide functional disability desks to ease the sufferings of persons living with disability at all airports in Nigeria.

Enjoining airline operators, in collaboration with the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), to provide relevant assistive devices for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) at the airports, the lawmakers mandated the Committee on Disabilities to probe into the issue, with particular reference to the allegation of one Dr. Chike Okogwu against Dana Airline, and report back within four weeks for further legislative action.

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