The Senate has mandated the Committees on Health, Primary Health Care and Communicable Disease, Works, and Housing to investigate the abandoned N400 billion naira National Primary Health Center Project initiated by former President Olusegun Obasanjo across the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria.
The resolution was reached on Wednesday during plenary by the chamber after it considered a motion to that effect.
The motion, “Need to investigate the abandoned Four Hundred Billion Naira National Primary Health Center Project”, was sponsored by Senator Yahaya Oloriegbe (Kwara Central).
Oloriegbe, in his presentation, noted that the National Primary Health Center project was initiated by the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2006.
According to the lawmaker, the project was to build in each of the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria, a sixty (60) bed Primary Health Center to be complimented with a three bedroom flat, doctors quarters, an ambulance, all basic hospital equipment and drugs.
He explained that, “in order to achieve this lofty project, the Federal Government deducted monies from the excess crude account of all the 774 Local Government Areas on a monthly basis, warehouse the same with the then Platinum Habib Bank (now Keystone Bank) until the funds required for the actualization of the project was realized;
“Aware that the Bill of Quantities for the project was prepared by the then Federal Ministry of Works and Housing and approved by the Bureau of Public Procurement;
“Further aware that despite all those professional pre-contract activities, the contract for the execution of the projects in the entire 774 Local Government Areas was awarded to Messrs Mattans Nig. Ltd without any known tendering and selection process;
“Observes that Messrs Mattans Nig. Ltd Proceeded and sub-contracted out the jobs to consultant and sub-contractors without any verification of capacity and capabilities to properly execute the jobs a consent of the government or its agencies involved then;
“Further observes that various sums of money were released to these sub-contractors through the accounts of Messr Mattans Nig. Ltd domiciled with the then platinum Habib Bank (now Keystone Bank) to carry out the projects at the selected locations across the 774 Local Government Areas in the Country; and
“Disturbed that some of these projects were commenced and abandoned at various stages while majority of them were never started despite huge sums of money released to all the sub-contractors.”
Contributing, Senator Sadiq Suleiman Umar (Kwara North), said that the delivery of good health care to Nigerians is an aspect that can ensure the development of the country.
He observed that the recorded successes in health care delivery in developed climes are directly tied to the quality of primary health services.
“The key policy for primary health care in Nigeria is that every ward across the country must have a functional primary health care center where people can access health care delivery to be able to take care of maternal mortality rates that we are concerned about and other related health issues”, Umar said.
He lamented that the National Primary Health Center projects dispersed across the various constituencies have been abandoned by the contractors, some of whom are unknown.
“We need to take this very seriously, investigate this and make sure we know exactly what happened”, he said.
On his part, Senator Matthew Urhogide (Edo South), said the merit of the National Primary Health Center project cannot be downplayed in view of its importance to health care delivery in Nigeria.
He added that the project was supposed to be the basis for the establishment of primary health centers in the 774 local government areas.
He disclosed that recently, some of the representatives of companies who were awarded the contracts appeared before some of the Senate Committees to claim that they haven not been paid for the execution of the projects.
He added further that there are several committees of the Ninth Senate that have been inundated with several complaints about the projects.
“I think this is an opportunity for us to really look into this matter dispassionately and put the blame where it is, because Nigerians have been shortchanged by the project.
“The money has been paid substantially but there in nothing to show for it”.
“Some of the persons who are connected with this have been trying to talk to people here and there, even in government, to see to it that they are compensated. They cannot be compensated when there is no work done.
“This Senate will do good if we get our appropriate committees to look into the matter and bring the recommendations to the Senate, so that we can be on the side of the people”, he said.
Senator Biodun Olujimi (Ekiti South), said the abandoned project was a “commitment to primary health gone wrong”.
Accordingly, the chamber mandated the Committees on Health, Primary Health Care and Communicable Disease, Works, and Housing to investigate the abandoned N400 billion naira National Primary Health Centre Project initiated by former President Olusegun Obasanjo across the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria.
It resolved that the investigation must determine the status of the 100 percent project funds warehoused with the then Bank PHB (now Keystone Bank); determine the level of progress and status of the projects in each of the 774 Local Government; carry-out evaluation of the consultant, contractor and sub-contractors that participated in the project; carry-out a schedule of dilapidation on the projects; and recommend ways of completing the projects nationwide.
The Joint Committee was given six weeks to complete the investigation and report back to the chamber in plenary.
SANWO-OLU URGES RESIDENTS TO STAY CALM OVER CASH SCARCITY
The Lagos State Government has observed the tension caused by the slow release of cash through Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and within banking halls.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu today joined a delegation that met with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja to deliberate on measures to remove the hardship caused by the scarcity of the new currency.
In a statement signed by the Hon. Commissioner for information, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, Mr. Sanwo-Olu urges residents to remain calm as the government is doing everything possible to normalise the situation. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has promised to put measures in place to ensure residents have access to currency notes released to banks.
Buhari inaugurates new MOFI Board
President Muhammadu Buhari has charged the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI) to grow its Assets Under Management from the current value of N18 trillion to at least N100 trillion in the next 10 years.
The president gave the charge at the launch of the new MOFI and inauguration of the Governing Council and Board of Directors of the body shortly before the commencement of the Federal Executive Council meeting.
The president also tasked the new board to “be the clearing house for the management of Federal Government’s investments and assets in line with global best practices with a view to ensuring that these investments are delivering superior risk-adjusted returns to the government.”
He also called on the new MOFI to work with other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to create a consolidated national assets register with a view to converting them into cash-flow-generating entities.
This, he said, would support the government’s revenue drive.
Buhari urged members of the board to work with the government with a view to using government-owned investments and assets to support the government in delivering on its social and economic obligations to the citizenry.
He, therefore, directed the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Ahmed to commence the process of amending the MOFI Act and other legislations to further institutionalize this reform.
According to him, the amendments when carried out, would ensure that MOFI was restructured and repositioned to become a trusted custodian and manager of Federal Government’s investments and assets.
Buhari said the event was significant as the restructured MOFI would help identify “what we own” and how to get the best out of them.
According to the president, the MOFI Act of 1959, now Cap. 229, Laws of the Federation, 2004, explicitly empowers MOFI to enter into commercial transactions of any description on behalf of the Federal Government in its own name.
He said that MOFI was used as a Special Purpose Vehicle across different sectors to invest in commercial entities over the last 64 years, adding that MOFI was created even before Nigeria’s independence.
In her remarks, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning thanked Buhari for his support and approvals that had made the restructuring and repositioning of MOFI possible.
According to the minister, the council members and board will ensure that the new MOFI delivers on its mandates.
The governing council is chaired by the President, with the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Ahmed, as Vice Chair.
It’s members include: The Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva; Aviation, Hadi Sirika; Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo and Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo.
Others are: Governor of the Central Bank, Dr Godwin Emefiele and three experts appointed by the President, namely: Prof. Muhammad Sagagi, Dr Ayo Teriba and Prof. Ken Ife.
The board members include: Former Finance Minister, Shamsudeen Usman as Chairman, Permanent Secretaries of the Ministries of Finance and Petroleum Resources and acting Accountant-General of the Federation.
Others are; Olawale Edun, Fatima Mede, Ike Chioke, Muhammad Nda, Alheri Nyako and an executive from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) are also members of the board
Members of the Executive Management Team are: Dr Armstrong Takang, Managing Director, Eric solo, Executive Director, Chief Portfolio Officer, Sani Yakubu Chief Investment Officer and Oluwakemi Owonubi, Chief Risk Officer.
Polls: NBC warns broadcasters against compromising national unity
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has cautioned all broadcasters against compromising national unity while covering forthcoming general election.
The Director-General of NBC, Malam Balarabe Ilelah issued the warning in a statement, on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said: ”The National Broadcasting Commission wish to again, remind all broadcasters covering the forthcoming general elections to take note of the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, and other relevant regulations guiding the broadcast of elections in Nigeria.
”The commission has observed, with deep concerns, how ethics and ethos have been thrown to the winds by politicians using broadcast media platforms.
”This is against the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, which provides that in using materials for news and current affairs programmes, the broadcaster shall avoid hate speech, inflammatory, derogatory and divisive remarks or allusions.
”The commission notes that some station now glamorise these situations on their platforms. The NBC reiterates that such stations shall pay for their professional misdemeanor.”
Ilelah said for the avoidance of doubt, broadcasters were advised to note the sections of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code which provides that the broadcaster shall promote human dignity.
He added: “Therefore, hate speech is prohibited. Section 3.11.1 (a) states that all broadcasters should ensure that language or a scene likely to encourage or incite to crime, or lead to disorder, is not broadcast.
“Also, section 3.11.1 (b) advice broadcaster to ensure that no programme contains anything which amounts to subversion of constituted authority or compromises the unity or corporate existence of Nigeria as a sovereign state.
“Similarly, section 5.4.1 (f) prohibit broadcasters from transmitting divisive materials that may threaten or compromise the indivisibility and indissolubility of Nigeria as a sovereign state.”
Ilelah said that section 5.3.3 (g) urged broadcasters to ensure that a political broadcast was clearly identified as such, and not presented in a manner that would mislead the audience to believe that the programme was of any other type.
“Also, section 5.3.3 (j) enjoin broadcasters to ensure that the broadcast of a partisan political campaign, jingle, announcement and any form of partisan political party identification or symbol ends not later than 24 hours before polling day.
“The NBC ACT CAP N11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, also prescribes, in the Third Schedule 12(6) that “A Licensee shall be responsible for the content of the Station’s Broadcast.
”The commission enjoins all broadcasters to desist from using or allowing their platforms and facilities to be used by politicians, their supporters and or sympathisers, for the broadcast of contents that may lead to the breakdown of law and order,” Ilelah
He said that broadcasters were therefore expected to perform the role of peace agents by adhering to the principles of responsibility, accuracy and neutrality.
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