By Kalada Jumbo
The Social Development Integrated Centre, also known as Social Action, has petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on the failed Abuja CCTV Project.
Social Action, Nigeria and its partners, Civil Rights Council, Niger Delta Citizens Budget Platform, the Anti-Corruption Network, are civic organizations that work to promote social justice and good governance.
The group in a statement said some of their project work are in the areas of Economic Justice, Trade and Debts, Public Finance Accountability, Human Rights and Good Governance.
According to the statement, the petition reads:
“We write to request your attention and action on a $460 million loan acquired for Closed Circuit Television, CCTV camera project in the Federal Capital Territory, F.C.T, Abuja.
“Sir, the loan was acquired in 2015 in a contract (MoU) that was signed (on behalf of Nigeria) by the then Minister of Finance, Olusegun Aganga. It was awarded to a Chinese firm, ZTE Communications.
“Sir, five years into this suppose contract none of the said CCTV Camera can be cited by Nigerians anywhere in the FCT and neither were the huge amount of money borrowed for this purpose refunded to the National coffers. On the contrary Sir, the country has continued to repay this loan yearly and consistently with the peoples’ resources while not having enjoyed the services or benefits of this project (CCTV Cameras) for a single day.
“It will interest you to know that the Minister of Finance admitted before Nigerians in October 2019, during the budget defense before the House of Representatives Committee on Finance, that the project does not exist anywhere, whereas, she (her ministry) is only compelled to service the loan via a budgetary provision annually. (Find attached copies of reports of her testimonies and statements)
“Sir, no doubt this is a glaring case of fraud and graft. Nigeria has been known to fare poorly with accounting for loans it acquired for diverse purposes and worse still judicious application of these. This malfeasance has gone unchallenged for decades in the country and no one has been brought to book for such act of fiat. This $460 million failed CCTV contract is yet another case and demonstration of brazen abuse of authority where public officials entrusted with key offices, responsibilities and resources, wantonly abuse this trust to the end that ordinary Nigerians are not just denied the benefits of the safety and security these CCTV Cameras would have been providing, but are even further made to use the scarce resources that would have gone into development, service a non-existing project or loan. This indeed you would agree with us sir is not only double jeopardy but a travesty of justice.
“We therefore appeal to you, sir, to use your strategic office as the chief of the EFCC, the nation’s anti-graft body, to without delay launch an investigation into this CCTV project with a view to:
1. Unravelling the circumstances around it.
2. Identifying all the actors behind it.
3. Determining the roles(s) they played in the failure of the loan.
4. Recovering the loan from them.
5. Bringing them to book through rigorous and effective prosecution before the court of law.
“While earnestly looking forward to your prompt action on this, to set a precedence landmark and serve as a deterrent to public officials who engage in loan tripping. Do please have the assurances of our most respectful regards.”
The group said it is waiting earnestly for the EFCC to begin investigation into the failed project which has huge security implications for the country’s capital city.