By Kenneth Ehigiator
The Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) has said contract for the proposed N64 billion second runway for the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, passed through due process.
Spokesman of the Bureau, Dr. Abiodun Adeniyi, also said queries being raised about the project were normal, as the development was in tandem with democratic practice.
Adeniyi, who doubles as Communications Consultant for World Bank Economic Reform and Governance Project, told Sunday Vanguard, in an interview at the weekend, that the runway project was meant to be a futuristic one that could accommodate wide-bodied aircraft as the Airbus A380 jumbo.
According to him, the cost of the project is a function of the extensive work and facilities that would come with it.
He said: â€œI can assure you from the due process perspective that the Abuja airport runway contract went through painstaking vetting, it was painstakingly vetted.Â Â The initial tender submission was over eighty something billion but was scaled down to sixty four billion.
â€œWe did it after checking, the checking most times are not only local but we externalise it, and we make sure we relate with the best hands in the field, in line with international best practice, we never compromised in this process.â€
Adeniyi said the public outcry against the project was understandable, but stressed that Nigeria needed to flow with the world in terms of infrastructure development, saying â€œit will be very painful that when you are suffering, when you cannot afford the basic needs of life, some people are out there wanting to stash away billions of Naira”.
â€œYou imagine that most of the times we exaggerate these things, we know that the system is not water tight, we know that corruption is everywhere, without giving any excuse for anybody, it is global.
â€œNigerian government is tackling the malaise.Â If you look at the company involved, Julius Berger, it is an international company that does not get involved in bribery, the company is above board. The question of cash being given is out of existence .
â€œMobilisation has not been given, but there is absolute commitment on the part of government to see the project through. There is absolute transparency because it has been in the card for a long time.Â Then, there is petty politics that is beclouding our sense of objectivity .
â€œIt is very unfortunate.Â It is a futuristic planning project for our government, we have gazed into the future. The planning for aviation projects is for long time, that is the way to be ahead of the world.
â€œLike Britain and America, nothing should stop Nigeria from aping and idealising these best practices in infrastructural development.â€