…Why FG’s N76 b project can’t capture, transmit images
By SONI DANIEL
The Presidency is angry with the entities handling the controversial Federal Government’s N76 billion closed circuit television (CCTV) project, otherwise known as Nigerian Public Security Communications System, NPSCS.
Sunday Vanguard learnt, last night, that the Presidency, which feels embarrassed by the failure of the project to contribute to the fight against terrorism, has cancelled a request by the Ministry of Police Affairs to pay additional N3 billion to the NigComsat and the Chinese firm handling the scheme.
The Presidency, it was learnt, is peeved at the failure of the project to capture the images of terrorists who have been carrying out lethal bombings in the federal capital and environs.
Sunday Vanguard learnt that the Presidency turned down the N3 billion request, which Nigcomsat and the contractors dad demanded, as further payment in lieu of ‘contingency and consultancy fees’ for services rendered over five years.
A top official, who was recently relieved of his post, reportedly facilitated the processing of the papers for the payment and made spirited effort to get the sum released to the two entities but eagled-eyed officials in the Ministry of Police Affairs immediately reported the deal, which they claimed was illegal, to the Presidency and pleaded that it should be ignored.
The Presidency officials were said to have queried why such an amount should be paid as consultancy fees when the project was being financed by the Chinese Exim Bank under an arrangement with the Nigerian government.
A top Presidency source, who is familiar with the deal, said that the Bureau for Public Procurement, BPP, found it rather curious that such a huge amount was requested as consultancy fees without documents to justify payment.
“In other words, the BPP stopped the payment, which we considered as illegal and not in the interest of this country,” the official, who pleaded anonymity, said.
It has also emerged that the multi-million security project has been unable to capture and transmit images because the transmission broadband allocated by the National Communications Commission, NCC, for the project, was sold to a private firm.
Although the Chinese firm, which handled the $470 million project, claimed to have completed and handed over the scheme to the Ministry of Police Affairs to manage, the inability of the police establishment to secure a transmission platform has hindered its operations.
As at last night, senior government officials were deliberating on how best to resolve the snag over the frequency to be used for the security project, which makes use of radio frequency and CCTV.
Two entities- the Nigeria Police and a private telecoms firm, Open Skys- are located on the controversial frequency on 450 Mega Hertz, which the NCC allocated to both.