By Henry Umoru
ABUJA – THE Senate yesterday warned President Muhammadu Buhari against abandoning the projects and policies of former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo; late U Umaru Yar’Adua and his immediate predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan against the backdrop that government is a continual.
According to the Senate, the warning became imperative because its determination to cut down on wasteful spending by government.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja during an investigative hearing on the abandonment of N8 billion Code of Conduct Bureau Office headquarters, organized by the Senate Committee on the Federal Capital Territory, Chairman of the Committee, Senator Dino Melaye, APC, Kogi West stressed that the alarming increase in the number of abandoned projects has become a great concern to well meaning Nigerians who see the need for such projects to be completed by the various government’s that initiated such projects from the beginning.
According to Melaye, “as soon as these programmes and projects are abandoned, new ones are initiated only to be abandoned again by yet another successive government. The process continues while the nation’s resources continue to be wasted.
“It is instructive to state that this is not so with the developed countries. Projects and programmes, as well as policies are sustained. They place nation’s interest above other considerations. This sutenable poicy has yielded positive results as these countries have moved from developing to developed world.”
Melaye while reminding the present administration of its commitment as an advocate of change, however charged Buhari’s government “to right all administrative wrongs championed by past administrations”.
Lamenting the rate at which projects across the country were abandoned by successive governments since 1999, Melaye said, “the Senate was utterly dismayed when it received a motion in respect of the abandonment of N8 billion Code of Conduct Bureau office headquarters projects”.
Chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau, Mr. Sam Saba, who came under fire over the bureau’s decision to abandon a building project already budgeted for, was charged by members of the committee to ensure its completion by pushing for its inclusion in the 2017 budget.
A member of the committee and Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Francis Alimikhena, APC, Edo North who objected to the procurement of a new office building for CCB, told the Chairman that the abandonment of the initial building project was an indication that it was conceived to fail.
Senator Alimikhena said, “From the way things were done from the beginning, I think the project was conceived to fail. In 2010, N3bn was projected for the project. And then the amount was reviewed in 2012 to N8 billion; that is after spending over N1 billion. You decided to dump the contract and procure the same office building for N4.4 billion. Is this not waste”, the lawmaker queried.
The Senate asked the code of conduct bureau to consider completing the office project initially conceived by mobilizing experienced contractors back to site.
At the end of the day, the committee directed the code of conduct bureau to within forty-eight hours, furnish it with documents showing proof of agreement entered into with consultants responsible for valuing the project for construction of its office building.