May 30, 2017

Lagos Assembly committee to probe cancellation of 4th Mainland Bridge contract

The Lagos State House of Assembly on Tuesday set-up a six-man committee to investigate the cancellation of the contract for the construction of the 4th Mainland Bridge.

The Speaker of the House, Mr Mudashiru Obasa, said at plenary that the committee would be chaired by the Deputy Speaker, Mr Wasiu Sanni-Eshinlokun.

Other members include the Majority Leader, Mr Sanai Agunbiade; the Chairman House Committee on Finance, Mr Yinka Ogundimu; and the Deputy Majority Leader, Mr Muyiwa Jimoh.

The rest are Mr Moshood Oshun, the Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts (State) and Mr Bisi Yusuff, the Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts (Local).

The House mandated the committee to invite the State Attorney-General, the Commissioner for Waterfront Infrastructure, the Commissioner for Finance and the state Chairman of Lagos Global to clarify the termination of the contract.

The committee is to submit its report to the House on June 5.

Earlier, Mr Dayo Famakinwa (APC-Amuwo-Odofin) raised the issue of the cancellation of the contract on the floor of the House under urgent matter of public importance.

Famakinwa said the project would have led to massive employment and increase the Internally Generated Revenue of the state.

According to him, the project will ease movement of goods and services and lead the nation out of recession.

He said: “When the contract was signed by Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode, majority of the people of Lagos were happy. But we read in the newspapers last week that the contract was cancelled and this raised a lot of concerns.

“We need to know what the issues are. Residents of Lagos were happy with the government of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state and at the centre,” he said.

Contributing to the matter, Mr Olanrewaju Ogunyemi, the Chairman, House Committee on Education, also said the project had attracted the interest of many people in the state.

Ogunyemi said the project would improve the image of the governor and the party.

The lawmaker said that Ambode should also explain the outcome of the SMART City Project signed with the City of Dubai to the House.

Several other lawmakers also took turns to speak on the matter, referring to the Public Private Partnership Law of 2015.

They said the law made it mandatory for the state government to inform the House of any arrangement with private companies on any matter.

Agunbiade, the majority leader, said it was wrong for the executive not to obey that section of the law.

He said that the House needed to emphasise strict compliance with the law by the state government.

Newsmen report that the state government had recently terminated a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a consortium of firms to build the 4th Mainland Bridge at the cost of N844 billion.

The project was to be financed by Africa Finance Corporation, Access Bank, and other private investors who had already signified intention to be part of the construction, while the Visible Assets Limited was to be the coordinating firm.

The Commissioner for Waterfront Infrastructure Development, Mr Adebowale Akinsanya, during a ministerial briefing in Alausa, cited the slow pace at which the concessionaire was working as the reason behind the termination of the contract.

“Due to slow pace of work, the contract was terminated. We are now looking at many investors, though interest is very high,” the commissioner had said.

The House adjourned its plenary session until Thursday.