November 2, 2023

Rep member faults €1.2m equipment import for Eko Bridge

Rep member faults €1.2m equipment import for Eko Bridge


By Ezra Ukanwa

Minister of Works, Dave Umahi is facing criticism from a prominent lawmaker, Deputy Spokesman House of Representatives, Hon. Philip Agbese, over the alleged importation of €1.2 million worth of equipment for the ongoing construction work on the Eko Bridge in Lagos state.

Agbese, who faulted Umahi, was speaking on the executive and legislative relationship on MaxFM, Lagos on Wednesday.

The Minister, during a working visit, with some directors and contractors, to Third Mainland, Carter, Falomo, Iddo, Eko, Marina, and Iganmu Bridges in Lagos State, had announced that the government needs to import the construction equipment worth €1.2m to effectively perform rehabilitation works on the Eko Bridge in Lagos State.

Agbese called for transparency, saying that the Minister should not be the one importing the equipment needed for the repair of bridges as this raises multiple red flags in addition to signposting inefficiency.

He said: “As lawmakers with oversight functions, we find it shocking that the Minister of Works, Engineer David Umahi is talking about importing equipment to fix Eko Bridge. That singular declaration sets off alarm bells. 

“There are so many questions. Is the equipment for only Eko Bridge or it can be repurposed to fix other bridges in need of repairs? Is the €1.2m for the equipment captured in the budget and properly appropriated? 

“Why is he the one importing the equipment for a bridge that has either been or would be awarded to a contractor? Is that exercise the best use of government time and taxpayers’ money? Will the proposed importation comply with the Procurement Act? Is there compliance with extant legislation of the land? These are just a few of the questions that the Minister has to answer.

“More importantly, the Minister being a former governor of Ebonyi state, I think it is time someone told him that the Federal level runs with the requisite checks and balances among the three arms of government so he cannot run that Ministry the way he managed his state. 

“He has to see to it that things are done the right way and becoming a procurement officer, contractor, consultant, and minister all at the same time is not the way things are done at this level. 

“First, he should come clean on the procurement processes and understand that as a minister he is not a contractor. The Minister should then retrace his steps to ensure that whatever he is doing is properly appropriated for, following which he should ensure that he does not engage in activities that constitute a distraction to the job he has at hand.

“Nigerians do not want to see a situation where stories will be flying about how someone illegally enriched themselves by becoming an emergency contractor. And we know such stories usually emanate after the office holder must have been done with his tenure. Engineer Umahi should spare the country such a horror show,” Hon. Agbese stated.

He cautioned that the Minister should not abuse the priority that President Bola Tinubu gave to the Ministry to engage in wasteful spending of scarce resources as the current government is a regime of consequences as the president himself has made clear.