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Speaker inaugurates hearing on dubious CCTV contracts

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“Reports making the rounds that the country entered into a loan agreement with the Chinese EXIM Bank for a financing arrangement… are unquestionably worthy of investigation.” – Dogara

The Green Chamber

Address by the Rt. Hon. Dogara Yakubu, Speaker, House of Representatives, Federal Republic of Nigeria, on the occasion of the investigative hearing on the circumstances of the award of the contract for the installation of CCTV cameras in Abuja and Lagos, and the failure of ZTE corporation to complete the contract, held in the House of Representatives (new building) on 28th January, 2016.

Protocol:

I am delighted to be part of the opening session of this Investigative Hearing, on this cardinal issue of national security and public accountability. May I formally welcome everyone present for their determination and effort to participate and enrich this process of ensuring public accountability.

2. On Thursday, 8th October, 2015, the House deliberated on a Motion on the Need to Investigate the Circumstances of the Award of the Contract for the Installation of CCTV Cameras in Abuja and Lagos, and the Failure of ZTE Corporation to Complete the Contract and resolved to set up this Ad-Hoc Committee to holistically investigate and report its finding within a reasonable time.

3. Contemporary discourse on Nigeria is almost inevitably replete with issues surrounding insecurity, militancy, insurgency, and terrorism, with their spiraling effects on regional, national and international socio-economic relations. The role of an effective communication system for security agencies, cannot therefore, to my mind, be overstated. This Public Hearing should therefore be seen as a deliberate effort to ensure that the lives and properties of Nigerians are safeguarded through a responsive system, and that there is transparency and accountability in the deployment of Government funds within the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

4. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, it is not in doubt that the country needs to evolve a mechanism of communication and response amongst security agencies as part of its counter insurgency strategy. For now this remains a huge challenge facing this government, it is imperative therefore to give it the needed attention including resource requirement. The 8th Assembly, under my leadership, is herein committing itself, to remain unflinching in its resolve to restate the security arrangement by ensuring an effective and efficient delivery of a seamless operationalization of National Public Security Communication System (NSPSCS) project, encompassing e-policing system, emergency response, video surveillance and audio/video communication channels for related security agencies, as a supportive means to restoring stability to the Nigerian state to facilitate the socio economic growth and development of the people of our country.

5. Reports making the rounds that the country entered into a loan agreement with the Chinese EXIM Bank for a financing arrangement that did not take cognizance of the project cycle, focusing mainly on supplies and offshore arrangements; allegations regarding the slapdash implementation of the project of such national security relevance, abdication of effective project and financial standard management and accountability, and weakening of the public treasury by defrayed tax payments and expenditures that have not been properly accounted to Government are unquestionably worthy of investigation.

6. Let me use this opportunity to assure Nigerians, that the House of Representatives will unravel and eliminate all defects in this contract imbroglio and ensure that the intent, which is to set up a secure communication channel for security agencies in the country is realized and shall not hesitate to hold to account the relevant actors for the expenditure of public funds where improprieties are detected.

7. I therefore urge all members of this Ad-Hoc Committee, to visit the issues as raised with every sense of diligence and resonance. The era of bloated and ineffectual contracts, that have their beginnings and endings in the mesh of corrupt activities, should be committed to the annals of history, as we seek to turn a new leaf in building a more secure country. I do understand that to reach any meaningful conclusion on the issue of this contract, the public investigation on the circumstances of the award of the contract for the installation of CCTV cameras in Abuja and Lagos, and the failure of ZTE Corporation to complete the contract, would have to be all encompassing bringing the entire investigation into the National Public Security communications System (NPSCS) project.

8. May I further implore Members of the Ad-Hoc Committee to carry-out this investigation thoroughly, succinctly without let or hindrance by studying the Memoranda submitted, and to give to all concerned Stakeholders the opportunity to fully make their submissions so as to assist the committee in situating where the problems lie and making profound recommendations to the House that will stand the test of time. Be reminded that there shall be no sacred cows.

9. It is now my singular privilege to hereby declare the Investigative Hearing open and to wish you fruitful deliberations.

10. God bless you all and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria

Rt. Hon. Dogara Yakubu

Speaker, House of Representatives

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