A coalition of Civil Society Organizations, CSOs, has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to launch investigation into the failed Abuja Close Circuit Television, CCTV, involving a whooping $460 million.
This is contained in a letter addressed to the anti-graft agency, jointly signed by Vivian Bellonwu of Social Action, Comrade Aro Ogbonna of Civil Rights Council, Faith Osuoka-Levi of Niger Delta Anti-Corruption Network and Botti Isaac of Citizens Budget Platform and made available to Newsdiaryonline on Wednesday.
“We write to request your attention and action on a $460 million loan acquired for Closed Circuit Television, CCTV camera project in the Federal Capital Territory, F.C.T, Abuja.
“The loan was acquired in 2010 by a contract (MoU) that was signed (on behalf of Nigeria) by the then Minister of Finance, Olusegun Aganga. It was awarded to a Chinese firm, ZTE Communications.
“Nine years into this supposed contract, none of the said CCTV Cameras can be cited by Nigerians anywhere in the FCT and neither was the huge amount of money borrowed for this purpose refunded to the national coffers.
“The country has continued to repay this loan yearly and consistently with the peoples’ resources while not having enjoyed the services or benefits of this project (CCTV Cameras) for a single day.
“It will interest you to know that the Minister of Finance admitted before Nigerians in October 2019, during the 2020 budget defense before the House of Representatives Committee on Finance, that the project does not exist anywhere, whereas, she (her ministry) is only compelled to service the loan via budgetary provision annually,” the letter read.
The CSOs alleged that it is an act of fraud and graft.
“Nigeria has been known to fare poorly with accounting for loans it acquired for diverse purposes and worse still judicious application of these. This malfeasance has gone unchallenged for decades in the country and no one has been brought to book for such act of fiat.
“This $460 million failed CCTV contract is yet another case and demonstration of brazen abuse of authority where public officials entrusted with key offices, responsibilities and resources, wantonly abuse this trust to the end that, ordinary Nigerians are not just denied the benefits of the safety and security these CCTV Cameras would have been providing, but are even further made to use the scarce resources that would have gone into development, service a non-existing project cum loan. This indeed you would agree with us sir is not only double jeopardy but a travesty of justice,” they further stated.
They appealed to the anti-graft agency to launch an investigation into tgw CCTV project to, “unravel the circumstances around it; identify all the actors behind it; determine the roles (s) they played in the failure of the loan; recover the loan from them and bring them to book through rigorous and effective prosecution before the court of law.”