According to SaharaReporters, the Nigerian Senate has ordered an investigation into the N400 billion primary health centre projects abandoned across the country.
The projects were initiated by the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo in all 774 local government areas of the country.
The Senate gave the order on Wednesday and mandated its committees on Health, Primary Health Care and Communicable Disease, Works and Housing to determine the status of the funds put in the defunct Bank PHB (now Keystone Bank) and how far the projects have gone in each of the 774 local government areas.
Senators Ibrahim Oloriegbe (All Progressives Congress, Kwara Central) and Sadiq Suleiman Umar (APC, Kwara North) earlier moved a motion on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday.
Oloriegbe, in his lead debate, noted that to do the projects, the Nigerian Government deducted monies from the excess crude account of all the 774 local government areas on a monthly basis and out the funds in Bank PHB (now Keystone Bank) until what was required for the project was ready.
He asserted that the Bill of Quantities for the project was prepared by the then Federal Ministry of Works and Housing and approved by the Bureau of Public Procurement.
Oloriegbe explained that despite all those professional pre-contract activities, the contract for the execution of the projects in all the 774 local government areas was awarded to Messrs Mattans Nigeria Ltd without any known tendering and selection process.
He noted that the company sub-contracted out the jobs to consultants and subcontractors without verifying if the companies had the capacity to carry out the projects.
He said the projects were also subcontracted without the consent of the government or the agencies involved.
Oloriegbe added that various sums of money were released to these sub-contractors through the accounts Messr Mattans Nigeria Ltd had with the defunct Bank PHB (now Keystone Bank).
The lawmaker expressed worry that some of these projects started but were later abandoned at various stages.
According to him, many of the projects were never started even though huge sums of money were released to all the sub-contractors.
The Senate, accordingly, directed its committees to probe the status of the project; carry out evaluation of the consultant, contractor and sub-contractors that participated; level of dilapidation of the projects; and recommend ways of completing them nationwide.
The plan of Obasanjo’s administration in 2006 was to build in each of the 774 local government areas a 60-bed primary health centre which was to be complemented with a three-bedroom flat, doctors quarters, an ambulance, basic hospital equipment and drugs.