Reps ask Fashola’s ministry to put N42bn varsity electrification projects on hold


The House of Representatives has asked the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing to halt its Rural Electrification Access Programme in Federal Universities.

The projects, designed for eight universities, were awarded for N42bn.

A motion passed by the House in Abuja on Tuesday alleged that the contracts were not only inflated, but were also awarded to contractors who had no previous records of handling such projects.

The motion was moved by a member from Abia State, Mr. Darlington Nwokocha.

The lawmaker, who neither named the contractors nor the beneficiary universities, argued that the projects were initially designed to be sited in each of the six geopolitical zones.

However, he alleged that only universities in selected zones took all the eight projects to the exclusion of others.

Nwokocha added that from an initial appropriation of N9.5bn in the 2017 budget, the ministry eventually awarded the projects for N42bn in breach of the procurement procedure.

The motion read in part, “The House notes that the Rural Electrification Access Programme in the Federal Universities is a pilot scheme designed by the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing to electrify eight federal universities in the first instance, and later replicate same across the remaining universities.

“The House also notes that the sum of N9.5bn was appropriated for the projects in the 2017 Appropriation Act.

“The House is aware that the projects, which were supposed to be spread across the six geopolitical zones of the country, were not evenly distributed, but mainly concentrated in some zones to the disadvantage of the others. This is against the principle of federal character enshrined in Section 14 (3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.”

It added, “Also aware that the projects, which were initially approved at N9.5bn in the Appropriation Act, were later awarded at the total cost of N42bn in violation of the Public Procurement Act.

“The (House is) concerned that the contracts were selectively awarded to two contracting companies that do not have any records of achievements in the fields, which is tantamount to further violation of the Public Procurement Act.”

The House resolved that the ministry should stop all procurement processes connected to the projects pending the outcome of an investigation to be conducted by its Committee on Power.

The session, which was presided over by the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, referred the resolution for investigation within three weeks.