RCCG insists on refund of money for job not done on Ife-Ifewara road
*** FG denies payment of N151m to construction coy
The Federal Ministry of Works and Housing has debunked the claim by the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) that it paid N151m to the Cartil Construction Nigeria Limited as part payment for a road project awarded to it but abandoned.
This was coming as the church apologized to the ministry for not following due process in executing the project but insisted whatever money was paid to the contractor be refunded to the coffers of the federal government.
The RCCG however indicated that the apology does not in any way remove the fact which is the core of the petition that Cartil Construction Nigeria Limited should be made to refund every single kobo collected.
Pastor Niyi Adebanjo, A senior official of the RCCG, had petitioned the Senate, alleging that the ministry officials paid N151m to the firm for the construction of Ife-Ifewara Road in Osun State, which was rehabilitated by the church part of its corporate social responsibility.
Adebanjo submitted the petition on behalf of the church’s General Overseer, Pastor Enoch Adeboye.
The RCCG in the petition alleged that the construction firm claimed the sum of N151, 508, 901.22 as reimbursement for the rehabilitation of the Ife-Ifewara Road, in Osun State which the church constructed.
“The church hereby request the Senate to look into the matter and among others, urge the firm to refund the money it collected to the coffers of the Federal Government,” it said.
But the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola said there was no payment made to the construction firm since the coming of this administration.
Speaking on Thursday when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, Fashola said the construction of the 15km-long road was awarded in 2010 at a cost of N662.7 million.
He said only money paid to the contractor was the N99.4million, which 15% of the contract sum as mobilisation fee, and N52million on 29 December 2011.
“The two payments made to Cartill Construction Nigeria Limited were made on 31 March 2011 and 29 December 2011 respectively, four (4) years before the commencement of this Administration in 2015,” he said.
He said the contractor did not make a claim for a refund for the cost expended on the rehabilitation of the road between 2016 and 2019 and that the ministry did not make any payment to firm.
Fashola said the petitioner, RCCG, did not seek or obtain the approval of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing prior to or during the rehabilitation of the Road.
Fashola said: “The facts have shown that there is no basis for this. The allegations as reported are essentially false.
“They bother on defamatory and I hope that the petitioner after listening to this will do the right thing and tender an apology. I think he got his facts all mixed up.”
“A request made to the Ministry by the Petitioner under the Freedom of Information Act would have avoided the cost of this hearing and saved taxpayers’ funds,” he added.
Responding, Pastor Niyi Adebanjo, who spoke for the church, acknowledged that the process that leads to the construction of the road is faulted.
He said: “Those things he pointed out we agree point blank that it was our omission and it is not going to reoccur on our future dealings on our interventions any moment we decide to do it.”
He added: “There is no doubting the fact that the Ministry of Works deserves an apology from us and because the whole world is listening to us, I tender that apology unreservedly before this Senate Committee. However, I am saying that those things he pointed out we agree point blank that it was our omission and it is not going to reoccur on our future dealings on our interventions any moment we decide to do it.
“So, Honourable Minister, on behalf of Pastor E.A. Adeboye, I like to apologize to you for whatever this has brought to the government under your watch.
Harvest of constituency projects in Ankpa II, as Hon Rabiu innaugurates three
It was a harvest of projects for the constituents of Ankpa II State constuency as the member representing them in Kogi State House of Assembly, Hon Alfa Momoh Rabiu presented three projects for commissioning.
The lawmaker had added value to the educational development of his constituency through the construction of a Library, Laboratory and the renovation of the administrative block of a community secondary school.
The projects which were part of his contituency obligation benefited Government Day Secondary school Enabo with the construction of a Library complex and Laboratory, while community Grammar School, Ojoku benefited through the renovation of its adminstrative block.
The Honorable Commissioner for Solid Minerals and representative of the Chief of Staff to the Governor of Kogi State, Hon Bashir Gegu commissioned the newly constructed library and laboratory at Government Secondary School, Enabo.
Relatedly, the Rector, Kogi State Polytechnic, Dr Salisu Usman Ogbo commissioned the renovated administrative block on behalf of the Chairman Ankpa Local Government, Hon Ibrahim Abagwu at the Community Grammar School, Ojoku.
Hon Rabiu who was in high spirits promised to replicate the gesture in all the schools across Ankpa II constituency.
He advised the people to be optimistic about the government of the day, led by Governor Yahaya Bello adding that the dividend of democray will trickle down to every part of the State.
Ban on open Grazing gains more ground as Southern Speakers promise legislative backing
The recent resolution by the Southern State Governors Forum that banned open grazing in their respective domains is gaining more ground as Speakers of their States’ Assembly’s have thrown their weight behind them
The speakers at the weekend declared their support for the resolutions that banned open grazing, called for national dialogue and restructuring of the Federation amongst other demands.
The Speakers, in their own resolution that was signed by speaker Delta State House of Assembly, Sheriff Oborevwori, in Asaba, lauded the Southern Governors for the unity of purpose that brought them together to speak with one voice.
They reiterated the fact that the resolutions of the Southern Governors were key to resolving the problems facing the country.
They said: “We, the Speakers of State Legislatures in Southern Nigeria commend the Governors of the Southern States for their patriotism and firm belief in the unity of the country.
“We salute the Governors for their initiative and restate our support for the positions of the Governors. We wish to state unequivocally that the issues canvassed in the communique are neither new nor strange, rather they require swift response from the Federal Government.
“The country is currently undergoing very challenging times and requires bold and audacious measures to stop it from sliding into abyss.
“We maintain that the positions of the Governors as contained in the communique issued on the 11th of May, 2021 in Asaba are sacrosanct and a guarantee for justice, fairness and equity in the country.
“We adopt all the positions in the communique and reiterated the call for the ban on open grazing of cattle in the South.
“We support the call for the restructuring of the country to enthrone true federalism and therefore the convocation of a National Dialogue is inevitable.
“That this will afford stakeholders from all parts of the country to table their prejudices and together work out a sustainable relationship as one indivisible country.
“We pledge to deploy our legislative powers to strengthen the positions canvassed by the Governors.
“We also urge the Governors to send bills to the Legislature where necessary to address some of the issues in the communique.
“Finally, we thank His Excellency, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, the Governor of Delta State for providing the platform for the meeting of the Governors”.
At the meeting were Sheriff F.O Oborevwori Deputy National Chairman, Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria and Mr Aniekan Bassey, Vice Chairman South- South, Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria.
Other were: Francis O.Nwifuru, Vice chairman South East, Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria and Prince Olakunle Taiwo Oluomo, Vice Chairman South West, Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria.
Communal Clashes: Senators Sue for Peace in Benue, Ebonyi
Worried by the lingering communal Clashes among people of some communities in their States , Senators Abba Moro ( PDP Benue South) and Sam Egwu ( PDP Ebonyi North) , have sued for peace.
The two senators at a joint press conference on Wednesday in Abuja , said the warring communities across the two states should cease fire by allowing the National Boundary Commission to wage in as far as appropriate demarcation of territories are concerned .
The jointly signed press statenent by the Senators reads : ” As the Senators representing Ebonyi North Senatorial District and Benue South Senatorial District, we are here to brief you on recent security concerns that have substantially threatened the peace and development of the people of Ohaukwu and Ado LGAs in our Senatorial Districts.
“On Monday the 12th day of April, 2021, alleged herdsmen invaded Umuogudu Akpu Community, Ngbo, in Ohaukwu LGA of Ebonyi State and gruesomely killed over 12 innocent indigenes, burnt/destroyed over 56 houses and kidnapped 5 persons.
” While we were mourning our people and trying to identify the extent of damage, we were surprisingly greeted with a statement by the Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, without any form of investigation, that the attack was carried out by Agila people, and not Fulani herdsmen.
” This claim, which has the potential of heightening the tension between the two communities has long been refuted and denied by the Chairman of Ado LGA and the Government of Benue State. The people of Ado LGA who have been victims of herdsmen attacks in recent times couldn’t have hired the same people to carry out an attack on their behalf.
“There have been sustained efforts on our part to finally settle the land dispute and restore lasting peace between Ngbo people in Ohaukwu LGA of Ebonyi State and the Agila people in Ado LGA of Benue State, which have lingered over the years. Motions have been raised on the floor of the Senate, resolutions passed by the Senate and efforts sustained at the State and Federal levels to ensure that lasting peace is restored between the two communities.
“We urge security operatives to move into the affected communities and secure lives and property of the people. We know that both communities have embraced the proposed rebeaconing and delimitation exercise by the National Boundary Commission.
” We therefore urge that the exercise should be carried out with dispatch to finally put to an end all the boundary-related crises in our Senatorial Districts”.
The two federal lawmakers also proffered similar solutions for the Ezza/ Effium crisis .
They said : ” On the Ezza/Effium crisis, which started in Effium community in Ebonyi state and spilled into Ado LGA in Benue State because of the presence of Ezzas/Effiumites in Ado LGA, it is regrettable that the crisis is yet to be contained, leading to the relocation of some Efium and Ezza people to neighboring communities both in Ohaukwu LGA of Ebonyi State and Ado LGA of Benue State, thereby creating apprehension in those neighboring communities.
“The alleged abduction of Five Elders from Odum Community of Ulayi District, Ado LGA before Easter Sunday has heightened the tension between the affected communities. However, the timely intervention of the government to contain the situation has prevented any form of retaliation or reprisal attack. It was resolved that the Traditional Council of Ado Local Government should reach out to the elders and traditional leaders of Ohaukwu LGA to broker more peaceful negotiations and resolution of the matter.
“We therefore call on the Governments of Benue and Ebonyi States to put in greater efforts and in collaboration with relevant Federal Government Agencies to take immediate practical steps to ensure immediate of all adopted persons and restoration of lasting peace between the affected communities.
“We urge our people in the affected communities to please apply restraint, avoid all forms of violence, maintain peaceful coexistence and rest assured that we will do everything within our power and influence to ensure the restoration of lasting peace in the affected communities” .
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