Abuja Rail project.
An official of the Chinese Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC) yesterday told a Senate panel that Former President Olusegun Obasanjo awarded the $841m Abuja rail project without engineering design and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in 2007.
According to The Guardian Newspaper, CCECC's Project Manager, Etim Abak made the revelation to the Senate Committee on Federal Capital Territory (FCT) during an oversight to the project site. Etim said the then Minister of FCT, Nasir el-Rufai signed the contract on behalf of the federal government.
The Senate Committee discovered the contract, which stood at 60.67 kilometres, was inflated by $10 million (about N2 billion at N200 per dollar) per kilometre even as the length
was later reduced to 45 kilometres without the refund of the cost for the 15.67 kilometres dropped. Dino Melaye has demanded the refund of the of $195,878,296.74 ( about N392 billion at N200 per dollar) being the amount for the 15.67 kilometres cut out from the Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC), handling the project.
The Project Manager of the company, Etim Abak, while answering questions from members of the committee, said the contract was signed by the then FCT minister without design and MOU, saying it was carried out based on what he simply identified as a conceptual design.
“The contract was awarded based on a conceptual design and estimates were not properly done. There was no formal design submitted and rail bridges and crossover bridges were not captured in the contract, “he told the committee.According to him, the contract sum was $841.645,898 and project completion period was 48 months while the scope of work was 60.67km standard gauge, with double railway tracks and associated permanent way within FCT. Melaye alleged that the project whose length initially stood at 60.67 kilometres, was later reduced to 45.245 without cut in the cost of the project initially paid for.
"Now, you have reduced the length of the kilometre standard gauge from 60.67 kilometres to 45.245 kilometres. Meanwhile, there is no concomitant reduction if you juxtapose the length of kilometres and the reduction in terms of the cost. If we are to spend $841 million for 60.67 kilometres and now you have reduced to 45.245 kilometres and the only reduction in terms of monetary value is from $841.6 million to $823 million and with reduction of just about $17 million dollars, that to me is not commensurate with the reduction in length. The Federal Government has so far invested $31.5 billion and another $7.6 billion from the SURE-P fund and if you put these together, we have $39.1 billion invested in the rail project, leaving the balance of $113. 233,155.32million. The sum of $3 billion dollars was proposed in the 2016 budget of the FCT for the rail project. I did a personal research and looked at rail construction of the same specifications , of the same technology across the globe and one cannot but complain that the cost of this railway project in Nigeria is on a very high side.”he said