The Nigerian senate has called for the sack of the Secretary to the government of the federation, Babachir Lawal following the emergence of evidence detailing the several corrupt activities Lawal had his hands in.
Lawal breached the law in handling contracts awarded by PINE, presidential initiative for the North east. The senate called for lawal’s immediate suspension and prosecution on Wednesday following a presentation on the humanitarian crisis in the north by an adhoc committee led by Sani Shehu. Sani’s reports indicate that millions of naira went into contracts that were not of any use to the IDPs.
Below are key excerpts from the humanitarian crisis report;
INTERIM REPORT OF THE AD-HOC COMMITTEE ON MOUNTING HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN THE NORTH EAST
Sequel to the mandate given to the Ad-Hoc Committee on Mounting Humanitarian Crisis in the North East, Committee visited some of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in the North East and conducted a three-day Public Hearing after which the following findings/observations were made;
1. Humanitarian Crisis Management in IDPs:
(a)It is absolutely true, that there is serious humanitarian crisis in the North East as evidenced by the plight of the internally displaced persons both in camps and within the host communities. There is hunger, disease, squalor, deprivation and want amongst the IDPs. This observation is corroborated by a statement accredited to tt e United Nations’ Deputy Coordinator of the Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Mr. Peter Lundberg to the effect that “a projected 5.1 million people will face serious food shortages as the (Boko Haram) conflict and risk of unexploded improvised devices prevented farmers from planting for the third year in a row, causing a major food crisis in the North East”.
Page 3 of the report shows;
(2) Contracts Award:
(a)The Committee discovered that all contracts from the Presidential Initiative on North East (PINE) were awarded under the principle of emergency situation as stipulated in Section 43 (i) & (ii) but with absolute disregard to Sub-section (iii) & (iv) of the same Section 43 of the Public Procurement Act, 2007 which states that:
“(iii) All procurements made under emergencies shall be handled with explanation but along principles of accountability, due consideration being given to the gravity of each emergency. (iv) Immediately after the cessation of the situation warranting any emergency procurement, the procuring entity shall file a detailed report thereof with the Bureau which shall verify same and appropriate issue a Certificate of ‘No Objection’.”
Similarly, the entire procurement activities carried out by Presidential Initiative on North East (PINE) in the North East contravenes Federal Government’s Financial Rules and Regulations, number 2948.
Page 4 of the document read;
“(i) Under emergency situation, a procuring entity may engage in direct or single source procurement of goods, works, or services.
(ii) Further to sub-section (i), procurement shall be made expeditiously, without losing sight of the principles of accountability and transparency.
(iii) On cessation of emergency situation warranting Procurement under this method, the procuring entity shall file records of procurement proceeding with a view to obtaining Certificate of ‘No Objection’ if necessary from Bureau of Public Procurement”.
(b) That most of the contracts awarded by PINE have no direct bearing/impact to the lives of the displaced persons apparently languishing in hunger/starvation, disease, squalor and other deplorable conditions in all the IDPs. The contracts under reference include:
(i) PINE contributions to two (2) conferences on Rebuilding the North East; and
(ii) the purported payment of over Two Hundred and Twenty — Three Million (P4 223m) naira for the removal of invasive plant species Komadugu, Yobe Water Channels;
(c)That the Presidential Initiative on North East (PINE) took undue advantage of the provision of emergency situation contract award in the Public Procurement Act, 2007 to over inflate contracts. Not only that, contracts were awarded to companies belonging to top government officials’ cronies.
Page 6 of the document read;
(c) The Federal Ministry of Health should be compelled to immediately deploy their personnel to all the IDPs to support the efforts of the International Humanitarian Crisis Managers and the Nigerian Airforce medical team in providing the necessary medical assistance so as to avert possible outbreak of communicable diseases like cholera, measles, and diarrhea etc;
(d) Federal and State government should intensify efforts towards reconstruction of destroyed infrastructure, re-habilitation and empowerment of the IDPs so that they can go back to their respective homes; (e) The newly constituted Presidential Committee on the North East Initiative (PCNI) should ensure that there is synergy and proper coordination among all humanitarian crisis agencies if the IDPs are to gain maximally from the entire exercise;
(f) The Presidential Initiative on North East shall forward a detailed report of all contracts awarded by it to the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) as requested by Section 43 (iv) of the Public Procurement Act, 2007;
(g) The Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) should undertake a revaluation of all contracts awarded by PINE under the emergency situation arrangement to recover any proceeds from over-inflated contracts; (h) Contracts partially executed but fully paid for must be completed by the concerned contractors, or asked to refund the equivalent money of outstanding jobs to the government treasury.
The report also revealed that a bag of beans of 50kg and a 4 liter of palm oil were given to 30 people for 15 days. These were considered too insufficient as confirmed by many IDPs that interacted with the Committee.