By Umar Muhammad Puma
The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the alleged underhand dealings in the award of a United Nations (UN) sponsored hospital contract by the Federal Ministry of Defence.
To this end, the House has mandated its joint committee on Defence, Army and Public Procurement carry out a comprehensive investigation” on the matter and report back its findings within two weeks.
In a motion sponsored by Reo. Tajudeen Yusuf under matters of urgent national importance, the lawmaker told the House that some highly ranking appointees and officials in the Ministry were allegedly involved in contract scam, citing wide media publications of duplication, misappropriation and mismanagement of the contract worth several millions of naira.
The lawmaker noted that the contract for the relocation and refurbishing of Level 2 Hospital under the UN multidimensional integrated stabilization mission in Mali, funded by the UN, and awarded to countries who contribute troops to global peace missions, was full of alleged breaches.
Yusuf said “in a desperate bid to cover its tracks, the Ministry of Defence in February 2017 allegedly awarded the contract for the relation and refurbishing of the hospital to a contractor who had zero experience in installation of level two hospital”, adding that apart from awarding the contract in the name of another firm after getting presidential approval, the Ministry also flouted guidelines of the BPP.
“As a consequence for not meeting the UN’s August 2017 deadline for the relocation of the hospital, Nigeria has been asked to withdraw its remaining contingent to the UN African Mission in Darfur”, he stated.
According to him, the alleged shady deals by top officials of the ministry has cost the country the deployment of level two hospital, which usually carry out limited surgeries on officers and men on military duties, to Rwanda as directed by the UN.
He said while countries like Bangledesh, Ghana, and Senegal with fewer troops-contribution to UN missions are earning huge foreign exchange, Nigeria with one of the highest contingent was not only losing money, but axed from participating in the peace keeping mission, as well as losing its position of global troops contribution rating from 5 to 9, and from 1 to 5 in Africa.