THE House of Representatives has mandated its Committee on Ethics and Privileges to probe the alleged sharing of N50 million and 150 motorcycles to members by the House leadership.

This followed a point of privilege raised by Yakubu Barde (Kaduna-PDP), the deputy Minority Whip.

The lawmaker alleged that a member, Mohammed Abubakar (Kaduna-APC), had granted an interview on a local radio station, saying money and motorcycles were given to members.

Barde said the issue needed to be loked into because he did not collect such money or motorcycle.

According to him, he has been under pressure from his constituents, who are demanding their share of the money and motorcycles.

“This is an allegation, considering the economic situation. As lawmakers, we have to be careful to ensure our image is not tarnished.

“Nigerians need to know what happened,’’ Barde said.

In his ruling, the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, referred the matter to the committee, and urged it to report to the House within four weeks

Also yesterday, Dogara defended the investigation of the $470 million contract for the installation of 2,000 closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in Lagos and Abuja.

He said it was a deliberate effort to ensure that the lives and property of Nigerians were safeguarded through a responsive system.

The contract was investigated by the Seventh Assembly but with no result.

The Speaker, while opening a public hearing on the contract, said there was need to probe the circumstances of the contract and the failure of ZTE Corporation to complete it.

He said: “The Eighth Assembly, under my leadership will remain unflinching in its resolve to restate the security arrangement by ensuring an effective and efficient delivery of a seamless operationalisation of National Public Security Communication System (NSPSCS) project as a supportive means to restoring stability to the Nigeria to facilitate the socio-economic growth and development of our people.

“Let me assure Nigerians that the House of Representatives will unravel and eliminate defects in this contract imbroglio and ensure that the intent, which is to set up a secure communication channel for security agencies in the country, is realised”.

Chairman of the ad hoc Committee investigating the contract, Ahmed Yerima, said security was a major issue that led to the concept of a larger project, National Public Security Communication System (NPSCS) of which the installation of CCTV was a part.

“Failure to complete the NPSCS contract has its attendant negative effect on the capacity of our security agencies to fight crime. The need to resolve the issue of the failed contract and move forward, will reposition the crime-fighting capacity of our security agencies.

“Bomb attacks on Abuja would have been reduced and investigation made easier, had these cameras and security network systems been in place,” he said.

The Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) Director General, Emeka Eze, in his presentation, said due process was jettisoned in the award of the contract.

Explaining that the execution of a contract of such magnitude ought to have been issued a certificate by the BPP, Eze added: “The contract for the CCTV installation in Abuja and Lagos under the NPSCS was not processed at BPP.

“Considering the purported sum of $470 million, the contract ought to have been accompanied by the certificate of no-objection issued by the BPP.

“As such, without a due process certificate of no-objection, payments made in respect of this project are illegal based on Section 16 (1) (b) of the Procurement Act 2007.

“These positions are supported by sections (16) (2) and (4) of the Public Procurement Act, 2007”.

The hearing continues today.

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