House Investigates Abuja's $470M CCTV Installation


…Queries Secrecy Over Contract Details

ABUJA, December 7, (THEWILL) - The House of Representatives today beamed its searchlight on the ongoing installation of the Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras around major areas in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja as it mandated its joint committee on police, public procurement, aids, loans and debt management and information technology to investigate the level of compliance with due process in the award of the contract and determine if the execution of the project by ZTE Corporation is in conformity with due process.

The joint committee will also look into the allegation that the Chinese company, ZTE is using sub standard equipment in the installation.

The decision to investigate the contract was taken after a motion by Hon. Hassan Saleh (PDP, Benue) at Wednesday’s plenary titled “Need to investigate the $470 million national security communications system (NPSCS) Abuja contract.” Deputy Speaker, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha who presided over the plenary referred the matter to the joint committee after the motion was unanimously adopted.

Leading debate on the motion, Saleh noted that due to the security challenges facing the country, the federal government entered into a contractual agreement with a Chinese firm ZTE Corporation, to install national public service communication system (NPSCS) in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for the sum of $470 million US Dollars.

The lawmaker said the project was conceived by the government to enable security agencies to deal with national security challenges and emergency situations in the country and also part of the project consist of the installation of close circuit television cameras in many strategic parts of the FCT.

He expressed worry that there has been an allegation that the quality of materials being used for the solar powered security cameras for the CCTV system are of substandard quality, and the poles used are very close to the ground making it an easy target by vandals compared to what the same company did in their home country, china and other countries such as Ghana, Senegal, Morocco and Malaysia.

Saleh also questioned the accumulation of foreign loans to the tune of $600 million so soon after Nigeria just exited the Paris Club. He said the loans were obtained without recourse to the National Assembly for approval.

He submitted that the federal government has already made a 15 percent down payment, amounting to $70.500 million of the total contract and has signed a sovereign guarantee to the tune of $399 million to enable ZTE source for loans from the Chinese government for the project.

He alleged “that ZTE Corporation insisted that the contractual details of the transaction with the federal government should not be made public and it is presently shrouded in secrecy, which is a clear violation of the doctrine of transparency, accountability and an infringement of the laws of our country.”

The national public service communication is based on system known as Global Trunking Architecture (GOTA), which provides telecommunication and it could be used to monitor elections and verification of election results as well as disaster management and control.

There was no dissenting voice after the motion was presented hence, the presiding deputy speaker referred it to the relevant committees.