Ten public projects with an average value of over N400billion billion are abandoned across 10 states, with some of them between 10 to 40 years old, according to investigations by 21st CENTURY CHRONICLE.
These states have committed billions of naira to kickstart the projects mostly after elaborate ground breaking ceremonies, only to be abandoned at a certain stage of the project circle.
Change of government, priorities displacement and most importantly, dearth of capital are the major causes of stalling these projects. While some of them are simply white elephants since their conception, design and even sources of funding.
On the other hand, some of them could have had huge socio-economic impact on the people. or become solid revenue generating base for their states.
Greater Makurdi Water Works
In Makurdi, Benue state capital, it is a case of water everywhere but none to drink.
Despite the presence of a river, Makurdi residents suffer perennial potable water scarcity.
To solve the problem, Governor Gabriel Suswam administration in 2008 awarded the contract for the Greater Makurdi Water Works to an Israeli firm, Gilmor Nigeria Limited, at the cost of $42 million, with daily supply capacity of 100,000 cubic meters.
Prior to this time, Suswam spent over $2.3 million to rehabilitate the old Makurdi water treatment facility to reach its maximum capacity of 18,000 cubic meters of water per day.
It was designed to have three phases; while two of the phases have a capacity of 50,000 m/day or 2,100 m/h, for 24 hours of operation, the other phase plant will have a capacity of 100,000 m each day or 4,200 m/h, to be able to take care of the Makurdi and its environs. Presently the water plant is said to operate on 50,000cm3.
The project was commissioned in 2012 by former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan but its impact has yet to be felt by a majority of the populace as the taps remain dry.
It was gathered that the absence of a modern distribution network to distribute the water to households remains the project’s albatross, as the pipes in the old distribution line are old and weak.
In February, the state commissioner for Water Resources and Environment, Dondo Ahire, was quoted in media reports to have said that no less than $55 million is required to complete work on the reticulation of water from the Greater Makurdi Water Works.
Ibom Tropicana Hotel
Contract for the construction of the 14-storey Ibom Tropicana Hotel was awarded to SilverBird at the sum of N33 billion, with a completion period of 18 months.
Three years after the contract was awarded, it was reviewed upwards to N100 billion. The government had cited errors such as insufficient hectares of land to accommodate the project and the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to be carried out as reasons for the review.
Reports, however, say over N150 billion has so far been spent on the 13-year-old project on which construction work stopped in 2014, when the 8-year tenure of its initiator, Governor Godswill Akpabio ended.
The hotel, situated within the Tropicana Entertainment Centre Complex which houses a cinema galleria, shopping malls, a 5,000 capacity conference hall and theme park among others, was meant to explore the tourism sector and open Akwa Ibom to investors.
Akpabio’s predecessor, Obong Victor Attah, an architect and one of those who designed the Uyo master plan, had at the time of the award, queried the citing of the project without an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), in view of the waste that would be generated from the project and its implications on both humans and environments.
It is uncertain if the current administration of Governor Udom Emmanuel will continue work on and complete the project as he had once described it as a white elephant project which was not viable.
The state commissioner for special duties, Okpolupm Etteh, was recently quoted to have said work sill resume on the project soon as government was shopping for an investor to take it over.
Head of Service Office Complex Sokoto
In 2013, the Sokoto state government awarded a contract for the construction of the Head of Civil Service Office complex and additional office structures at the Usman Faruk Secretariat.
The buildings were to accommodate ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) presently located at the Shehu Kangiwa Secretariat, with a view to centralise the administration of governance.
The contract was awarded to an indigenous construction firm, Messrs. Edile Construction Nigeria Limited at the cost of N5.7 billion and work commenced after payment of 30 percent mobilisation to the contractor.
The contract was revoked few months later, and re-awarded to Messrs. Habmostar Construction & Engineering Company at the cost of N5.2 billion with N1.5 billion, being the required 30 percent mobilisation fee paid and a mandate to complete it before the expiration of the Governor Magatakarda Wammako tenure. The contractor, it was gathered, never resumed work at the site.
While the project remains uncompleted, workers in the state civil service, especially clerks and messengers, travel many kilometres between the state secretariat complex and the auxiliary secretariat in Giginya, in the outskirts of the state capital daily, to discharge their duties.
300-Bed Kaduna Specialist Hospital
Twelve years after the contract for the hospital was awarded by Governor Namadi Sambo, the project is yet to be completed.
The hospital was designed to have a fertility clinic, a physiotherapy ward, renal dialysis centre and oncology centre, an intensive care unit, high care unit, maternity ward, medical ward, accident and emergency ward and an operating theatre as well as an orthopaedic ward.
The project, which contract was awarded to Nahman Construction, a Lagos-based firm, at a sum that remains shrouded in secrecy, had an initial completion date of 2012, which was later extended to 2014.
Checks by 21st CENTURY CHRONICLE showed that in 2014, the state, under the leadership of Governor Ramalan Yero, got a loan of $141 million from the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) for infrastructural development in the areas of Health, Education and Water Supply of which $43.13 million was earmarked for the provision of modern equipment at the 300-bed Specialist Hospital at the Kaduna Millennium City.
The project was re-awarded to another company, Terraina Construction (Nigeria) Limited after the 2014 target was not met.
In 2019, Kaduna Deputy Governor Dr. Hadiza Balarabe, who also oversees the Ministry of Health at that time, visited the facility and gave assurances that the project would be completed but it has yet to.
Minna Airport City Project
The $600 million Minna Airport City project was initiated in 2008 and envisioned to be the first of its kind in Nigeria in terms of its layout, infrastructure, economic benefits and to create a benchmark in urban planning.
It was designed to have two runways that cross diagonally; with a control tower placed at the centre and a city built in the area between the runways. The city-between-runways was to include hotels, shops, a conference centre, a hospital and a manufacturing district.
The then state government, led by former Governor Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, partnered with Maevis Limited, a Nigerian company that promotes travel in sub-Saharan Africa, architects Sheppard Robson; Arup, a global consultancy firm; and the International Construction Consultancy, Davis Langdon.
Thirteen years later, only the vast land allocated for the project is at the site as there is no sign to show that work ever commenced there, just as officials are keeping to their chest information about the amount that was spent on the project.
Checks by this newspaper revealed that the current administration of Governor Sani Bello is not interested in committing funds to the project but is willing to partner with investors to develop it on Design, Build, Operate and Transfer terms.
Farin Ruwa Eco-Tourism Project
Farin Ruwa, translated as ‘White Water’, a natural water source with whitish water cascading down a rock, is one of the outstanding tourist attractions in Nasarawa State.
The Farin Ruwa eco-tourism project was initiated by the state’s first civilian governor, Abdullahi Adamu.
The project was conceptualised to generate electricity and encourage tourism. Consequently, contract for the construction of guest chalets near the Waterfall, was awarded in 2004, with the hope of establishing a state-of-the-art tourist site.
A technical committee on the Independent Hydro-electric power project to understudy the possibility of establishing a hydroelectric power project at the Farin Ruwa waterfalls was also inaugurated.
The contract was awarded at the initial sum of N5.4 billion, to Yoojin Engineering Nigeria Limited (YENL) with a completion period of 36 months, but citing technical problems associated with the siting the project and price fluctuation, the contract sum was later reviewed upwards to N6.1 billion.
The contract was terminated by the former governor, the late Aliyu Akwe Doma, who took over from Adamu in 2007. A law was subsequently made establishing the Nasarawa Energy Company Limited (NASENCO), which was incorporated to be the focal point of the administration’s power development endeavours.
It was later concessioned to Chavy Chase, a private firm which was to invest about $40 million for its completion.
Governor Abdullahi Sule, in 2020, gave assurance that his administration will complete the project.
Gateway Agro-Cargo Airport, Ogun
Located along Iperu-Ilishan, the Gateway Agro-Cargo Airport project at Ilishan, Ogun State, was initiated during the administration of Governor Gbenga Daniel.
Daniel was governor between 2003 and 2011.
Request for approval for the project was first sent to the presidency between 2005 and 2006 but was declined. However, in 2008, the late President Umar Musa Yar’Adua granted cargo and passenger license status to the proposed airport.
Checks revealed that the state government set July 2008 as take-off date for construction of the airport, followed by the feasibility and development studies of the project and payment of compensation to original landowners on the acquired project site.
A contract was signed with Dar-Al Hadassah of Dubai, United Arab Emirates for the construction works in a deal that involved consultancy for the master plan, a feasibility study, environmental assessment and technical design. The government also signed the contract for the topography survey, to be executed by UNILAG Consult, while Intelcon Partnership Limited got the contract for the soil testing of the proposed airport.
Thirteen years later, the project is yet to take off while the site, spanning hectares of land, has been taken over by land grabbers, scavengers who have turned it to a dump site, and farmers.
It was gathered that there is no provision for the project in the state’s 2021 budget.
Gombi-Ga’anda-Fotta road in Adamawa
The Gombi-Ga’anda road, which is the only road that links many villages with Gombi town, the administrative headquarters of Gombi Local Government Area, also connects Gombi and Shelleng local governments in Adamawa State and Borgu town in Borno State.
Contract for the construction of the Gombi-Ga’anda-Fotta road in Adamawa State was first awarded by the Murtala Nyako administration in December 2009.
The 36km road with three bridges was awarded to A.G. Vision Construction Nigeria Limited at the cost of N4.6 billion with a completion period of 24 months.
It was gathered that when the contract was awarded, N3 billion was paid upfront to the contractor.
However, 12 years after, the road which is a major means of transportation of farm produce and cattle for the people who are predominantly farmers, is yet to be completed.
Checks by 21st CENTURY CHRONICLE showed that in 2014, the contractor left the site due to attacks by Boko Haram.
Although the road project was abandoned since 2014, the state government budgeted a total of N750 million for the project between 2015 and 2020. In 2015, 2018 and 2019, N150 million respectively, was budgeted for the project while in 2020, N300 million budgeted.
Yahe-Wanokom-Wanikade-Benue border road
The contract for the 37.5km Yahe-Wanokom-Wanikade-Benue border road in Cross River State was awarded on May 18, 2011, under the Cross River Rural Access and Mobility Project (CR-RAMP) to Emamed Nigeria Limited (ENL) at the sum of N792.863 million by the African Development Bank Group.
It was designed to be implemented through a special arrangement by the State Project Implementation Unit (SPIU) under the supervision of the Cross River State Ministry of Works with a 2013 completion date.
A few weeks after the award, the contractor moved to site and tarred an estimated 5km of the road.
Ten years later, the project remains abandoned.
Reports show that the contractor had claimed non-payment of the contract sum for the abandonment but the AfDB had countered the claim, saying the complete contract amount of N792.863 million, had been paid to the contractor.
In 2017, the road was re-awarded to Sydney Construction Nigeria Limited at the sum of N3.8 billion. The company never started work on the road.
318-room Plateau Roc Hotel
The state-owned Plateau Roc Hotel project was initiated about 40 years ago, with the aim to boost the state’s tourism potential.
The imposing 318 room edifice which sits on 29.189 hectares of land, at Lamingo Dam, near Shere Hills, was conceptualised by the Solomon Lar administration to be a 5-star hotel and its contract was awarded to Flemingdon Development Nigeria Limited in 1981.
Forty years on, the project which design was complete with facilities including a helipad, horse stable, a mini golf course, car park, gardens, road walks and water sports facilities; lies abandoned.
Earlier this year, the General Manager of the State Tourism Corporation, Salome Audu Bidda, was quoted in the media to have said the government was shopping for investors with capacity to complete and operate the hotel, to partner with.
Why projects are abandoned – Civil society
Executive Director Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, said it was sad that contracts for projects are awarded across the country with no questions asked or strategies in place about how they will be funded to completion.
“This nonchalant attitude metamorphoses into various abandoned projects across the country with no question or accountability on the whopping public treasury allocated or approved for their completion,” he said.
He said such decisions by the government were responsible for huge government borrowing, while critical sectors remain underfunded.
“These reckless financial decisions result in what we presently experience as recurring borrowing to finance a budget filled with rising recurrent expenditures and underfunded critical sectors that are vital to efficiently revamping the sinking economic development,” Rafsanjani added.
EFCC should probe abandoned projects – CDD
On her part, the Director, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Idayat Hassan, said the rates at which capital projects are being abandoned is alarming and that it was high time anti-graft agencies started providing oversight in making sure that capital projects are completed within the stipulated time and without compromising the standard as abandoned capital projects have far-reaching multiplier consequences even to the economy as a whole.
She traced the menace of abandoned projects to the endemic corruption in the country, saying one of the conduits in which it manifests is the diversion of funds meant to execute capital projects in which the trends of accountability deficits, has impacted negatively on the economy of Nigeria.
“The trend of project abandonment has equally resulted in wastage of vast resources and promotion of corruption with the attendant socio-development challenges such as deep-rooted poverty, pervasive unemployment, huge revenue loss, poor healthcare system, low educational facilities,” Hassan said.
The CDD, according to her, has made many interventions towards reviving abandoned projects through the Strengthening Citizen’s Resistance Against Prevalence of Corruption (SCRAP-C) project, a project that seeks to contribute to a reduction in corruption through changing public attitudes and dispositions towards disapproving corrupt practices by leveraging on social audit as a means of demanding accountability.
The development expert said, apart from the large-scale theft and looting of crucial funds meant for a capital projects to benefit the citizens, there is also a significant loss of human lives and properties, with negative effects on the economy. Each time funds cannot be accounted for or corruption is perpetrated, the end result is unimaginable.
She, therefore, recommended that, “Financial crime control agencies should be given the power to provide oversight on project contracting, government needs to make sure that sufficient funding is available at the inception of any capital project and as estimated by the Quantity Surveyor, there should be a clear outline of fund disbursement that will be tied to deliverables upon awarding a contract to a contractor and government should publicise the name and details of projects at community levels, for members of communities to conduct social accountability on such projects.”