From Fred Itua, Abuja
The Senate, yesterday, mandated its committees on Health, Primary Health Care and Communicable Disease, Works, and Housing to investigate the abandoned N400 billion naira National Primary Health Center Project initiated by former President Olusegun Obasanjo across the 774 local government areas in Nigeria.
The motion, “Need to investigate the abandoned Four Hundred Billion Naira National Primary Health Center Project”, was sponsored by Yahaya Oloriegbe.
Oloriegbe, in his presentation, noted that the National Primary Health Center project was initiated by the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2006.
According to the lawmaker, the project was to build in each of the 774 LGAs, a 60 bed primary health center to be complimented with a three bedroom flat, doctors quarters, an ambulance, all basic hospital equipment and drugs.
He said some of these projects were commenced and abandoned at various stages while majority of them were never started despite huge sums of money released to all the sub-contractors.”
Contributing, Sadiq Suleiman Umar (Kwara North), said that the delivery of good health care to Nigerians is an aspect that can ensure the development of the country.
He lamented that the National Primary Health Center projects dispersed across the various constituencies have been abandoned by the contractors, some of whom are unknown.
“We need to take this very seriously, investigate this and make sure we know exactly what happened,” he said.
On his part, Matthew Urhogide, said that recently, some of the representatives of companies who were awarded the contracts appeared before some of the Senate Committees to claim that they haven not been paid for the execution of the projects.
He added further that there are several committees of the Ninth Senate that have been inundated with several complaints about the projects.
“I think this is an opportunity for us to really look into this matter dispassionately and put the blame where it is, because Nigerians have been shortchanged by the project.
“The money has been paid substantially but there in nothing to show for it. Some of the persons who are connected with this have been trying to talk to people here and there, even in government, to see to it that they are compensated. They cannot be compensated when there is no work done.”
Biodun Olujimi, said the abandoned project was a “commitment to primary health gone wrong.” Accordingly, the chamber mandated the Committees on Health, Primary Health Care and Communicable Disease, Works, and Housing to investigate the abandoned N400 billion National Primary Health Centre Project.
It resolved that the investigation must determine the status of the 100 percent project funds warehoused with the then Bank PHB (now Keystone Bank); determine the level of progress and status of the projects in each of the 774 Local Government; carry-out evaluation of the consultant, contractor and sub-contractors that participated in the project; carry-out a schedule of dilapidation on the projects; and recommend ways of completing the projects nationwide.
The Joint Committee was given six weeks to complete the investigation and report back to the chamber in plenary.