• Saturday, June 15, 2024
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Reps to probe alleged fraud, illegalities in FERMA

Imbibing effective maintenance culture

The House of Representatives on Tuesday resolved to investigate what it alleged as monumental fraud and illegalities going on at the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA).

The House therefore resolved to set up an ad hoc Committee to investigate the activities of FERMA from 2019 till date and report back to the house within six weeks for further legislative action.

This was sequel to the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance moved by Ndudi Elumelu, the Minority Leader at plenary.

Presenting the motion, Elumelu noted that FERMA was established in 2002 with a mandate to efficiently and effectively monitor as well as the maintenance of all federal roads in Nigeria with an objective of keeping all the roads in good and safe condition at all time.

He said the House is: “Aware that while billions of naira is voted to FERMA yearly for purposes of road maintenance, the federal roads across the country are nothing to write home about as most of them have become death traps, killing hundreds of Nigerians yearly as a result of poor conditions of our roads.

“Further aware that FERMA which was set up to ameliorate the sufferings of Nigeria road users is alleged to be enmeshed in serious corrupt practices by the management.

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“Disturbed that the corrupt practices includes high handedness by the leadership of the agency, over inflation of contracts, award of non- existent contracts, massive splitting of jobs and flagrant disregard for procurement laws in the award of contracts and in most cases refuse to implement the budget in full thereby doing selective implementation of the budget.

“Further disturbed that there are allegations of intentional delays in awarding contracts for road repairs and construction several months after bidding had been completed and successful bidders have emerged thereby compounding problems for Nigeria road users and sabotaging the effort of the government.”

Elumelu expressed worry that most of these contracts are alleged to have been cornered by the management for themselves and their cronies who abandon the site after collecting a reasonable percentage of advance payment of contract sum.

“Further worried that if these spate of unbridled pilfery by top government officials is allowed to fester and unchecked it will not only drain the national purse but discredit the perceived fight against corruption by this government in the eyes of the international community, hence the need for this motion,” he said.