Documents Reveal How Benue Govt Used 807 Million Naira To Clear 3,750 Hectare Of Land
By John Aleigba, Makurdi
Documents at the disposal of Nigerian Concord have disclosed how the government of Benue state under the leadership of Governor Samuel Ortom spent 807 million naira to clear 3,750 Hectares of land at 11 selected development site across the three senatorial districts in the state.
The Memorandum with Reference Number MWREV/ENG/124/2/8 disclosed that the said contract was awarded on the 21st February, 2016 by the Benue State Ministry of Water Resources and Environment to Hajaig Construction Nigeria LTD which has its operational address at Plot 7071 Sharada Industrial Area Phase 1, Kano state.
According to the Memorandum which was signed by Engineer Nathaniel Alaaghga, Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Hajaig Construction Nig. Ltd was asked to contact the state ministry of finance for documentation and formal award of contract.
The memo stated that other details including the locations and specification of the contract were contained In the agreement which was signed on the project between the contractor and the Ministry of Water Resources and Environment.
Another document with Reference Number S/BTB-622/4/103 also disclosed how on the 24th of February, 2016, Mr. Stephen Agbo, Secretary, the State Tenders Board, wrote to the Managing Director of Hajaig Construction Nig. Ltd about the award of the said contract.
In the letter signed by Mr. Agbo, the contractor was informed about the details of the contract with Reference Number BNTB-14/2016 which would be spelt out in the Agreement signed with the client, Ministry of Water Resources and Environment, Makurdi.
Mr. Agbo noted that the contract was awarded to the company after the payment of Tender Non Refundable Processing Fee of 87 million Naira, presentation of Performance Bond, Photocopy of Tax Clearance Certificate, Benue State Works Registration Certificate, and Certificate of Business Incorporation.
Another document also disclosed that the governor of the state, Chief Samuel Ortom, gave the approval on the 25th of February, 2016 for the full payment to be made to the contractor.
However, when our correspondent visited the company in Kano on Wednesday, the contractor made it known that he truly bid for the said contract but he noted that his company was not awarded the contract.
A source at the state ministry of finance who preferred not to be mentioned told our correspondent that the state government only used the award of the said contract to brainwash the EFCC which is presently raising questions on how the bailout funds accrued to the state were mismanaged.
The source said the government is planning to make the EFCC and the whole world believe that the bailout funds were spent on most of the fake contracts which were never executed.
“They are bringing out Memos of approval of contracts everyday, the backdate them with the aim of presenting them to the EFCC and the world as the projects they spent the misappropriated bailout funds on” she added.
A text message sent to the mobile phone of the governor to get his reaction to the story was not answered as at the time of filing this report.