Reps probe water ministry over N25m borehole

The House of Representatives Public Account Committee on Tuesday queried the Federal Ministry of Water Resources for allegedly sinking a single unit of borehole at N25 million and others at N12.5m per unit.

This is even as the Committee’s chairman, Bamidele Salam, faulted the N4bn reportedly spent by the ministry on the recruitment of 100 personnel for a three-month project tagged Youth Engagement for Sanitation across the 774 Local Government Areas of the country.

Appearing before the committee at the National Assembly Complex on Tuesday, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, Mrs Didi Walson-Jack, told the panel that the boreholes were sunk across some states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory.

Walson-Jack said, “In total, 299 new water schemes were embarked upon during the period just as a total of 188 old and abandoned solar boreholes were resuscitated during the period. Each state of the federation received N10 million intervention items.”

Not satisfied with the presentation, members of the committee took turns to demand the verification of the project sites to ascertain their genuineness and avoid mixing them up with previously sunk boreholes.

They also sought to know the modality of recruitment of the YES personnel, “Full list of the youths, their account numbers, schedule of payments sent to respective banks and all other documents related to the project.”

Speaking at the event, Salam pledged the readiness of the committee to do a thorough job, saying, “What I want this committee to note is that we are going to do project verification. Not only for this ministry but for other Ministries, Departments and Agencies who have said they have done one project or the other. The committee will need to go and see exactly what is on the ground so that we can have value for money”.

The lawmaker said Osun, Ogun, Akwa Ibom, Edo, Imo and Ebonyi atates would be visited by the committee to verify the project sites.

Others include Kwara, Nasarawa, Katsina, Sokoto, Bauchi and Adamawa States.

The committee further called on the permanent secretary to tender all relevant documents related to every contract, procurement and the certificates needed to execute them on the next date of appearance.

Meanwhile, the committee refused to take the submission of the representatives of the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development over the N2bn intervention funds allocated to it and insisted that the accounting officer appear before it in person.

Also to appear before the committee is the management of the Federal Medical Centre, Jabi, Abuja over irregularities noticed in the dates of contract awards.