The House of Representatives on Tuesday unanimously resolved to investigate the alleged monumental fraud and illegalities going on at the Federal Road Maintenance Agency of Nigeria, FERMA.
The House resolution was sequel to a motion moved by the Minority Leader of the House, Rt. Hon. Ndudi Elumelu at the plenary presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Idris Wase.
Moving the motion which was seconded by Rt. Hon. Samuel Babatunde Adejare, Elumelu noted that FERMA was established in 2002 with the mandate to efficiently and effectively monitor as well as maintain all federal roads in Nigeria with the objective of keeping all the roads in good and safe condition at all times, under the supervision of the Ministry of Works.
He expressed dismay that despite billions of naira being voted to FERMA yearly for purposes of road maintenance, 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 the roads.
While stressing the critical role of FERMA to the wellbeing of the people in the area of ameliorating the sufferings of road users in the country, Elumelu drew the attention of the House to the alleged serious corrupt practices by the management of the Federal Agency.
“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 refusal 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.
“Worried 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 pilfrey 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,” Elumelu stated.
Consequent upon the resolution, the House constituted an adhoc committee to investigate the activities of FERMA from 2019 till date and report back to the house within six weeks.