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Millions sunk in wasteful, fictitious electrification projects in Bauchi North

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By Haruna Mohammed Salisu


MOHAMMED Alhassan is the District Head of Kubdiya community in Gamawa local government area of Bauchi State, but he had no idea that millions of naira were allocated for the installation of solar streets light across the 18 wards of his LGA, including his community.

The project was nominated by Mohammed Garba Gololo, a member of the House of Representatives who represented Gamawa Gololo Federal Constituency from 2015 to 2019 and executed by the Rural Electrification Agency, REA.

Gololo was sacked by the Appeal Court in Jos in November 2019 for allegedly forging “BSc, MA and NYSC certificates to contest in the 2019 election.”

The project was awarded to different companies including Fanny Frank Global Resources LTD, a company with no track records or expertise on how to handle electrification projects, as findings reveal.


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Although about five of the solar street lights were installed in Kubdiya ward of the LGA, Alhassan told WikkiTimes that only “one is working at the moment.”

He said, were they consulted before the installation of the street lights, “We would have advised that they give us fertilizer to improve on our yield instead of solar street lights.”

Many constituents at Kubdiya have other priorities that would impact them than the “so-called solar street lights,” he said.

Rural Electrification as deceptive agency

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Established in 2006, Nigeria’s Rural Electrification Agency, REA has three major mandates, namely; Promote Rural Electrification in the Country, Co-ordinate Rural Electrification Programs and administer the Rural Electrification Fund (REF) to promote, support and provide rural electrification through Public and Private Sector Participation.

Solar engine expunged by thieves at Taranka community
Solar engine expunged by thieves at Taranka community

In 2017, the agency published on its website that out of the 59 different projects awarded in the northeast of Nigeria, to which Bauchi is part, 56 have been successfully completed and only three were ongoing.

For instance, the agency said of the 19 capital projects it awarded in 2017 in Bauchi State, 16 have been completed and three were ongoing.

Among the 19 capital projects awarded by the agency in Bauchi State in 2017 alone, 5 were domiciled at Gamawa, Udubo Gololo Federal constituency.

Findings by WikkiTimes showed that servicing of distribution line from Bulkachuwa via Raga-Udubo-Zindiwa-Tarmasuma-Gamawa through Kore-Kubdia and the replacement of collapsed electric poles, insulators, cross arms and aluminium wires at Gamawa Federal Constituency, marked as completed on the website of the agency is untrue.

electrification

A visit to the area revealed that the installed electric wires in the communities were done by Bauchi State government since the days of Abubakar Tatari Ali as governor of the state between 1979 to 1983.

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Mohammed Alhassan Kudbiya and Bala Abdullahi Kore are districts heads of Kubdiya and Kore communities at the constituency. The two heads told WikkiTimes that the installations of and cabling of electricity was done in their communities between 1979 to 1983 when Tatari Ali was elected as civilian governor in Bauchi State. But REA claimed to have delivered the project in 2017.

The agency in August 2019 contradicted itself by publishing an invitation to tender to call on contractors to bid for cabling and wiring in the same communities whose electrifications projects it claimed to have completed since 2017.

Similarly, the agency on its website claimed that in its 2017 appropriation, the provision/installation of solar street lights at Gamawa, Udubo, Raga, Gololo and Kubdiya communities have also been completed.

But checks by WikkiTimes found that in July 2019, the agency also contradicted itself for the umpteenth time by publishing another tender calling for bidders of the same project it claimed to have completed.

Using the Open Source Intelligence method of Investigation, WikkiTimes tracked several published tenders, calling on potential interested bidders to bid for either cabling or wiring of already installed poles or installed mini solar grids on projects the agency claimed to have completed in the 2017 appropriation budget.

The tenders advertised by the agency range from 2017 down to 2021, all calling for bidding of projects claimed to have been completed by the agency since 2017.

Untraceable companies receive multiple payments but fail to execute projects

Several payments amounting to millions of naira were made to different companies for the installation of solar street lights and cabling of installed poles at the Gamawa Udubo Gololo Federal constituencies in Bauchi State.

Through Open Source Method of Investigation, WikkiTimes traced that on September 3rd 2018, the sum of N28,393,835.62 was paid to Fanny Frank Global Resources LTD and another N9,570,992.42 was paid to First Cedaf International Limited for electrification of Bulkachuwa Via Raga-Udubo-Zindiwa and Gamawa.

On 30th and 31st December 2019, the sum of N 41,123,080.35 and another N 41,123,080.35 was paid to Omizz Ventures And Trade Limited and another N41,123,080.35 to Xcrest 360 NIG LTD, all for “cabling and wiring of already installed electric poles in Gamawa Federal Constituency, Bauchi state.”

Logine International on March 27, 2020 collected the sum of N40,166,729.57 for cabling and Solar Mini-Grid in Gamawa Udubo Gololo, just as Omizz Ventures And Trade Limited collected the sum of N10,172,305.88 for cabling and wiring in the same constituency on the same day.

On March 31st 2020, and December 21, 2020, Omizz Ventures and Trade Limited collected another N10,172,305.88 and N7,144,019.5 for “cabling and wiring”, and on 31 March 2020 Longine International collected the sum of N 40,166,729.57 for the same purpose.

On September 6, 2018, Eagleford Energy & Engineering Services LTD collected the sum OF N56,987,923.49 for “procurement /installation of 20 nos. 300kva transformers and rural electrification of some communities in Gamawa Fed. constituency” and on May 11th, 2020, the sum of N12,943,124.04 was paid to Fanny Frank Global Resources LTD for “Supply/Installation Of Solar Street Lights Across The 18 Wards Of Gamawa Fed.Constituency.”

On June 9th 2020, Logine International Limited again collected the sum of N7,322,803 “for construction of solar mini-grid in Gamawa, Gololo and Udubo towns in Gamawa Federal Constituency, Bauchi state”, just as Aig Strategic Investment  LTD on 16th of September 2019, collected the sum of N22,712,985.42 for “Electrification Of 18 Wards In Gamawa Fed Const Bauchi State.”

On December 9th 2020, Logine international collected the sum of N7,322,803.02  for “Solar Mini-Grid In Gamawa Gololo And Udobo Towns Bauchi State.”

The status of all the companies on the Corporate Affairs Website shows that they were “Inactive.” This position according to an official of the CAC indicates that those companies were unfaithful in paying their annual returns with the commission, a position he says, put them at risk of being deregistered.

The monies collected by different companies  are shown below:

 

SN Name of company Amount collected Date of payment Purpose of payment Status with CAC
1 Luxury Integrated Technical Services LTD N7,848,4306.15 30/12/2019 Being final payment for the provision of solar streetlights in Katagum Fed. Con. Bauchi State Registered Jun 5, 2007, but inactive
2 Fanny frank global resources ltd N41,123,080.35 30/12/2019 Supply/installation of solar street lights across the 18 wards of Gamawa fed. Constituency, Bauchi state-federal constituency Registered on Feb 12, 2009 but inactive
3 Paks company limited N812,994,623 31/12/2019 Being payment to the contractor for the supply and installation of solar system in north-east zone Bauchi Job Centre. Registered April 30, 1993, but inactive
4 Kanode  Nigeria  Limited N18,394,235.02 31/12/2019 Being 15% APG for construction and installation of all-in-one solar street lights with accessories at Marewo, Kukadi , Bauchi state Registered March 27, 1986, but inactive
5 Xcrest 360 NIG LTD N41,123,080.35 31/12/2019 Electrification, cabling and wiring of communities in Gamawa fed. Constituency, Bauchi state Registered March 2, 2017, but inactive
6 Omizz Ventures and Trade Limited N41,123,080.35 31/12/2019 Cabling and wiring of already installed electric poles in Gamawa fed. Constituency, Bauchi state Registered August 13, 2001, but inactive
7 Fanny Frank Global Resources LTD N5,901,090.7 04/02.2021 Supply/installation of solar street lights across the 18 wards of Gamawa fed const Bauchi state Registered on Feb 12, 2009, but inactive
8 RABAAA@ 1 DYNAMIC Global Services LTD N85,865,520.02 23/03.2021 Being payment made For prov. & install. Of 100units solar street lights at Jobawa/Chiromawa, Registered August 2, 2016, but inactive
9 Fanny Frank Global Resources LTD N28,393,835.62 03/09/2018 Electrification of Bulkachuwa via raga-Udubo-Zindiwa etc at Gamawa fed const Bauchi state Registered on Feb 12, 2009, but inactive
10 First CEDAF International Limited N9,570,992.42 Electrification of Gamawa federal constituency Bauchi state Registered April 4, 2011, but inactive
11 Omizz ventures and Trade Limited N7,144,019.5 21/12/ 2020

 

For cabling and wiring

 

Registered August 13, 2001, but inactive
12 Logine International Limited N40,166,729.57

 

31/3/ 2020 Registered September 6, 2007, but inactive
13 Omizz ventures and Trade Limited N10,172,305.88 31/3/ 2020 Registered August 13, 2001, but inactive
14 Eagleford Energy & Engineering Services LTD N56,987,923.49 6/9/2018  

Procurement /installation of 20 nos. 300kva transformers and rural electrification of some communities in Gamawa fed. Constituency

 

Registered Mar 27, 2012, but inactive
15 Fanny Frank Global Resources LTD N12,943,124.04 11/5/ 2020 Supply/installation of solar street lights across the 18 wards of Gamawa fed. constituency

 

Registered on Feb 12, 2009, but inactive
16 Logine International Limited N7,322,803 9/6/2020 Construction of solar mini-grid in Gamawa, Gololo and Udubo towns in Gamawa fed. Constituency, Bauchi state

 

Registered September 6, 2007, but inactive
17 AIG Strategic Investment  LTD N22,712,985.42 16/9/ 2019 Electrification of 18 wards in Gamawa fed Const Bauchi state

 

Registered Feb 10, 2016, but inactive
18 Logine International Limited N7,322,803.02 9/12/2020 Solar mini grid in Gamawa Gololo and Udobo Towns Bauchi state

 

Registered September 6, 2007, but inactive

 

What OSINT Method shows about the contractors

WikkiTimes deployed the Open Source Intelligence method of investigation(a method used to legally gather and collect free information from public sources about individuals or organizations to track the ownerships, addresses and contact details of the companies awarded the rural electrification projects in Bauchi North.

A check on “Fanny Frank Global Resources LTD” using OSINT method, first redirected the reporter to a Facebook page that defines the company as “Importers, Distributors of Luxury Plastic Furnitures.”

The search result on Facebook and available pictures on the page has no connection to rural electrification for which the company collected millions of naira in budget releases to execute at Gamawa.

Further search also linked the company to some ongoing projects in Northwest Nigeria which are published on the REA website, just as further searches also tracked some releases made to the company on the Open Treasury Website.

When the reporter used the same method to track information about AIG Strategic Investment  LTD, which also collected millions in payment for rural electrification in Bauchi only payment made from open treasury portal and its appearance on a list of companies issued with compliance certificates in 2017 were traced.

A check on most of the companies using the OSINT method revealed that getting information about the qualifications of the companies to carry out such projects or their websites, email addresses or phone contacts of their owners is very unlikely.

This, however, makes it hard for reporters to question the companies and their owners about their competencies to carry out such projects for which they were awarded millions in public funds.

Communities in darkness as millions mysteriously disappear

From Kafin Roni to Gadiya and from Raga to Kore, most of the communities for whom the foregoing millions were released to contractors to either install solar streetlights or electric poles continue to remain in darkness.

Secretary to Gadiya District Head
Secretary to Gadiya District Head

Abdulkadir Abubakar, Wakilin Kafironi, the traditional title holder of the community told WikkiTimes that in July this year, a heavy storm struck the community and destroyed the electric poles “that connected us with the national grid.”

He said residents had to “contribute some money to replace some already damaged poles”, lamenting that despite their efforts, the community remains in darkness.

“As I speak with you, 8 poles are on the ground and we can’t afford to replace them”, he said.

Sallau Adamu, a resident of the community who is also a traditional title holder told this medium that members of the community had to raise up to N200,000 in order to fix the collapsed poles.

“I’m the Chairman of the committee that spearheaded the fixing of the power problem in this community, we raised over N200,000 bought each pole for N26,000 but after just 2 months 8 poles fell down and we cannot afford to replace them again, so we are in total darkness at the moment,” he said.

Muhd Lamara Mabudin Udubo
Muhd Lamara Mabudin Udubo

In Gadiya community, Abdu Danyaro, the Secretary to the district Head of Gadiya said, “We have been using solar power for about 2 years until last month, the solar power bank had 48 batteries that save the solar power but they all get burnt last month.”

He said the solar panels installed in 2019 could not last long, leaving the community now in total blackout.

In Raga community, five solar poles were installed in 2019 and only two were functional as of the time WikkiTimes visited the community.

Abubakar Umar, Raga community Head, said despite having the installed street lights “were a misplacement of priority”. A councillor representing Raga ward in the local council, Hon. Audu Lele agreed with the community head.

He said Poverty Alleviation Programmes to assist; especially the vulnerable and unemployed youth would have been of the high esteem in this community than the installation of just five solar street lights.

Hakimin Udubo Aminu Mohd Malami
Hakimin Udubo Aminu Mohd Malami

In Udubu, eight solar street lights were installed in 2019 and only 3 were said to be functional as of the time WikkiTimes visited the community. The district head of the community, Aminu Muhammad Malami said in recent times, no new electric project has been cited in the community as claimed in the series of releases tracked by this medium. He said the community at the moment was in desperate need of water “than electricity.”

unfunctional solar pole at Taranka Palace
unfunctional solar pole at Taranka Palace

In Taranka community, the story remains the same. The district head of the community Nasiru Mamuda told WikkiTimes; “These poles were installed and cabled since the reign of Adamu Muazu, (former Bauchi state Governor between 1999 and 2007).

He said although the cabling was completed since that time; “we have never seen electricity in this community; see the poles and the connection all became waste.”

Taranka electric connection installed more 15 years ago
Taranka electric connection installed more 15 years ago

He said only three solar poles were installed in the community in 2019, by then former House of Representatives member Madaki Garba Gololo.

Asked whether he is aware that millions of naira were released for rural electrification that includes his community, the district head said he was hearing it for the first time from the reporter.

Agency, Lawmaker Ignore FOI/Interview Request

A Freedom of Information Request sent to the North-East Zonal Office of the Rural Electrification Agency’s Office located at 2nd Floor, NIDB Building Maiduguri Road, Bauchi, Bauchi State has not been responded to days after it was sent.

REA's failed electrification projects in Bauchi
REA’s failed electrification projects in Bauchi

The assistant Zonal Coordinator of the agency, Engr Lawal Abubakar told our reporter that he needed to seek clarification from Abuja before speaking to journalists on issues regarding the activities of his agency.

He said his senior, Engr Musa Muhammed was sick as of the time WikkiTimes visited the office. The agency also failed to respond to our reporter during a subsequent visit. The FOI request sent to the official email address of the agency also has not been responded to as of press time.

Several calls and text messages sent to Mohammed Garba Gololo were equally ignored.

Nasiru Mamuda, Taranka village head
Nasiru Mamuda, Taranka village head

Constituents make desperate calls for amenities

As millions continue to disappear in the name of rural electrification, so many communities in the constituency continue to wag their tongues in desperate need of help. Amenities such as water, schools, health care centres, and other essential services continue to elude many communities at the constituency.

Village Head of Raga Abubakar Umar
Village Head of Raga Abubakar Umar

Agriculture is the major economic means of survival in the communities, but residents say governments at all levels continue to deny them of the most basic support needed to bolster their yields, “instead, they continue to waste billions on projects that have little impact on our lives as a people”, the community head of Raga, Mohammed Alhassan has said.

“If I were asked on what I prefer, I will suggest assistance for farming than the solar light they installed that did not benefit any of us economically. We are all farmers here, but the light was brought and we were not consulted, we have only seen them”, he said.

WikkiTimes reporter who went around the community observed that Raga has only one solar-powered borehole as their major source of water, which they said was constructed by a former senator Nazif Gamawa. Dried and dilapidated boreholes littered many areas in the community just as residents continue to lament water scarcity.

In Kafironi community, apart from water scarcity ravaging the community, Abdulkadir Abubakar, the community head said of the ten schools scattered in his community with an estimated 2650 students, only 15 teachers were assigned to teach in the 10 schools.

How Electrification Agency broke the law

The Rural Electrification Agency, REA has flagrantly disregarded the country’s procurement acts in its award of contracts of the Bauchi North Electrification projects.

In part IV of the Procurement Act, the agency is mandated to ensure; “All procurement contracts shall contain warranties for the durability of goods, exercise of requisite skills in service provision and use of genuine materials and inputs in execution”, as contained in Paragraph 28 of the act.

Paragraph Six of the same act also provides that; “All bidders in addition to requirements contained in any solicitation documents”, were also expected to possess “professional and technical qualifications to carry out particular procurements.”

WikkiTimes observed that all these considerations were not adhered to in the award of contracts by the agency, as findings on the CAC portal suggest the companies failed to meet up the requirement to execute such contracts.

* This investigation is supported by the John D. And Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the International Center for Investigative Reporting.

 

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