‘We spent billions on 292 water projects in 7 years’, minister tells SERAP in court
The Minister of Water Resources Engr. Suleiman Adamu has finally fulfilled his promise to render account on spending on water projects across the country by providing Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) with detailed information on spending of billions of naira on 292 projects between 2010 and 2016. The documents were presented last week before the Federal High Court in Lagos.
Mr Adamu had in September asked the court to grant the Ministry more time within which to compile and furnish SERAP with information on the spending on water, and locations of specific projects, in view of the high volume of the information involved.
When the case up last Friday, the court asked the minister’s lawyer: “If SERAP is asking for information, why is your ministry not providing it?” Mr Adamu’s lawyer answered: “We have just furnished SERAP with the information they requested.” The court welcomed the action by the ministry of water resources and said that the ministry of agriculture too should give SERAP the information requested rather than coming to court.
SERAP deputy director Timothy Adewale said, “We are studying the large documents on spending on several water projects, with some completed but also several more uncompleted. Our team is analysing the total project sums, comparing the amounts spent on projects. We will publish the full information together with our analysis on our website and social media platforms shortly. We are now sharing the information on just 19 of the 292 projects, with summaries of some of the amounts spent. We have also set up a verification team to check the status of projects against the total amounts reportedly spent.”
SERAP also said: “We welcome Mr Adamu’s demonstrated commitment to the Freedom of Information Act. He is our Public Defender Number 1 of the FOI. We call on the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Audu Ogbeh to emulate Mr Adamu by immediately releasing information on spending in his ministry, as stated by the court. The National Assembly, ministries, agencies and departments should also learn from the good example shown by Mr Adamu by honouring and respecting the FOI Act, and thereby contributing to the efforts to achieve a greater level of transparency and accountability in Nigeria.”
The cover letter, together with a bundle of documents presented in open court and signed on Mr Adamu’s behalf by P.C. Mbam, Acting Director (Legal), with reference number FMWR/LU/S/401, read in part: “I have been directed to forward to SERAP the attached information you requested under the Freedom of Information Act 2011 from the Minister of Water Resources.”
The documents reveal spending on 292 projects in several parts of Nigeria between 2010 and 2016.
The documents read in part: “out of the N2,000,000,000.00 of the total project sum for assisted small town water supply and sanitation programme in Adamawa, Delta and Ekiti states, N20,537,667.00 was appropriated and reportedly spent in 2011. N30,000,000.00 was appropriate and spent in 2012; N150,000,000.00 was appropriated and spent in 2013; N110,000,000.00 was appropriated and spent in 2014; N11,764,706.00 was appropriated and spent in 2015; and N60,000,000.00 was appropriated and spent in 2016.”
“The total project sum to construct Otor-Iyede water supply in Isoko North local government, Delta State was N489,169,002.26. However, the project was stated to be only 30% completed; with zero appropriation and spending for 2010; 2011; 2012; 2013; 2014 and 2015. But N50,000,000.00 was appropriated and spent on the project in 2016.”
“Both the rehabilitation/upgrading of Kafin Hausa water supply scheme in Kafin Hausa local government area of Jigawa state with total project sum of N91,340,065.53; and the improvement of water supply in major towns in Kaugama local government area of Jigawa state with total project sum of N42,278,610.00 were said to be 100% completed. For the Kafin project, N100,000,000.00 was appropriated but only N82,886,174.95 was spent in 2016. While N250,000,000.00 was appropriated for 2016 for the Kaugama project, only N38,435,100.00 was spent.”
“Improvement of water supply in major towns of Malam Madori/Kaugama; Kirikasanma/Kaugama/M. Madori; Kaugama; and Auyo local government areas of Jigawa state with total project sums of N40,372,750.00, N42,323,600.00, N65,221,114.99, and N44,542,102.00, respectively, and the projects were said to be 100% completed. The construction of 11 number of handpump boreholes in Hagejia West Senatorial District of M. Madori/Kaugama local government of Jigawa state with total project sum of N15,331.299.09 was also said to be 100% completed.”
“Both the drilling of 4 number of solar/motorized boreholes in Birnin Kebbi/Kalgo/Bunza, Kebii state with total project sum of N45,095,803.65 and the drilling of 4 number of boreholes, installation of treatment plant, storage tanks and limited reticulation for Oji River regional water supply with total project sum of N45,803,361.41 were said to be 100% completed.”
“Construction of solar-powered motorised borehole scheme with tanks and water collection points in 43 wards of Kauran Namoda, Zamfara state with total project sum of N44,011,662.07 was said to be 100% completed. However, only N40,213,480.00 was spent in 2011. Also, a similar project for an additional 15 wards in the state with total project sum of N44,011,662.07 was said to be 100% completed; but only N42,754,001.00 of that sum was reportedly spent in 2011. The same project in 4 wards of Maru local government area of Zamfara state with total project sum of N27,089,990.06 was also said to be 100% completed. But only N26,838,932.35 of that sum was spent in 2011.”
“Of the total project sum of N21,788,555.87 meant to construct solar-powered motorised borehole scheme with tanks and water collection points at the Usman Danfodio University, Sokoto, only N18,268,283.00 was said to be spent in 2011 and the project 100% completed. No further spending indicated for 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. Also, a similar water project in Ishiagu town, Ebonyi state had N25,365,928.94 but only N21,561,045.60 of that total project sum was spent in 2011, with no spending reported for 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.”
“Construction of solar powered borehole in Kwakuti BI-water palkoro local government area of Niger state had N3,200,000.00 as total project sum and was said to be 100% completed. But only N2,950,000.00 was reportedly spent in 2012. There was no further spending for between 2013-2016. Similar water project in Magajiya Suleja with total project sum of N3,200,000.00 was also said to be 100% completed; however, only N2,950,000.00 was spent on the project in 2012, with no further spending reported for 2013-2016. N3,200,000.01 was budgeted and spent in 2012 on the construction of solar-powered boreholes in Katambo bologi village of Edoti Iga, Niger State. However, the project was said to be only 50% completed.”
“N9,600.000.00 was said to be spent on the similar project in Rasat, fan and Gashish B/Ladi, Plateau state in 2012, with the status of 100% completed. N9,600,00.00 was spent on the construction of 3 solar powered boreholes in the Helpang (Lolo Pwo-mol) area of the state.”