…Personalised attacks on Buhari uncalled for – Presidency reacts

The Presidential Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has accused President Muhammadu Buhari and his son-in-law, Mr. Junaid Abdullahi of “engaging in corruption, economic sabotage and unethical conduct by using funds creamed off fake contract awards to fund the president’s re-election campaign to the tune of about eighteen billions of naira.”

Atiku & Buhari
Atiku & Buhari

In a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday, Atiku’s Special Assistant on Public Communication, Mr. Phrank Shaibu said the All Progressives Congress (APC) -controlled federal government “has been using the Border Communities Development Agency (BCDA) headed by Buhari’s son-in-law, Mr. Abdullahi for hundreds of phony lawmakers’ constituency projects, using non-existent firms to fund Buhari’s electioneering campaign.”

The statement is a reaction to an investigative report published by Premium Times, detailing alleged massive fraud in the border agency.

The Border Communities Development Agency (BCDA) has the mandate to provide social and infrastructural amenities to international border communities in 21 states of the federation, spanning over 105 local government areas.

Buttressing the authenticity of the report, Atiku said “no fewer than 815 contractors were recently shortlisted by the Border Communities Development Agency (BCDA) for hundreds of constituency projects ranging from N10 million to 200 million worth of contracts, despite failing to meet federal contracting requirements.”

He said, “in apparent move to amass funds for President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election bid, the BCDA procurement officials have continuously disregarded some key criteria for selection of prospective contractors, as well as some requirements for the award of contracts, in a potential violation of the Public Procurement Act (PPA) 2007.”

Citing “instances of companies through which President Muhammadu Buhari is using to siphon government resources for his re-election bid,” Atiku said, “Arcad Projects Limited (Lot 110) prequalified to bid for the N200 million contract for the rehabilitation of selected rural roads in Ekiti/Irepodun/Idi/Oke-Ero Federal Constituency was not qualified. The company’s bid was accompanied with its PENCOM certificate only without the requisite tax clearance document.”

Similarly, the statement said, “SMV Nigeria Limited and Young Stallion Group Nigeria Limited (Lot 83) submitted bids for the N150 million contract for the construction of a mini-stadium at Kashere in Gombe Central Senatorial District, but both were shortlisted despite not meeting the requirements on tax clearance certificates.”

“Aicon Residential Limited (Lot 84) also submitted a bid for the N150 million contract for the rehabilitation/maintenance of water infrastructure in Yobe East Senatorial District without submitting its tax clearance certificate.

“ABG Synergy Limited was prequalified for the N50 million contract to supply tricycles, popularly called “Keke NAPEP” in Monguno/Marte/Nganzi Federal Constituency of Borno State despite not attaching any of the two vital documents to its bid.

“Budmusdru Hill Nigeria Limited and Khamz Intercontinental Limited (Lot 386) shortlisted for a N100 million contract to train youth and community leaders in Niger North Senatorial District also did not meet the requirements.

“De Poor Shall Rich Nigeria Limited and Dankole Global Services (Lot 281) were shortlisted to bid for the N60 million contract to supply motorcycles in Edo Central Senatorial District without their tax clearance certificates.

“Yalele Farms Limited (Lot 315) was shortlisted for the N60 million Strategic Empowerment and Training of Women and Youth in Zaki Federal Constituency with absolutely no requisite documentation,” the statement said.

Section 23 (1) of the PPA (2007) does not allow federal agencies or their management to manipulate procurement guidelines to favour any party during a contracting process.

The law says: “Where a procuring entity has made a decision with respect to the minimum qualification of suppliers, contractors or service providers by requesting interested persons to submit applications to prequalify, it shall set out precise criteria upon which it seeks to give consideration to the applications and in reaching a decision as to which supplier, contractor or service provider qualifies, shall apply, only the criteria set out in the prequalification documents and no more.”

BCDA procurement officials disregarded some key criteria for selection of prospective contractors, as well as some requirements for the award of contracts, in a potential violation of the Public Procurement Act (PPA) 2007.
Atiku said the President Buhari’s anti-corruption posturing is further undermined if officials at the BCDA are allowed to go ahead with the flawed contracting process in brazen defiance of the country’s extant procurement regulations.

While challenging the Buhari and his son-in-law to deny these claims, Atiku called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices & Other Related Offenses Commission, to thoroughly investigate this act of corruption and economic sabotage, for its corrosive effects on the economy as well as the 2019 general elections.

Meanwhile, reacting to the allegation, Special Assistant (Media and Publicity), to President Muhammadu Buhari,  Mallam Garba Shehu said: “We read the various statements issued in the press by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP with the latest personalizing their attacks on President Muhammadu Buhari.

“This is an uncalled for attack on the administration that crosses the line in a democracy. A call for disobedience to government is a call to anarchy and should not be called opposition politics.

“Seeing people go down as the PDP and its leaders are heading to in the elections is pitiful but to seek to bring down the roof on everyone is tragic, selfish and the height of desperation. Happily, these acts do not reflect the true feeling of citizens across the whole nation, and that is why the PDP is sinking deeper and deeper into the oblivion. They are losing memberships in droves and their campaign is just a caricature of a proper campaign.

“It is high time Nigerians separated the chaff floating around in the air in the name of opposition from the crude and disgraceful invective being thrown personally at President Muhammadu Buhari.

“The problem of the opposition is that they are not talking about solutions. Rather, each of them, led in the pack by the PDP is an expert at counting problems. That is the reason why the voting population is coming around the Buhari-led All Progressive s Congress, APC.

“For years, the PDP had been a bastion of corruption and impunity and it is difficult for them to change from their rentier way if life in the nation’s affairs. But CHANGE has come, and has come to stay.”

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