Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transportation wanted to give a N3.7bn rail security contract to a two-year-old company which has a father, mother and child as its directors, in addition to not having any track record of executing security surveillance projects. However, it was rejected by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
After the Abuja-Kaduna rail attack, which occured on Monday, the Minister told journalists during an interview that he had predicted the attack and presented a memo to FEC for the procurement of security equipment, but it was rejected.
Minutes of the meeting sighted by The Punch and marked EC (2021)236 on September 24, 2021, presided over by Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice-President at a time when the President was out of the country for the United Nations General Assembly, showed that Amaechi proposed that a firm, Mogjan Nigeria Limited, should be given the contract worth N3.7bn.
Incorporated on August 6, 2019 by Prince Godwin Momoh, Chioma Momoh and George Momoh, the firm has had a turnover of only N84.9m.
During his presentation, the Minister said the Bureau of Public Procurement had reviewed the process of procurement and had given a certificate of no objection for the contract, adding that the project would be funded from the N71.4bn budget of the ministry.
He therefore asked the council to “approve the award of contract for the procurement and installation of electronic surveillance system and interrogation unit on the Abuja (Idu)-Kaduna (Rigasa) 200km railway monitoring rail intrusion detection system and emergency response system in favour of Messrs Mogjan Nigeria Limited/Cagewox Dot Net Limited in the sum of N3,780,827,410.66 inclusive of 7.5 per cent VAT with a completion period of four months”.
In contrast, other ministers were concerned about the ability of the firm to deliver and Amaechi’s failure to give proper details of the equipment’s capabilities.
“We had doubts about the capability of a company, which was formed less than two years prior and had no track record of handling a contract of N3.7bn or a contract on surveillance systems. The company was also to be paid upfront. Our investigation pointed to a conflict of interest,” Punch quoted a presidency official said.
Some parts of the minutes read, “some members expressed concern about the quality of the memorandum as there was no description of the surveillance system concept note, brand name, country of manufacture or review by the previous user to enable them to make informed decisions.”
“They stated that as sophisticated as the surveillance system was touted to be, there were no indications that it had been demonstrated and tested by the security technology agencies. They equally observed that all the projects were lumped together under one budget line, which they noted was not good enough as each rail line project was supposed to be captured in its individual budget line.”
Ibrahim Gambari, the Chief of Staff to the President had questioned if the equipment would be installed across all rail lines in the country and if there would be a provision for training to enable staff members to acquire knowledge on the use of the surveillance system.
Also, the Vice-president had pointed out that the system was “described in a generic term and whether it had a brand name, adding that the system, being a rail equipment monitoring solution, ought to have a brand name and a comprehensive description of its functions.”
Rotimi defended all of these by saying it is a pilot program. So, if it works it will be replicated across the country
“In his remarks, the Vice-President directed that in view of the observation raised by members, there was a need for the ministry to provide further description of the equipment, its brand name, manufacturer and how it worked,” the memo read.