FG approves N7.5bn for irrigation, airports surveillance equipment


By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja

The Federal Executive Council (FEC), on Wednesday, approved contracts worth N7,499,603,500 for an irrigation project augmentation in Adamawa State and surveillance equipment for two airports in the country.

This was disclosed to State House Correspondents after the weekly virtual FEC meeting, which was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

Addressing correspondents, at the post-FEC briefing Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, disclosed that Council approved contracts worth N1,499,603,500 for the award of contract for surveillance equipment for two airports in the country.

The benefiting airports, according to the minister, are those of Kaduna and Port Harcourt in Kaduna and Rivers States.

“The approval is for the award of contracts for the design, supply and maintenance of mobile surveillance observation systems with remote controlled licence and these are for the airports of Port Harcourt and Kaduna and it will continue to other airports progressively.

“We are beginning with the first two but it will continue with the remaining airports in the future and the contract sum for this particular procurement is N1, 499,603,500.00 including the 7.5 percent value added tax and it will be delivered within 30 weeks”, he said.

Sirika also disclosed that the council approved that Nigeria enters into a Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) with Canada.

The agreement was in accordance with the Chicago convention, to which both Nigeria and Canada are signatories, he said.

“The approval we got was for the signing of Bilateral Air Service Agreement between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the government of Canada and this is in accordance with the Chicago Convention, to which both Nigeria and Canada are signatories.

“The highlights of the Bilateral Air Service Agreement between us and Canada involve the granting of rights and privileges as well as the designation of airlines authorisation, withholding, revocation, suspension and limitation of authorisation, application of national laws and regulations.

“Other components are safety standards certificate and licences, aviation security, custom duties and other charges, statistics pricing and general terms and conditions of carriage, availability of airports and aviation facilities and services, capacity, airline representatives, ground handling, sales and transfer of funds,

consultations, amendments therefrom, settlement of disputes, entry into force among others and the council approved that we should go ahead and sign the bilateral air service agreement bilateral air service agreement between us and Canada for all of the benefits to be driven therefrom, mutually,” he said.
Also, the Minister of Water Resources, Sulieman Adamu, said that Council approved the augmentation of N6 billion for the Chochi irrigation project in Adamawa State.

The minister explained: “As you know the trend with us since the inception of this administration has been to lay emphasis on completion of ongoing project that we inherited.

“This project started in 1988 during Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) era to provide 1,200 hectares of irrigation in Chochi in Yola, Adamawa State, unfortunately, it has suffered a lot of setbacks.

“First of all following the dissolution of PTF, it was transferred to the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and was kept in the cooler for about eight years, before it finally emerged in 2006 and reawarded to the same company Impressive Bacolori, but in subsequent years, it has suffered so many things.

“There has been a lot of encroachment in the area because it’s outside the Yola town, in between Yola and Jimiter. Buildings have sprung up, filling stations and so on and so forth. So, which of course cause is at several point to redesign the project. Now, we are poised to complete it. And one of the key issues is that the project is based on pumping.

“At the time it was awarded, diesel was very cheap. But now diesel is so expensive. So, we provided a solar component to provide energy for the pumps, to irrigate the land and this is one of the reasons in addition to variation of prices, foreign exchange fluctuation that calls for a review of this project, seeking for augmentation of about N6 billion and an extension of time to complete the project. At the same time, we felt the need for strengthening the technical, financial, managerial capacity of the company, which has dwindled over time.

“Contractors of the company have been there on the site for like 24 years and they’ve lost quite a lot of experts along the way. And therefore, we have now been able to reinforce the original contractor. Rather than terminate the contract, we feel it’s better to just continue by reinforcing the efforts of the contractor through a joint venture with another company which is a Nigerian company, Messers Hydro Source and Resources Limited.

“So is a joint venture between Messers Impressive Bakolori and Messers Hydro Source and Resources Limited and augmentation it for N6 billion to take the project to N11.026 billion with additional extension period of 24 months, plus 12 months effect liability period, making a total of 36 months.”