Forfeited Assets: CLEEN Foundation Presents Report on Implementation of Tripartite Agreement between F.G, U.S, Others
A non-governmental organization, CLEEN Foundation while presenting a report on the trilateral agreement signed among Nigeria, USA and the Bailiwick of Jersey in Abuja on Friday said Nigeria received forfeited funds worth $311.8million an equivalent of three hundred and eleven million dollars which is being used for infrastructural development in the country.
While briefing the media, the acting executive Director of CLEEN foundation Mrs. Ruth OLOFIN said the CLEEN Consortium embarked on two quarterly site visits to the three project locations since the commencement of the project in June 2021 and observed that there were simultaneous construction activities on both sides of the dual carriageway of the Abuja-Kano Road, sections of the Second River Niger Bridge, and the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway
Recall that the Federal government of Nigeria had on February 10 2021, appointed the Centre for Law Enforcement Education, CLEEN Foundation as the civil society organisation to provide effective monitoring of the implementation of the tripartite agreement on the sharing, transfer, disposition, repatriation, and management of Certain Forfeited Assets.
While speaking, Olofin said the forfeited funds worth $311.8million (Three hundred and eleven million dollars) will be for the benefit of the Nigerian people for infrastructural development namely: Abuja-Kano Road, Second River Niger Bridge and the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
Ruth added that the CLEEN Foundation and her consortium partners (FTI Consulting headquartered in Washington DC, USA who are renowned specialists in asset tracking and recovery, risk assessments, forensic accounting investigations, and Pan Services, an international full service infrastructure development and management advisory service firm based in the United States of America and Nigeria) are required to monitor the utilisation of the forfeited assets.
She said, “The scope of work is inclusive and not limited to compliance with regards to anti-corruption, anti-human trafficking, procurement practices, forensic auditing, engineering and infrastructure.”
Speaking on progress made so far on it monitoring exercise, Olofin said CLEEN Foundation and her Consortium partners upon an agreed program of works with the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority and Responsible Contractors spanning from June 2021 – March 2022 have embarked on series of on-the-spot checks and unscheduled visits to the locations.
She revealed that about twenty-nine (29) Nigerian citizens in areas close to the project locations have been trained on the methodology to undertake the monitoring functions including the CLEEN project team.
“These monitors have been deployed to undertake unscheduled visits to the construction locations. Currently, about 450 unscheduled visits have been undertaken,” She added.
Furthermore, the CLEEN Consortium has embarked on two quarterly site visits to the three project locations since the commencement of the project in June 2021. The first site visit was between the 14th – 25th of June 2021, while the second was undertaken between the 16th – 20th of August and 22nd – 25th of September 2021 respectively.
The project locations being monitored cut across eight (8) states namely Oyo, Ogun, Lagos, Delta, Anambra, FCT (Abuja), Kaduna and Kano.
The Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority has the responsibility to supervise the utilisation of these funds by Julius Berger Nigeria PLC and Reynolds Construction Company who were contracted by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing.
Giving the breakdown on the utilisation of the forfeited assets, Olofin said “The forfeited assets amounting to N126 billion is being spent on the three projects that cut across three zones of the country equally as follows:
1. N42 billion naira for the Lagos-Ibadan expressway
2. N42 billion for the second Niger bridge; and
3. N42 billion for the Abuja-Kano Road.
“The rehabilitation of the Lagos to Ibadan Expressway was awarded to two EPC Contractors, Reynolds Construction Company Ltd. (RCC), and Julius Berger Ltd. (JBL). While Reynolds Construction Company is responsible for Section two of the Lagos – Ibadan Expressway (Sagamu-Ibadan), Julius Berger Nigeria Limited is responsible for Section one of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway (Lagos-Sagamu axis), Second River Niger Bridge and the Abuja-Kano Road.”
On both sections of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, the forfeited assets are mainly utilised on Km 12, 13, 22, 24, 37, 43, 48, 49, 50-54, 101-104, and 108-112. Some popular landmarks identified around the construction sites include Deeper life/MFM, NASFAT Camp, Ajura , Idi-Ayunre, Iperu, Ilishan-Remo, Ogere, Redemption camp, Ojoo, and Oleyo.
For the Second River Niger Bridge, the East Bank of the Niger (Onitsha axis), West Bank of the Niger River (Asaba axis), toll stations, secondary bridges (Atani & Amakom) and the Owerri interchange at Obosi are areas the forfeited assets are currently being utilized.
On the Abuja-Kano road, the forfeited assets are currently being utilised at Km 12+650 – Km 18 by Nepa U-turn close to Kwamba/Tafa, work zones 7 and 8 in Km 44-53 close to Jere town, Km 196-199 located at Birnin-Yero, in Turunku in Igabi LG area of Kaduna State, Km 227-235 located between Tariyan-Sarkin and Dutsan Abba at Zaria LG of Kaduna State, and Km 351 – 378 located between Ciromawa – Karfi communities of Kano State.
According to Olofin, “the CLEEN Consortium during her monitoring visitations to the project site locations since June 2021 in relation to the forfeited assets observed that work is progressing at each project location. Workers were on site, construction activities are ongoing, and each of the project officers are staffed and operational.
“The Monitoring Team was met timely and without incident by the EPC Contractors who were suitably prepared and offered appropriate comprehensive updates on the nature and progress of works at each of the site locations.
“The quality of work observed appears to be consistent with acceptable standards.”
There were simultaneous ongoing construction activities on both sides of the dual carriageway of the Abuja-Kano Road, sections of the Second River Niger Bridge, and the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. Examples of infrastructures built when we conducted our monitoring activities include but are not limited to the following: Median Barrier, Road Drainage, Main Carriageway, and Remedial Work (road markings, grass planting).
Olofin said, “for the Second River Niger Bridge, Julius Berger demonstrated good innovation using geotextile, given that the secondary road subgrades were weak. This construction method/value engineering has several benefits that include accelerating the construction time, increasing the road lifespan and durability, and reducing the need for frequent maintenance.”
“In addition, the cold recycling method which promotes effective cost management is another valued engineering method by Julius Berger Nigeria at the Abuja-Kano Road”.
Olofin added that “while leveraging on the increased level of cooperation between the CLEEN Consortium , the EPC Contractors, the EPC Contractors, Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority and the Federal Ministry of Justice, we will be embarking on our third quarterly visitations to the project site locations between the 15th -27th of November 2021. CLEEN will continue to update Nigerians through its media handles and on the website created especially for the project.”