How contractors received N78m for work not done on road projects in Bauchi
By Idris Kamal Ibrahim
In what appears to be a safe money-laundering channel for corrupt and dubious reasons, WikkiTimes’ Idris Kamal Ibrahim in this investigation revealed how two companies – AJ & N Multi-Ventures Limited and Amis & S Global Service Limited – individually cornered the total sum of N78 million meant for the rehabilitation of Yana-Shira-Azare Road and Adamami-Madakeri road both in Bauchi State.
Motorists plying some major federal roads in Bauchi State are groaning under the deteriorating condition of the roads.
Findings by WikkiTimes revealed that some of the worst of these roads are the Yana-Shira-Azare and Adamami-Madakeri roads.
The Yana-Shira-Azare, which is the shortest route linking agrarian communities of two Bauchi State LGAs – Shira and Giade – to commodity markets in Jigawa, Borno, Yobe and Kano states, has been in deplorable condition for years.
In the same vein, the Adamami-Madakeri has also been in deplorable condition for a long time.
Data from the office of the Accountant General of the Federation – available on govspend.ng shows that on September 13, 2018, AJ & N Multi-Ventures Limited was paid N45 million for the rehabilitation of Yana-Shira-Azare road.
Similarly, in June 2021, Amis & S Global Service Limited was paid N32 million for the rehabilitation of Adamami-Madakeri roads in Bauchi State. With no work done by both contractors, residents and commuters continue to suffer the brunt, with lives and properties worth millions lost annually.
However, years after the contracts were awarded and money released, nothing much has been done on the roads, thus leaving commuters and motorists travelling on them to go through harrowing experiences on a daily basis.
On regular basis, dozens of vehicles conveying passengers, goods and agricultural products pass through the road, thus worsening its condition.
Previous works on the road
Earlier in 2010, the Federal Executive Council had approved the rehabilitation of the Yana-Shira-Azare Road project with the initial contract sum of N2.1 billion which was later amended to N1.1 billion with a nine-month completion window.
WikkiTimes gathered that the federal government issued a Certificate of Completion for the rehabilitation of the road to Mother Cat Limited a few years after. Mr Samuel (Surname sketchy), Secretary at Mother Cat Limited told this newspaper that they completed the rehabilitation five years ago.
Mu’azu Maikano, not real name, who is a resident of Yana, also confirmed that the road was last rehabilitated between 2013 to 2014. He added that the project was facilitated by the Former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mahmoud Yayalle Ahmed who hailed from the area.
Meanwhile, on September 13, 2018, another company, AJ & N Multi-Ventures Limited was paid N45 million for the repair of the same road. Despite the new release, the road still remains in a deplorable state as commuters and residents continue to bear the brunt.
Road project awarded to unqualified company
Investigations by WikkiTimes revealed that AJ & N Multi-Ventures Limited did not qualify for the contract because it was registered on March 19, 2018, the same year it was awarded the contract without evidence of three years tax clearance. This violates the Public Procurement Act 2007.
Similarly, the contractor does not have any online presence describing its contact details. This makes it difficult and impossible to trace. For instance, a Google Search about the firm returns no result as to the contact details of the firm. No email address, Twitter or Facebook accounts. Amis & S Global Merchants Limited, too, has zero online presence with limited contact details.
Adamami-Madakeri road – Commuters, residents’ nightmare
Both residents and commuters described the Adamami-Madakeri and Yana-Shira-Azare roads as hell, adding that they are inflicting them with severe agonies and denying them seamless access to other neighbouring towns and communities.
Muhammadu Maikudi Kiliye, a resident of Kiliye, told WikkiTimes that the road is hell for motorists, stressing that several drivers and passengers had lost their lives on it.
Maikudi, who lamented that the condition of the road is pathetic, added that the patching of potholes done on the road has been washed away, leaving huge gaps that only skillful drivers can manoeuvre safely.
WikkiTimes gathered that the condition of the road has worsened since the onset of the rainy season. Motorists are forced to spend many hours on the road due to its condition.
Abubakar Kiliye, a passenger who plies Adamami-Madakeri daily, described its current condition as an “eyesore”. He explained that the worst part of the road is between Bonbiyo border and Kwana Uku village along Giade road, which is less than a kilometre.
According to him, drivers have to use the same lane on some parts of the road to avoid potholes.
He however told WikkiTimes that some potholes on the road were filled up in 2020 by both FERMA and through communal efforts, but it couldn’t last long as the minor renovation work was washed away within a short time.
He called on the federal government to commence comprehensive rehabilitation work on the road to alleviate the suffering of commuters and motorists.
Potholes cost drivers, motorcyclists tyres
Malam Abdul, a driver who plies the Adamami-Madakeri road, said that they have been experiencing tyre bursts and worn-out of their vehicles because of the avalanche potholes and deteriorating state of the road.
He lamented that they often face challenges with the Federal Road Safety Corps, or FRSC officials over their vehicles’ windscreens, which, according to him, broke as a result of potholes on the road.
Ibrahim Madakiri, a motorcyclist, told WikkiTimes that the road is negatively affecting their businesses as potholes have damaged their motorcycles.
“We are facing challenges on this road as most times, we have to use a lane together with vehicles coming through the other side of the road. This most times causes accidents,” he said.
Mallam Yakubu Bonbiyo, a businessperson who plies Madakeri road, said that fear of uncertainties engulfs them as passengers each time they are on the road.
He decried how the road from Madakiri to Giade, which is about 15km, compelled commuters to wait for over ten minutes to allow others to exit the poor troughs.
The Village Head of Kiliyen Doya, Jauro Malam Muhammadu Sabo, stated that they are always frightened because of the proximity of their communities to the damaged portion of the road as cases of auto crashes along the axis are so frequent.
Community and individual service to the rescue
Alhaji Muhammadu Janwando, a driver, said because of the deteriorating condition of the Adamami-Madakeri road, some residents had taken up the task of filling the potholes with sand, especially at the critical failed section of the road around Bombiyo Border.
He recalled the day one of those individuals who voluntarily patched the potholes was knocked down by a bus driver who had lost control of his vehicle.
He added that these interventions however could not stand the test of time.
According to Alhaji Janwando, a few years before the road fell apart, they used to arrive at Yana from Giade (20 km) in 10 minutes, but now they spend about 30 minutes on the road.
One of the volunteers, who fills the holes with sand using his shovel and a container, is Ibrahim Babangida Yana. He told WikkiTimes that he resorts to this as a service to humanity considering the state of the road to minimise the hardship commuters face.
He added that this was done out of his desire to see the road become accident-free for all road users. However, his day-long service remains less impactful.
Complaining about the state of the road, Muhammad Jarmiya, a member of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), the Giade chapter, said their members risked their lives to transport passengers and goods on the road.
Jarmiya said that for a long period of time, the road has not been rehabilitated, stressing that from Giade to Abisa, about two kilometres, the only work done is some little patches for over 3 years.
No hope in sight
Lamara Hassan, the Chairman of the NURTW Shira LGA chapter said their hope dashed away as no sign of consideration was given to the road in spite of hardship and frequent loss of lives on it.
He said, “We have complained to various authorities to the best of our ability but I wondered why they have not responded.” He mulled blockages by people who do not mean well for their progress.
He added that some of their members now take longer routes bypassing the road.
He pointed out that neighbouring Jigawa and Kano states have benefited from frequent intervention from FERMA but theirs is neglected.
Mr Hassan appealed to relevant authorities to consider them and come to their aid in rehabilitating the Adamami-Madakeri road, adding that there are some culverts that are on the verge of collapsing due to rainfall.
WikkiTimes observed that three major culverts at Dorawar Zibi, Babbar Gada and Kwanar Maje part of the road are on the verge of not only collapsing but also cutting off the road entirely.
Ministry demands letter to minister
The Federal Ministry of Works and Housing when contacted for comment on the projects, directed this reporter to write formally to the office of the minister Babatunde Fashola.
Mrs Lere Adams, head of the media unit of the ministry in a phone conversation, said she could not respond to verbal inquiries but to written ones.
“I am in charge of publicity but we have to liaise with those in charge of construction to give us the information. And, as civil servants, our directives should be on record and on paper not verbally,” she said.
WikkiTimes submitted an FOI request dated 19th July 2022 to the office of the Controller, Ministry of Works and Housing (works), Bauchi State, Engineer SK Ahmed demanding an explanation on the state of the rehabilitation of the Yana-Shira-Azare road and Adamami-Madakeri roads but he declined, insisting that it is the prerogative duty of the office of the minister.
He, however, refused to forward the request to the minister as provided for in the Freedom of Information Act 2011 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Who am I to write to the minister? I cannot write to him, you should go to Abuja yourself,” he said.
WikkiTimes through the International Centre of Investigative Reporting, ICIR, on July 25 meanwhile submitted an FOI request letter to the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, demanding an explanation on the status of the projects, budgeted amount, total releases, bidding method and contract description.
The ICIR copied the Attorney General of the Federation in the letter.
This report was published with support from Civic Media Lab.