Contractors with Subpar Performance Secure Additional Multi-Billion FG Projects; Experts Call for Improved Accountability Framework
Full audio file of second episode (live)
This report is the concluding part of the Special Investigative Journalism series titled: “Multi-Million Naira Fraud: How Funds Allocated for Federal Government’s Flood Control Projects Disappear in Ogun State.”
In the first part of this investigation, Rockcity 101.9 F.M in collaboration with BudgIT exposed how some contractors under-utilized funds allocated to them by the federal government to execute its flood control projects in some part of Ogun state.
The report tracked N275 million worth of flood and erosion control projects in some parts of the state. It was discovered that the contractors executed the projects to the tune of N18 million out of the N275 million contract sum received.
This concluding part of this report investigated how this multi-million flood project was executed at Eemado Tuntun in Ayetoro, Yewa North Local Government Area of Ogun state.
It also highlighted self-help efforts of communities in tackling challenge of flooding in the state, unmasks the individuals behind companies receiving federal government flood funds and ask experts how to promote accountability and transparency.
Contractors received millions of Naira, refuse to execute flood project
Between 2019 and 2023, federal government paid N255 million to contractors for flood control projects in the Ogun West senatorial district.
Out of this amount, Samagreen Nigeria Limited on 27th March 2022 received N16.4 million from the federal ministry of environment for flood and erosion control work at Eemado Tuntun in Ayetoro.
The tracking of the N16.4 million flood project took Rockcity F.M reporter to the community to confirm whether the project was executed or not.
As the reporter navigated the areas mostly affected by flooding at Eemado Tuntun, it started raining, showing the extent of damage flooding has caused to the community.
Residents of Eemado Tuntun have taken matters into their own hands, initiating local projects like constructing drainages, filling potholes, and fixing damaged drainage systems. Still, their efforts only scratch the surface of the issue.
For this reason, residents of Eemado Tutun at Ayetoro in Yewa North Local Government Area of Ogun State have called on the contractor to construct flooding and erosion control work in their community.
One of the community leaders, 63-year-old Alhaji Nurain Olaleye who is a retired head teacher told Rockcity F.M that no contractor has shown up for any flood control project in the community:
“Several efforts have been made to correct this erosion, but it is beyond people in the community. No vehicle can negotiate this road…. We are in the heart of Eemado Tuntun and the rain has stopped over an hour now; the erosion is still coming, and it will last the next two, or three hours before it will finally stop.
“We have not felt the impact of the government nor that of the contractor. We didn’t see any traces of the contractor coming down to any part of Eemado Tuntun, as you have been coming since all the way from the major road down to the Interland here, no trace of the contractor.
The retiree called on the Federal Ministry of Environment to compel Samagreen Nigeria Limited to come to Eemado Tuntun to execute the erosion and flood project.
“The State government has abandoned us, so we implore the federal government to please and please come to our aid. We implore the government to please monitor and push the contractor to come forward and implement the project. We want the monitoring and evaluation department of the Federal Ministry of Environment to please come to our aid so that the money released..the N16.4 million you said was released to Samagreen Nigeria Limited could be fruitful”, Olaleye pleaded.
Incidentally, Rockcity FM’s finding also has it that the homestead of the Minister of Environment and Ecological Management, Dr Ishaq Salako, is located in the same Ayetoro in Yewa North Local Government Area of Ogun State, where the project was supposed to be located. This makes the project’s non-execution even more puzzling.
Dr Salako has not been appointed as a Minister when the contract was awarded and payment made to the contractor.
Community members speak with a mixture of frustration and hope about the flooding and erosion challenges confronting them in the community.
One of them, Durosimi Dayo Joshua, implore the government and the contractor to act swiftly.
“When it rains in this community, it is difficult for pedestrians, motorcycle riders and car owners to navigate this road. This road is in a deplorable state; we appeal for government intervention. We are helpless, and we rely on the government for the mitigate this type of challenge. “We appeal to the contractor to, as a matter of urgency, come to the site to carry out the project. If they fail, it will adversely affect people in the community. We appeal to them to do the needful”, said Joshua.
Other community members, including Monday Idowu, Kazeem Tijani, and Aremu Lawrence, highlighted the need for urgent government support.
Lawrence narrated steps taken to address the challenge:
“Since I have been here, at least I have spent 12 years in this area. I have never seen any machine or equipment to do any form of work, including road construction.
“We do go to the local government that if they could grade some areas, we should also benefit from this. Our community should also benefit. Last year, when I was there, we were asked to pay N40,000 to help us grade our road in this community, but before the high cost of diesel, our contribution to the community was not up to that amount, and the grading was not done.”
“This is our house. During the rainy season, we are always sad as if we don’t have a government, but I am happy that the government has released money for erosion and flooding projects.
“We will appeal to the government to monitor and ensure the realisation of the project as early as possible…if they need the support of the community members, we are eager and ready to support all the youth in this community…. We will support and assist, and we are committed to this.
A 55-year-old bricklayer in the community, Zakariyau Salami, also highlighted self-funded initiatives that temporarily ameliorate the suffering of members of the community:
As a person, I have tried a lot in this community in terms of self-finance projects. I single-handedly, with the support of God, did palliative work on this road or else it would not be passable at all. I filled up the potholes on the road with rubbles and broken blocks.
“We will not be happy for the person who received money and did not do our job because what we experience during the rainy season is not easy. The government has not done anything to this community at all. They graded our road in this community as far back as 2015/2016. The government carried out no erosion work in this community. This drainage, you are seeing, I was the one who single-handedly did it.
All efforts to track the contractor to account for the project failed to yield positive result.
Also, Rockcity FM through BudgIT is still awaiting feedback from the Freedom of Information Request forwarded to the federal ministry of environment in Abuja.
In some communities in Ogun state, members actively work to prevent flooding, but they appeal to the government for the expansion of the flood control project to other areas for a permanent solution.
In Ijaye area of Abeokuta, the community leaders employed the services of workers to desilt the Gbanga cannal as a way of preventing flooding that has ravaged Ijaye communities and its environs leading to loss of lives and property and displacing thousands of people in past years.
The Iyalaje of Gbangba market in Ijaye, Mrs Kudirat Ninuola Ayanwale put this in perspective:
“The river there is called Odo Gbangba; it has spiritual healing power; the flow of this river comes from Olorunsogo. We have been here since 1984. Initially, we were not affected by the river, but suddenly, in 2017, we started experiencing a heavy flood that ravaged the entire Abeokuta, but now, we thank God. And thank the federal government for the intervention after the 2017 massive flooding.
“….review and expand the work to other areas of Abeokuta where this water passes through places such Ijeun Tuntun, Amolaso, Oke-Sokori so that we will have a permanent solution to this problem.
Also, Alhaji Monsuru Makanjuola, who is the head of butcher at Odo Eran in Ijaye has this to say:
“We appreciate the government for constructing and dredging of the canal, but despite this, we still need the help of the government because, during the rainy season, it still affects us…
“The construction and dredging of the canal really assisted because if it rains, we will not be able to do our business the next day because it disturbs us, but there was remarkable improvement after the construction of this canal…The canal was completed in 2020. We ensure that people do not dump refuse into the canal and allow people to destroy the intervention of the government in this community.
The members of these communities equally called on the federal government to properly integrate accountability and transparency in the implementation of flood-related projects in Ogun State to ensure that they adequately benefit from the government’s interventions in combating flood disasters in their community.
Govt disbursed N6 million for consultancy service to mitigate climate change effect in Abeokuta
On related non-physical projects in Abeokuta, the data on the GovSpend platform also has it that the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing is developing a Sustainable plan to mitigate climate effect in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital with over N6 million released to Molaj Consults on 5th April 2023 to provide consultancy services for the preparation of the plan.
There is ambiguous description of budgetary allocation for the N6 million paid by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing to Molaj Consults on 5th April 2023 to provide consultancy services for the development of a Sustainable plan to mitigate climate effect in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
The Federal Ministry of Works and Housing which awarded the contract has two budget allocations in the 2023 budget that could be linked to the contract: they are: An ongoing project titled “Climate Change and Maintenance” with budgetary allocation of N6 million as well as another ongoing project titled “Preparation of Urban Resilience and Sustainability Plans to Mitigate Climate Change Effect in Kano (Kano State) & Akure (Ondo State) with budgetary allocation of N70 million.
Over six months after receiving the contract money, the associate partner of Molaj Consults, Mr Haruna Jimoh who confirmed being awarded the contract told Rockcity FM that they “are still on the field” and yet to complete the consultancy services.
“Generally, the project is supposed to produce four reports. Out of the four reports, the first one was the one submitted…we went to the site in August and the report was submitted around October (2022).
“We didn’t hear from the government until around April that the fees were paid. So, it was when the fund was paid that we went back to mobilize to site for real site investigation. What we did initially was a preliminary investigation.
The associate partner of Molaj Consults explained that the contract was awarded in 2021 and his company did an introductory meeting on 20th August 2022 with stakeholders such as traditional rulers, famers and selected residents of Abeokuta.
He added that after being mobilized on 5th April 2023, they went to the site and did a survey of Abeokuta, and prepared a report submitted to the federal ministry of works and housing.
“But what we are doing presently is the real investigation to know what exactly is causing the flood and the rest of it and to know what mitigation measures to make flood resilience in Ogun State. That is the state we are presently in.
“The project is supposed to be completed in nine months or thereabout … .and when you are given the job of nine months and you are not mobilize not after one year, you know what will happen.
“Having been mobilized, we will continue to do the work and once we submit that investigation report, they are going to pay us another percentage of the fee. Having given us that one, they might ask us to go and complete the whole work, they are going to pay us our fees. The entire project is about N20 million… we will continue on the project.”, Haruna Jimoh concluded.
The journey doesn’t end here. Rockcity F.M move on to the complex web of companies awarded federal government contracts for flood-related projects in Ogun State.
Unmasking persons behind companies who received FG flood fund with questionable execution
Through the adoption of Open-Source Investigation Techniques, further scrutiny by Rockcity FM unmasks the individuals behind companies receiving federal government flood funds.
Our investigation exposes a pattern of inactive firms with unsatisfactory work that still secure multi-billion-naira contracts.
Though all the companies were registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), they are either inactive or deregistered by the Commission as of 10th October 2023.
Available evidence did not show adequate compliance with the Public Procurement Act in awarding contracts to the identified companies.
As of December 2020, most of the companies also have three staff each who are listed to have been enjoying contributory pension schemes according to the data of the National Pension Commission (PENCOM).
Same family members owned companies that received FG flood contracts
For Samagreen Nigeria Limited, the company that received N16.4 million without traces of the erosion project in Eemado Tuntun in Ayetoro, the names of the directors submitted to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) include Shalom Michael, Salome Michael and Michael Olorundami.
Akocen Works Ventures Limited has four directors who include Samuel Tayo Odulaja, Olorunfunmi Odulaja, Babaw Ande Odulaja and Adewale Sanyaolu.
Also, Olabode Muyiwa, Olabode Oladele and Odunlami Rotimi are the directors of Dagolex Merchants Limited, who received over N69 million for the construction of erosion and flood works at Odo Eran, Gbonogun in Abeokuta.
The Directors of Advocacy Visionari Limited who received over N123 million for Ijeja through Ogbe-Totoro flood control project include: Timothy Avong, Libabatu T. Avong, Dogora S. Elisha and Libabatu Libabatu Avong.
Rasolak Services Nigeria Limited received the sum of N51 million from Federal Ministry of Environment to execute the same job given to another contractor who was paid N123 million for the erosion control.
The directors of the company include: AbdulRasaq Olusola Olakangudu, Khadijat Moji Olakangudu, Yinusa Niyi Olakangudu, Sikiru Dayo Olakangudu, and Lukman Segun Olakangudu.
Molaj Consults is another company who received over N6 million from the Federal Ministry of Works to develop a Sustainable plan to mitigate climate effect in Abeokuta. The directors of the company include Oyebade Bashirat Omolola and Yinka Isaac Adefisan.
The project is still been executed pending the release of the balance of N20 million for the project.
Meanwhile, Dr Moses Bunmi Ajayi, the former President Nigerian Institute of Town Planning (NITP), is one of the public faces of the company who has been identified as the principal partner of Molaj Consults.
Companies are regular contractors of Federal Govt., receives multi-billion-naira contracts
Findings by Rockcity FM indicated that all the identified companies, except for Molaj Consults, have been receiving contracts from the federal government to execute different projects across Nigeria.
The identified companies, including Degolex Merchants Limited, Akocen Works Ventures Limited, Advocacy Visionari Limited, Rasolak Services Nigeria Limited, and Samagreen Nigeria Limited have collectively received billions in federal contracts.
Degolex Merchants Limited received over N1 billion worth of contracts from the federal government to execute projects between September 2018 and December 2022, in some parts of the country.
Also, Akocen Works Ventures Limited had received over N114 million worth of contracts from only the Ogun/Oshun River Basin Development Authority between April 2019 and December 2022. It was discovered that the company received all ten contracts awarded to it by the federal government from only the agency.
For Samagreen Nigeria Limited, between 2019 and 2022, over N315 million was received as contract sum for federal government projects in some part Nigeria.
Advocacy Visionari Limited also received N123 million from the federal government as a contract sum between 2019 and 2022. The company received this amount for ten different projects within this period.
Rasolak Services Nigeria Limited received a total contract sum worth N328 million in 19 tranches between 2018 and 2023 from the different federal government agencies.
The only contract awarded to Molaj Consults was consultancy services for preparing an urban resilience & sustainability plan to mitigate climate change effects in Abeokuta, Ogun state. The Ministry of Works and Housing awarded the contract.
Experts call for a general overhaul of procurement process, enhanced accountability framework
Following the investigations by Rockcity F.M and BudgIT on the fraudulent funding of federal government flood projects in Ogun State, experts have advocated a general overhaul of the procurement process and enhanced accountability and transparency framework.
Estate Surveyor and Valuer Tairu Olarenwaju emphasized the need for direct engagement of Built Environment Professionals and third-party certification to ensure transparency.
Also, Ogun State Commissioner for Environment, Engineer Ola Oresanya, while appearing on a Rockcity FM programme, “Citizens Forum” to speak on the perennial flooding in Ogun state asked the federal government to collaborate with the state governments in its decision to execute flood projects in any part of the country.
“It is an integral component of the social contract government have with the people, to preserve lives. So, if you don’t manage flood very well, you will be failing in actually your social contract with the people. Because when people die for no reason, for the negligence of the authority, then, it shows a minus for that kind of authority. But I think Ogun State is not slacking…
“We have this collaboration even at the federal level, the management of Oyan dam is under the federal ministry of water resources. We have a lot of collaboration and in the last few years, what we’ve been doing with them is that we visited Oyan dam, to see the rate at which they release this water and then we changed the pattern. What they now do is that they release the water early enough during the initial flash flooding early part of the year.
“Why we are saying we need support from the federal government is that when you look at Ogun State and Lagos state. Ogun state is downstream, there is no channels for water coming from the North, that want to enter the lagoon. If Ogun state would not create that pathway, there would be problem up North. So, flood issue is a trans-boundary issue. It is not a localized issue…. It is national issue. So, the national government needs to review holistically how to manage the channels, so, it is not a one man show.
If Ogun state is doing so much and the federal government is not complementing it, all the efforts would be in futility. All the water coming from Kano, Kaduna, Sokoto is entering here is passing here before it would deposit in lagoon through Lagos state. And if we are not doing what we supposed to do, Lagos will not breath. If we don’t do what we supposed to do in Ogun state when it comes to flooding, Lagos will be in trouble. It is a transboundary issue that is why there must be a complementary effort and support from the national government.
When asked concerning the monitoring of federal government multi-million-naira expenditure on flooding in Ogun state, Oresasnya responded:
“At the national level, there is something called constituency projects, which many of our lawmakers have been sponsoring just to alleviate the problem within their constituencies. Yes, some of them have been relating with us in the Ministry, to at least inform us to see the quality of what they are doing and also to integrate into our own plans.
“Because you run a risk of double payment. May be the state government is already planning that project, and you already have it been adopted as a constituency project. And may be someone at the federal might do the project and collect the money and somebody at the State might say I do the project and collect the money. So, there must be managing the overlaps. So that at least in our budget, if you know that look I am picking one, two, three projects in our own budget for constituency projects, we will know this is out of place. And constituency projects run in silo but they are integral component of the wealth…It must be integrated and I think this is where we need this synergy and effective collaboration.
Similarly, the Special Adviser to Governor Dapo Abiodun on Public Works, Engineer Babatunde Adesina at another occasion on the radio programme said the past misunderstanding between Ogun State and Federal Governments is partly responsible in the overlapping and delay in projects execution in the State.
The associate partner of Molaj Consults, Haruna Jimoh wants the government to make the mobilization fee more effective to prevent challenges with abandoned projects.
The associate partner of Molaj Consults, Haruna Jimoh also shared experience on the challenge of flooding in Ogun State and how it could be resolved:
“Unfortunately, our office is even within the catchment of the flooded area in OPIC Iseri. The whole of Iseri flooded and some people couldn’t even go into the offices. People have been sacked for the past one week now and some have moved away from those areas.
“Now the whole thing is devastating and a lot has to be done to curb the flooding in that area…At least the first thing to do is to clear the channel for the water to go free and where it is going.
Civic organizations such as BudgIT have developed technology solutions to promote transparency and accountability in government expenditure.
Aside from the GovSpend portal, which serves as the foundation and backbone of this investigation piece, it also developed Tracka to monitor the implementation of constituency projects and actively involved the citizens in the execution of projects.
According to the review of Tracka’s 2022 and 2023 FG Projects Tracking Exercise and impact report, BudgIT changed the lives of 1.2 million Nigerians by supporting 184 communities across 22 states to directly contribute to completing 126 social projects across 15 states.
This includes 22 road projects, 21 primary health centres, 8 hospitals, 26 primary schools, 11 secondary schools, 3 dam projects, 30 boreholes, and 5 skill acquisition centres.
The Ogun State Officer of BudgIT and Tracka, Michael Daramola, commended the Rockcity F.M team for the efforts put into this investigation and the collaboration with communities across the state to uncover the level of corruption perpetuating the execution of federal government projects in the state.
Michael expressed concerns that the citizens are experiencing hardship as a result of non-execution, incomplete, and abandonment of projects plaguing the state.
He added that this informed the resolve of BudgIT through its Tracka project to collaborate with citizens and communities at the grassroots for civic engagement and participation.
The Ogun State officer of BudgIT called on the government to activate the social contract over these communities to avoid people being displaced, losing lives and property.
To curb the challenges of non-execution of government projects and diversion of contract funds, Michael called on the government to enhance the integration of communities and active involvements of citizens in the execution of its projects in Nigeria.
This Special Investigative Journalism Series has uncovered a web of corruption, incomplete projects, and communities struggling with flooding across Ogun State. It highlights the urgent need for transparency, accountability, and community involvement in government projects.
The stories from Abeokuta to Ayetoro in Ogun state, demonstrate the importance of proper project execution and the need for funds to match the results. It is a call for change and a plea for better governance.