There appears to be no end to the accusation and criticisms of fraud against the government of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan by the present administration as the Presidency, yesterday, lashed out at it, saying it awarded deceitful and ghost projects that were not funded.
The Presidency, however, said the government of President Muhammadu Buhari was speeding up ongoing projects and investing heavily in the construction and repairs of highways, railways and power generating plants across the country.
It said that N750 billion had been released for capital projects in the last five months and that counterpart funds for the take-off of the $11 billion Kano-Lagos rail project had been paid. The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, made the revelation in an interview program on Express Radio in Kano on Tuesday.
He said the administration had chosen to fast track projects related to infrastructure in order to pump money into the economy as a way of pulling the economy out of recession. He said a number of projects existing on paper are now being activated, citing the Kano-Katsina dual road project as an example of what he called “deceitful and ghost projects now being given life.” He said: “Kano-Katsina dual highway was awarded three years ago by the last administration.
‘’They didn’t pay a kobo for its start-up. President Buhari just paid money for the first tranche of 75 kilometers and work has begun apace.” Garba explained that infrastructure was key in the country’s economic and industrial take-off, saying, “without infrastructure, the country will not witness growth.
” On the resurgence of militancy and pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta, the presidential spokesman appealed to militants to maintain peace in the region as the President sought a permanent solution to the problems that were worrisome to every citizen. “We must keep national interest above all else and give priority to eschewing violence and destruction,” he stated.
He, however, expressed regret that despite its good faith in pursuing dialogue with Niger Delta stakeholders, the militant groups had not reciprocated government’s gesture in finding peaceful and lasting solution to the crisis in the oil producing areas of Nigeria.
“Despite the government’s practical demonstration of goodwill by bringing the parties or stakeholders to the round table, the militant groups have continued to blow up national economic assets,” he said.
Shehu further submitted that continued destruction of oil installations, including those repaired, had caused a serious setback to the economic agenda of the government, causing enormous hardships on innocent Nigerians on account of declining oil production output and massive losses of revenues.
He said the unfortunate development would in turn affect the ability of governments at all levels to meet their basic obligations, including payment of salaries.