Thursday, 10 July 2014

Reps To Probe Failed $470million CCTV Projects

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal
The House of Representatives on Wednesday ordered an investigation into the alleged failure of the Video Surveillance and Closed Circuit Television projects of the Federal Government.

The contract for the projects, known as Public Security Communications System, was awarded in the “early part” of the administration of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua in the initial sum of $470m under a finance agreement between the government and the China Export Bank.

The contract was awarded to ZTE Nigeria Limited.

In a resolution in Abuja, the House observed that though the projects had been completed and handed over to the government since 2012, “no criminal activity has ever been detected through the security cameras.”

The CCTV can produce images or recordings for surveillance purposes, and can be either video, digital or still recording.

In most modern cities, the cameras are deployed in strategic locations to detect crimes and criminalactivities.

The resolution followed a motion moved by a member from Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Saviour Friday-Udoh, who complained that the purpose of installing the CCTV had been defeated if they failed in detecting crime.

He informed the House that the CCTV system was installed in major cities, including Abuja and Lagos.

He recalled that there were other contracts to install 2,000 digital solar-powered cameras, 1,000 each in Abuja and Lagos.

Friday-Udoh said the contracts also included the installation of 37 switch rooms; MW backbones; 37 Coalition Emergency Response System; 38 Video Conference Subsystem; 37 E-Police System; six Emergency Communication Vehicles; and 1.5 million subscriber lines.

The lawmaker noted that after spending such a huge amount in a bid to contain the wave of insecurity in the country, the cameras had remained useless almost two years into the completion of the projects.

His prayer, which the House unanimously endorsed, read, “Mandate the Committees on ICT, Public Safety and National Security to investigate the failure of the Video Surveillance and Close Circuit Television to detect criminal activities in Nigeria’s cities and report back to the House within two weeks.”

The House also passed another motion bearing on security at the nation’s airports.

The motion sought to investigate the “pilfering of luggage” at the airports, particularly the international airports.

A member from Benue State, Mr. Hassan Saleh, who moved the motion, told the House that there had been many reported cases lately.

“This is causing serious embarrassment to us as a country.

“Passengers often have their luggage tampered with at the airports and nothing is being done about it,” he added.

The session, which was presided over by the Speaker, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal, passed the motion in a majority voice vote and referred it to the Committee on Aviation for investigation.”

Meanwhile, the upper federal legislative chamber, the Senate, has passed for second reading a bill which seeks to amend the Oil and Gas Export Free Zone Authority Act for greater effectiveness and efficiency.

The bill, which was subsequently referred to the committee on Trade and Establishment for further legislative work, was sponsored by Senator Odion Ugbesia.

Ugbesia noted that free zones all over the world had been instrumental in boosting industrial and economic growth.

He said it was in recognition of this that made the Federal Government established the Onne Oil and Gas free zones.

He said the zones had all along been providing greater level of foreign direct investment, technology transfer, manpower development, provision of employment opportunities and greater economic self- reliance.

He said, “Our Free Trade Zones are far from achieving the purpose for which they were established and there are serious doubts as to whether Nigeria has indeed benefitted from the Onne Oil and Gas free zone beyond the benefit accruable to an industrial area, which is the result of weak regulatory framework guiding the operations of free zones in Nigeria.”

He further explained that the most attractive feature of a free zone anywhere in the world had been the tax holiday which investors enjoyed as incentive and encouragement for investment and that the amendment provided same.

The Senate also on Wednesday approved the establishment of a College of Education for the Federal Capital Territory.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Education, Senator Uche Chukwumerije, while reading the lead debate said it was a conference committee bill of both chambers of the National Assembly.

The bill says the Minister of FCT will be the visitor to the college, and the minister will conduct visitation every five years, while the Governing Council will submit financial reports every year.

The Senator representing the FCT, Senator Philip Aduda, commended the conference committee of both chambers for a job well done.

He said the school had been there but was without an enabling law to make it function effectively as a legal higher institution.

Senate President, David Mark, congratulated the FCT residents for the establishment of the institution.