Kaduna State Threatens To Publish Names Of Non Performing Contractors

YeroThe Kaduna State government has threatened to publish the names of contractors who collected money from the state government and abandoned the projects.

The government also said it would revoke any road contract that had failed to meet government’s expectations on quality delivery.

Governor Mukhtar Yero issued the threat through his spokesman, Ahmed Maiyaki, during an interaction with journalists on Tuesday.

The governor disclosed that  most of the abandoned road projects were awarded in 2012 by his predecessor, Late Patrick Yakowa, who died in a helicopter crash in December that year.

With the death of Yakowa, Governor Yero alleged that some of the contractors who were already mobilised with 25 per cent of the contract sum, abandoned the site with the intention of working away with taxpayers’ money.

He stated that some of the road contracts had been revoked by the government and re-awarded to competent contractors who have been given specific period to complete them.

Governor Yero further assured the indigenes of the state that the government would use all legal means to recover the money from the non performing contractors.

The governor urged the contractors, handling road projects in different parts of the state to increase their pace for greater impact before the next rainy season. He also expressed his commitment towards the rehabilitation of roads in the state, emphasising that he has not abandoned any road contract awarded by his predecessors.

Senator Queries Use Of Military Training Aircraft By Politicians

A Senator, Olubunmi Adetumbi (ACN Ekiti) on Tuesday condemned the use of a military training helicopter by civilians during the burial of the father of a presidential adviser, Oronto Douglas.

Speaking during a debate on the urgent need to investigate the recent helicopter crash in Bayelsa, Senator Adetumbi said the death of the former Kaduna State Governor, Patrick Yakowa, former National Security Adviser Andrew Azazi and others was as a result of the failure of the system to address the issue of corruption.

According to him, the crashed helicopter is called a military training helicopter, but it is obviously not being used for military training on that day.

He said that pertinent questions, such as who authorised the use of the helicopter for civilian purposes must be asked and answers given.
“Who gave the order for the chopper to be used? What is the purpose of private charter helicopter? Why was a private chopper not hired? Is it what the Navy appropriation is being used for?” Senator Adetumbi asked.

He called on the National Assembly to do more than paying tribute to the deceased and observing one minute silence in their honour, but to take action to forestall future occurrences.

Other lawmakers who contributed to the debate condemned what they described as the resurgence of air mishaps in the country calling on the government to publish all previous reports of investigative panels into air crashes in the Nigeria.

Chris Anyanwu (APGA – Imo) said that in 2007 and 2011, there had been two crashes of similar Augusta helicopters owned by the navy. She expressed concerns over the seeming recurrence of air mishaps not just in civil aviation, but also in the Nigerian Military in spite of public outcry.

“Between March and October 2011, there were three reported cases of air mishaps by the Air force at different locations in the country and the causes of these crashes remain unknown. On March 21, 2011, one F7-NI fighter jet belonging to the Nigerian Air Force that was on a routine training programme crashed in Kano, killing the flight instructor.

“The fighter jet, which was reported to have come from Makurdi for a two week training exercise was delivered to the Air force by the manufacturers in China only a few days before the incident,” she said.

According to her, it is worrisome that the resurgence of air mishaps in the country is suggestive of a deep seated systems problem which must be unearthed and resolved.

Contributing to the debate, Heineken Lokpobiri (PDP-Bayelsa) urged the committee to ensure that its investigation was devoid of bias and should not be politicised.

“We should use this crash to stop others from occurring because this has become embarrassing, so the committee’s investigation must be total,’’ he said.

Danjuma Goje (PDP-Gombe) also advised the committee to make the investigation open and transparent. Goje said he was in support of the position of the Governors Forum that foreign experts should be involved in the investigation.

Ganiyu Solomon (ACN Lagos) also said that there had been several crashes and investigations followed, but the reports had never seen the light of the day.

He was of the view that the Senate committees on Navy, Air force and Aviation mandated to investigate the frequency of these mishaps should go as far as visiting the manufacturers of these planes to ascertain their air worthiness.

He expressed concerns that if military planes were crashing frequently, it was an indication that the military was not prepared for military action should the need arise.

The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary said that more than 50,000 Nigerians had died in the last two years since the ugly trend of terrorism reared its head.

He however, called on the regulatory agencies in the aviation sector to ensure the airworthiness of every plane that took off and landed in the country.

The deputy senate president also noted the need for the Senate to buckle up and tackle the problem once and for all.

The Senate set up two committees to pay condolence visits to all the victims of the air crash and observed a minute silence in their honour.

Yakowa To Be Buried On Thursday

The newly sworn-in Governor of Kaduna State, Mukhtar Yero on Sunday said the remains of late governor of the state, Patrick Yakowa would be buried on Thursday.

The late governor of Kaduna State, Patrick Yakowa

Mr Yero disclosed this in an interview with newsmen at the Government House shortly after a broadcast to the people of the state.

In the broadcast, the governor declared Monday, Dec. 17 as work free day and a seven day mourning period in honour of the deceased, beginning from Sunday.

He said the remains of the late governor and the other victim, Dauda Tsoho would be received in Kaduna on Monday.

“Details of necessary arrangements for their internment would be made known in due course.

“During the period of mourning, all national flags in the state should be flown at half mast,’’ he said.

He directed all the 23 local government chairmen in the state to open condolence registers at their various offices, adding that two have been opened at the Government House and the Hassan Usman Katsina House.

Mr. Yero described the late governor as a humble, dedicated and fair person, who always related well with people, irrespective of religious, tribal or sectional inclinations.

Yakowa’s last assignment as governor

The last official assignment of the former governor of Kaduna State, Patrick Yakowa was at the burial ceremony of a presidential adviser, Oronto Douglas in Bayelsa.

“I am happy that I came,” the Late Yakowa had told Mr Douglas after paying tributes to and sympathising with the family of Pa Tamunobibara Douglas.

After greeting their host, both Yakowa and former National Security Adviser, General Andrew Azazi took a walk away from the crowd to where the ill-fated Helicopter was stationed, ready to travel back to Port Harcourt. Little did both men know that in few hours Nigerians will be sympathising and condoling with their families as well.

Bayelsa Air Mishap: First Lady Postpones Thanksgiving Event

The praise and thanksgiving event of the first lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, earlier scheduled for tomorrow Sunday, the 16th of December, 2012, has been postponed indefinitely.

A statement signed by the special assistant (media) to the first lady, Mr. Ayo Osinlu, maintains that the postponement is compelled by the unfortunate helicopter crash in Bayelsa state today.

In its reaction, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) has expressed shock and grief at the news of the helicopter crash, saying that the party is shocked beyond imagination and no words can adequately give expression to the depth of its grief over the incident.

Reports from our state correspondent stated that the crash which had on board six passengers including the governor of Kaduna state, Patrick Yakowa, and the former National Security Adviser, Andrew Azazi, Azazi’s aide, a top politician from Kaduna state, the pilot and his co-pilot occurred in a swampy location near Okoroba community in Nembe local government area of the state.

It was also gathered that the chopper was headed to Port Harcourt after attending the burial ceremony of the father of President Jonathan’s aide, Mr. Oronto Douglas.

A statement by the Nigerian navy has confirmed the incident and the chopper that crashed giving its name as the Augusta helicopter (Helo 07). The crash occurred at about 3.30 pm today.