Gombi community in Adamawa State has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate an abandoned hospital project.

 

Unipopular Nigeria Limited, a company owned by Adamu Kamale, a friend of Governor Ahmadu Fintiri has allegedly abandoned the construction of a cottage hospital after being paid N180 million for the project.

Governor of Adamawa State, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri.

The community further expressed worry that Kamale, a former federal lawmaker, who was recently elected Deputy National Financial Secretary of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), may have been exploiting his ties with Fintiri to the detriment of the project.

 

The community, therefore, urged the EFCC to wade into the matter by calling the contractor back to site.

 

At a meeting convened by Public/Private Development Commission (PPDC), community leaders questioned the delay in the construction of the project even after N180 million had allegedly been paid.

"Nothing is going on there now. Work has stopped on that project. We wonder why contractors would vacate the site when so much is left undone," Ellon Phillips, one of the stakeholders in the community, said.

Gari Gideon, a youth leader who spoke for his organisation, Gombi for Change, described the quality of work done so far on the cottage hospital as questionable.

Gari, an engineer, said, "The structure that has been put up so far is leaking and the time to remedy it is this raining season when leaking points could be detected and corrected."

 

Also venting her frustration to SaharaReporters during a visit to the site, an activist, Ladi Garba, said, "The EFCC needs to monitor this project. They should summon the contractor to return to the site.”

Meanwhile, a project tracking expert of Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC), Ikur Hyellandendu, said, "Work had stopped on the Gombi Cottage Hospital after N180 million had allegedly been paid out of the N200 million contract sum to Unipopular Nigeria Limited.

 

"Nothing is going on there now. No contractor on the site and no work is being done. Members of the host community are saying that the project has been abandoned.”

 

Hyellandendu mentioned other projects in the state, including projects in Maiha and Numan local government areas where contract implementations appear to have stopped with affected projects still at varying stages of completion. 

 

For Numan, Hyellandendu cited four projects at the Numan General Hospital: a laboratory, a children's ward, a female surgical ward and a mortuary for which contract sums totalling over N200 million had allegedly been paid but on which construction has stopped.

 

State government officials have denied the observation of the PPDC that the affected projects had been abandoned. They said the organisation failed to obtain sufficient facts about the said projects from the right quarters.

 

Deputy Director in charge of Hospital Services & Training in the state ministry of health, Zibta Kwada dismissed the allegations, particularly regarding Gombi Cottage Hospital.

 

Kwada said, "Construction of the hospital started only in April this year, it is a new project still being implemented and could not by any present circumstance be called abandoned project."

 

The Procurement Officer in the health ministry, Attahiru Tahir who shed more light on the project, said, "Work on the Gombi hospital is right now on pause because the contractors and the ministry were sorting out a contract variation issue but the sorting out process has gone far."

 

Reacting to the allegations, Kamale faulted PPDC for "unprofessionally designating the project as abandoned”.

 

"They didn't enquire from us, they didn't go to our client either, how did they come about this type of conclusion.

 

"And to put the records straight, I've not been paid a dime, I'm 80 percent into the project on my own.

 

"Again, they don't even know the contract start date, let alone its completion date.

 

"By the way, the reason why we're not on site has to do with a court order pasted on the wall at the site," he said.

 

SaharaReporters, however, verified that an interlocutory order retraining further trespass on the site was obtained on Thursday, October 21, 2021, months after work had stopped on the project.

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