Outrage over N62.8bn Zamfara airport contract

From Okwe Obi, Abuja

The re-awarding of the construction of the Gusau International Airport by the Zamfara State Government for N62.8 billion has elicited condemnation.
Governor Dauda Lawal, alongside Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, laid the foundation for the project.
But, the Executive Director of Patriot for Advancement of Peace and Social Development, Sani Abdullahi Shinkafi, argued that the money was way above the N11.5 billion the former governor, Bello Matawalle, voted for the same project.
Shinkafi, in a statement yesterday, questioned why Governor Lawal did not continue with the same project previous administrations started, and why the rush since the matter was still in court, if he had no ulterior motives.
“Aware that the matter was in court, Governor Lawal brazenly re-awarded the airport project to a staggering N62.8 billion, about 600 percent increase compared to the N11.5 billion awarded to AVIC International Engineering Limited by the Matawalle’s administration.
“Since governance is a continuum, the people of Zamfara State expected Dauda Lawal to continue with the airport project as his predecessors did from 2008 to 2023, and invite the Minister of Aviation or another national leader to commission it, instead of wasting taxpayers’ money on a jamboree called re-flag off construction of Gusau International Cargo Airport.
“The funds he wasted on this ill-conceived jamboree should have been redirected for the maintenance and rehabilitation of the Gusau Water Board and others.
“It is absurd, inconceivable and preposterous that an ongoing project would be revoked and re-awarded for a whopping N62.8 billion, thus making it one of the most expensive airports in Nigeria, compared with the Ogun State Cargo International Airport at N40 billion, Lafia Airport, Nasarawa State, at N40 billion (uncompleted), Wachakal Airport, Damaturu, Yobe State, at N18 billion, and Dutse International Airport, Jigawa, at N20 billion, among others.
“Indeed, Zamfara State is in dire need of a visionary, purposeful, resourceful and people-oriented leader, whose government will formulate policies and execute projects that will touch the lives of the long-suffering citizens in tandem with President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope agenda, not a grandstanding, propagandist and squandermania as obtainable in the state today.
“The good people of Zamfara State now long for the old good days of Governor Bello Matawalle’s administration (2019 to 2023).”
Also, he contended that the governor was economical with the truth when he alleged that Matawalle earmarked N13.3 billion for the construction of the airport terminal building and expended N6.3 billion and nothing to show for it during the recent re-flag off construction of the airport project.

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