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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Bypassing PPA Act, Other Illegalities that Cost Kano Over N12 Million Constituency Projects

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In 2019 constituency projects, the Kano State Ministry of Works, Housing, and Transport disbursed N12 million to execute projects in Ajingi, Rogo, and Doguwa Local Government Areas (LGAs).
The construction of polio shade at Doguwa General Hospital awarded in Doguwa LGA was awarded to A.U.C. General Entrps at a cost of N4,970,682.90.
The provision of prescription cards in Rogo Primary Health Center (PHC) in Rogo LGA was awarded to Transmark Nig. Ltd. at a sum of  N2,000,000.00 million
The supply of an ambulance to Ajingi General Hospital in Ajingi LGA was awarded to Danyarimawa Synergy Global at a sum of N6,007,500.00.
In this investigation, Salihu Rasheeda Ozavize revealed how the Kano Ministry of Works violated PPA acts by awarding a contract to a lawmaker and also to unregistered companies.
Amina Ibrahim, 38, is the wife of Ibrahim Ahmad, a farmer and resident of Dundun community, Ajingi LGA, Kano State. Ahmed had to bury his first wife, Ummi Ibrahim due to a non-functional ambulance in their community during her childbirth.
Mr. Ahmad’s first wife, Umami, was 27 years old before she died in 2019 during delivery. She carried the baby for nine months but died on her way to give birth at Ajingi General Hospital.
Before she passed away, Mr. Ahmad said the stress of accessing antenatal care was overwhelming, as she had to trek or ride on a motorcycle for long a distance to the General Hospital, which is located in Ajingi town and about 15 kilometers away from her house.
He narrated that “it was on the night of 23 March 2019, that my wife reached her expected date of delivery.
“We had to walk every morning around 10:a.m for about 10 minutes to get a bike because there was no vehicle to transport her to the hospital. On our way, my wife was screaming painfully while I continued to console her.
“We had no working ambulance in our community that we could call for an emergency.
Around 10:15 p.m., my wife’s body turned cold and relaxed at Dundun community before we get to Ajingi General Hospital, I shouted her name, Ummi, for good three times, but my wife wasn’t responding to my calls.”
Ibrahim Ahmad, who lost his wife Ummi – Photo credit: Rashida Salihu
Speaking in pain, Ahmed said: “I couldn’t hold back my tears after witnessing my wife’s death while she rest her head on my lap on the bike before we reach to the hospital.
“I told the biker to make a U-turn and I took the corpse home and prepared for the burial rites.
“The primary healthcare we have in this community is not standard, as no drugs can be found in the hospital; we have only two doctors,” Ahmad answered when asked why he didn’t take his wife to the health facility in his community.”
There are even more harrowing experiences that residents of Ajingi LGA are made to go through before they can access their general hospital. A 40-year-old resident of Gafasa, Ajingi LGA, Zakari Rabiu, recounts how he suffered when he had an accident at Gafsa Junction.
Rabiu said he could not access prompt medical attention as there was no ambulance to rush him to the hospital.
Zakari Rabiu, narrating his experience – Photo credit: Rashida Salihu
“It was late at 11 p.m. in 2020 when I had an accident with my bike, which caused damage, and I was laying on the ground helpless.
“I shouted for help, and some people came to my rescue. Immediately, one of my rescuers called the emergency line of Ajingi General Hospital to help with an ambulance because I was in a pool of blood.
“We waited for over 15 minutes; there was no sound of any ambulance; fortunately, a biker who was passing by stopped to convey me to the hospital.”
Rabiu disclosed that “after i was treated, i asked the doctor why there was no response to the ambulance, and the doctor replied that there is no working ambulance in the hospital.
Kano state health sector expenditure and its maternal mortality challenge
Over the years, budgetary allocations by Kano State to the health sector have been widely commended. However, analysis of the state’s health care expenditure showed that there are gaps in its commitment to reducing maternal mortality across rural communities.
In the last four years, the Kano state government has budgeted N2,995,554,803 billion towards improving quality health standards.
In 2018, N899.55 million was budgeted, while in 2019, no fund was released towards primary healthcare in Kano. In 2020, N40m was allocated, and in 2021, the sum of N2,06 billion was budgeted.
Out of the 1,200 accredited PHCs in Kano State, only 381 have been enrolled on the Basic Health Care Provision Fund, while the others are yet to start accessing the fund, which has caused setbacks to the quality performance of primary health care in the state.
Ambulances are necessity in society, experts reacts
Even though maternal mortality, or pregnancy-related deaths, is preventable, it has persisted in Nigeria due to a variety of factors, including a lack of socioeconomic development.
Abba Isah, a Medical Doctor at Murtala Muhammad General Hospital, disclosed that, in addition to medical causes of maternal mortality, certain socio-cultural and socioeconomic factors influence pregnancy outcomes. Also, a poor health care system, which is a consequence of weak social structure, is a contributing factor.
He added that the importance of an ambulance in society cannot be overstated because it is required in the community, particularly in rural areas where good transportation is unavailable.
“During medical emergencies, time is of the essence. Ambulance services provide prompt medical care to patients, ensuring that they receive immediate attention and care. By providing first aid and stabilizing the patient’s condition, ambulance services can help prevent the condition from worsening.
“Ambulance services ensure that patients reach the hospital in a timely manner. This is especially crucial in cases where the patient requires immediate medical attention or has a time-sensitive condition such as a heart attack or stroke.
“Ambulance services are available 24/7, ensuring that patients can receive medical attention and transportation to hospitals at any time. They also operate in remote areas and provide services to patients who are unable to reach hospitals on their own.
“Ambulance services have been instrumental in reducing mortality rates during medical emergencies. By providing timely medical care and transportation to hospitals, ambulance services have helped save countless lives.”
Ahmed, who remarried on December 17, 2022, is still facing the same problem that occurred to his first wife, Ummi.
He recounted that “My second wife, Amina Ibrahim, got pregnant one month after our wedding and has been receiving medical attention.
“But still, the suffering of accessing health care services persists, as my second wife is also suffering from a lack of proper transportation, such as a working ambulance in our community, which we totally lack.
Amina’s pregnancy is now 6 months old, but she has started complaining of unknown pains. I took her to Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital about two weeks ago, and the doctor said the position of the baby has changed from normal sitting.
“The doctor advised me that I should use a proper transportation service to convey my wife to the hospital.
“To avoid the regret of the past, I have decided to take my wife to Kano, where she is currently staying with her relatives.”
The lack of an ambulance at Ajingi General Hospital has forced Ahmad to relocate his wife to Kano metropolis, which is about 40 kilometers away from Ajingi.
Lawmaker Gets Contract
After check on the company’s status using NG-Check, an online search engine that records the activities of companies in Nigeria, it was discovered that Danyarimawa Synergy Global belongs to a Kano lawmaker identified as AbdulazizGarbaGafasa, who is listed as a director of the company and it was registered shortly on 14 May 2019,before the contract was awarded.
The Kano State Ministry of Works, Housing, and Transport awarded the company the contract atthe sum of N6,007,500.00 million.
The Public Procurement Act stipulates that for any company to get a contract, it has to have been in existence for three years, during which it would have been paying taxes and filing returns, among other obligations.
Abdul’aziz Garba Gafasa, was the Speaker of the Kano State House of Assembly from 2007 to 2011.
During Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje’s administration in 2019, when the contract was awarded,he served his fifth term as a member of the House and was elected as the 9th Assembly Speaker.
Discreet investigations revealed that he was awarded the contract under Danyarimawa Synergy Global at a sum of N6,007,500.00 million.
In an effort to get clarification from Hon. Gafasa, after placing several calls since 1st July 2023 to the time of filling this report, his network line has been busy. Also a text message sent to Hon. Gafasa on July 19, 2023, was not responded to.
Ministry of works violates PPA
The award of contract to Danyarimawa Synergy Global is a violation of Section 58 (5), thus: “A person who, by carrying out his duty as an officer of the bureau or any procuring entity, contravenes any provision of this act, commits an offense liable on conviction to the cumulative punishment of a term of imprisonment of not less than five years without the option of fine.”
Violating Section 58 (5) of the Public Procurement Law made an incompetent company gets the award of government contract. Its inability and inactivity has led to the suffering of thousands of pregnant women and other patients in the community.
Not only Ahamad and his family suffer from the lack of ambulances in Ajingi; Habiba Umar, a 56-year old resident of Falankawa who sells Ginger and Cloves in Falankawa Market, has also lost her baby as a result of the hard labor she experienced.
She narrated that “throughout my pregnancy stage, my husband has been conveying me on his bicycle. I have been enduring pain because the road that leads from my community to the main road is in bad condition.
“After accessing a good road, my husband had to ride me for about 30 minutes before we could reach Ajingi General Hospital due to the lack of a functional ambulance.
“Despite the stress of a 9 month pregnancy, she had a stillbirth.”
“I did not register my wife to any hospital now, but I promise when next she will conceive I will register her to another Hospital like Murltala Muhammad Specialist Hospital in Kano city, where she can stay with her relatives.
A visit by this reporter to Ajingi General Hospital realized that the one ambulance available in the hospital is scrapped, as it can’t move neither to convey patients.
Contractor Executes Below-Standard Polio Shade in Doguwa
In 2019 Kano State constituency projects, Doguwa General Hospital, which is situated in Doguwa LGA, was to benefit from the construction of polio shade awarded to A.U.C. General Enterprise at a cost of N4,970,682.90 million.
The project was nominated by Hon. Salisu Ibrahim Ruruwai, a member of the Kano State House of Assembly.
Spot check revealed that the polio shade was constructed below standard which could barely contain 70 women who wanted to immunize their babies.
Entrance of Doguwa General Hospital – Photo credit: Rashida Salihu
In an interaction, Hamza Ibrahim, head of the immunization unit in Doguwa General Hospital, lamented that the shade is not enough to contain the women, as most of them usually return home without their children being immunized.
He said: “Every day I used to attend to over 250 women; most of them had to stand behind trees or other shades to avoid the sun.
“We used to immunize children from Monday to Friday. Starting from 10 a.m to 4 p.m.
“The shade that was constructed is not worth N4 million because it is open to the sun and rain. During the rainy season, we found it hard to immunize children because the shade is exposed to rain as it splashes water into the polio shade.”
“Immunization is the best protection against polio and is recommended for all infants, children, and adults. However, due to the lack of accommodating polio shade in the Hospital, many of them end up leaving because of rain or scorching sun.
Some women sitting in the polio shade waiting for immunization – Photo credit: Rashida Salihu
Surraya Ammani, a resident of Doguwa town and mother of five children, expressed that “For about 3 days I missed the immunization due to overpopulation, and the shade is not enough to contain us.
“Anytime the weather becomes cloudy, I have to take my child back home as the shade is open without any blockages to protect the shade from sun, rain or wind.
Who is the contractor?
The contract of N4,970,682.90 million was awarded to A.U.C. General Enterprise, an unregistered company. This is a violation of the public procurement law.
A civil and criminal litigation lawyer in Kano, Isah Abdulazeez Umar, observed that awarding contracts to unregistered companies is illegal and a contravention of Section 57 (2) of the 2017 Public Procurement Law and could attract money laundering cases against the perpetrators of the said practices.
He added that though the law does not specifically point out the offense of an agency. He further explained that if a company doesn’t exit, it means that documents submitted by the bidders are fake and therefore, against the public procurement law.
He said the agency’s offense could be traced to Section 58 (4c), which states, “The following shall also constitute offenses under this act, directly, indirectly, or by attempting to influence in any manner, the procurement process to obtain an unfair advantage in the award of procurement contracts is against using fake documents.”
Patients in Rogo got rejected in Pharmacy
Rogo LGA is in South Senatorial District of Kano. Its population projection as of 2022 is 340,300 people.
A visit to Rogo town revealed that the health system is below standard.
Primary health care centers in Beli, Dederi, Fulatan, and Gwan Gwan communities have no prescription cards to prescribe drugs and other medical consumable for patients.
A discrete investigation revealed that patients use notebooks as prescription cards, which are mostly being rejected if they go to a pharmacy to get drugs.
A desk review indicates that in 2019 a Kano State constituency projects a contract worth N2,000,000 million was awarded to Transmark Nig. Ltd. to provide prescription cards in various PHCs in Rogo LGA.
One of the medical worker at Beli Primary Healthcare in Rogo LGA, Gambo Ashafa, who was attending to nursing mothers at the moment this reporter visited the hospital testifies that “Since 2019 the lack of prescription cards most often portrays our work as unprofessional.
Because it’s sad for a hospital after attending to a patient, the hospital cannot prescribe drugs, injections, or other medical attention needed by the patient on a hospital prescription card.
“So, because of this, we always advised patients to buy either 20 or 40 leaves of a book that can be used as a substitute for the prescription card.”
“On so many occasions, patients have complained about being rejected in the pharmacy, especially if the drugs are sensitive drugs,” he continued, “so the patients always call me and connect me with the pharmacist on most occasions.”
Ramatu Danladi, a nursing mother who just gave birth to her baby two months ago, lamented the rejection of note books in pharmacies.
“There was a time Ashafa prescribed a drug that is meant for hypertensive patients. I went to the Ikara pharmacy in Rogo town, but the pharmacist, Mallam Abubakar, denied selling the drugs for me because the drugs were not prescribed on a hospital card.
Ramatu Danladi at Beli Hospital – Photo credit: Rashida Salihu
“He asked me to get a prescription card with a doctor’s prescription and signature before he could sell the drugs.”
Danladi added that “I have to trek back to Beli from Rogo town, which is about 35 minutes to Ashafa, before he communicated with Abubakar, the pharmacist.
Ramatu Danladi’s note book used as prescription card -Photo credit: Rashida Salihu
Also, other residents of hinterland communities in Rogo, such as Fulatan, Dederi, and Gwan Gwan, shared the same experience as Ramatu Danladi.
However, patients in Beli, Gwan Gwan, Dederi and Fulatan only access drugs from the pharmacy on the basis of their Doctors communicating with the pharmacist or with a hand writing notes with the Doctor’s signature,
Contractor not found
An online search for Transmark Nig. Ltd.’s status on CAC and Ng.check revealed that the contracting company is unregistered.
The award of a contract to Transmark Nig. Ltd. contravenes sections 417–424 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020, which state that “every company must make and deliver their annual returns to the CAC every year.”
Accordingly, the award of a contract to Transmark Nig. Ltd. contravenes the Public Procurement Acts, under Section 16 of the procurement act titled ‘fundamental principles for procurements, which clearly spells out these requirements.
“All bidders, in addition to the   requirements contained in any solicitation,   shall have fulfilled all its obligations to pay taxes, pensions, and social security contributions; not have any director who has been convicted in any country for any criminal offense relating to fraud or financial impropriety or criminal misrepresentation or falsification of facts relating to any matter,” Section 16 (6) (d) (e) of the act read.
However, the Bureau for Public Procurement warned that “any false declaration and submission could lead to prosecution, debarment, and disqualification for 10 years from public procurement in line with the provision of Section 58 of the PPA, 2007.”
Ministry of Works snubs FOI
On July 11th, 2023 an FOI was sent to the Kano State Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport seeking responds to the questions below was not responded.
  1. In 2019 the sum of N4,970,682.90 Million was awarded to A.U.C General Entrps to construct Polio shade Doguwa General Hospital. Why was the polio shades not constructed to the worth amount? Also, why was the award of the contract violated the PPA Act by awarding contract to a Non-Existent company?
  2. Why was the award of supply of Ambulance at Ajingi General Hospital at a cost of N6,007,500.00 million awarded to Danyarimawa Synergy Global, a contracting company of Hon. AbubakarGarbaGafasa?
  3. The pursuant of this FOI seek to know why the there was no provision of Prescripton Cards at various Hospital in Rogo LGA despite awarding Transmark Nig. Ltd a sum of N2,000,000.00?
A reminder which was sent on July 20, 2023, was not responded to as of the time of filling this report.
Acknowledged FOI by Kano Ministry for Works and Infrastructure.
This publication is produced with support from the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) under the Collaborative Media Engagement for Development Inclusivity and Accountability Project (CMEDIA) funded by the MacArthur Foundation.

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