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INVESTIGATION: Inside Multi-Million Naira Borehole Scam, As Refugee Commission, Contractor Deny Jigawa communities Access To Potable Water Leading To Cholera Outbreak

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Elijah Akoji
PlatinumPost in this investigation uncovers how a multi-million naira water project fund was paid to a consultancy company for the construction of handpump and solar-powered borehole, a project designed to provide potable water supply across the Kila community in Gwaram LGA, Majema community in Hadeja LGA and Hantsu in Miga LGA in Jigawa state. Two years down the line, this report reveals how residents still drink dirty wells and pond water while they continue to bury their families and loved ones due to the cholera outbreak.
Established by Decree 52 of 1989 now Cap. N21, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 (NCFRMI Act), the National Commission for Refugees is established to manage the affairs of refugees, migrants, and internally displaced persons in Nigeria. The agency is one of six agencies under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development headed by a Federal Commissioner.
The Commission 2021 earmarked a total of N70 million in it budget for the construction of handpump and solar-powered boreholes across Kila community in Gwaram LGA, Majema community in Hadeja LGA, and Hantsu community in Miga LGA, this project is designed as a constituency project to help provide residents access to clean and potable water.
Against the procurement law, the record shows that Zina Consultancy Ltd was handpicked and awarded the contract for the construction of handpump and solar-powered boreholes across these communities.
Data obtained from Govspend.ng Zina Consultancy Ltd on the 21st of August 2021, received a total of N40 million which is above the 15 per cent approved by the procurement act as mobilisation for a project, despite this huge disbursement, the contractor and agency are yet to account for money while visit by this newspaper to the project site revealed nothing has been done
Agency Award Construction Contract to a Consultancy Company
Record obtained from Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and from NG-Checks revealed that Zina Consultancy Ltd was registered in 2016 as a consultancy company, a company registered to only offer consultancy services and not construction, sadly, without due process and call for bidding, Zina Consultancy was handpicked and awarded the contract for the construction of handpump and solar-powered boreholes across these communities Jigawa state.
However, Section 58 of the Public Procurement Act of 2007 states the modalities and procedures in the award of contracts and also was definite about punishment when public officers violate the procurement procedures in the award and execution of contracts.
Section 58 Article 18 paragraph 6 also clearly states that “In the award of contract, only 15 per cent should be disbursed as mobilisation to contractors as the first payment.”
This was only disregarded in 2020 as ordered by President Buhari due to the Covid-19 restriction and to help contractors execute some of the emergency procurement processes in executing the Covid-19 projects.

The directors of Zina Consultancy Ltd include Daniel Danjuma and Felix Danuma.
Project Fully Executed – Contractor, Agency Claim
When this reporter sought to seek answers to his findings after visiting the project location, he discovered the need to speak with the contractor and the Agency should the communities have been short changed and the project have mistakenly executed in another location different from the proposed communities.,
The Deputy Director of Procurement Hassan Gambari when contacted at first declined to provide evidence of the project but later opened up saying that the project has been executed to specification.
“All the projects you are seeking to know about have been completed and commissioned since 2021, the Agency do not carry over any of its project, as an Agency we ensure all projects are executed within the budget year,” Gambari said.
 Daniel Danujma, one of the directors of the company who was also contacted, in a telephone conversation directed the reporter to speak with the Agency that awarded the contract to seek update of the report.
While it was clear that Danjuma wouldn’t want to speak about the project, sadly, he could not hide the fact that his Agency received such amount of money from the government, which makes him also accountable to tax-paying Nigeria.
“It is not within our directives to give updates on projects awarded to us, you may have to contact the Agency to provide the information you are looking for about the project,” Danjuma said.
When the reporter insisted that a contractor should be able to provide a status report of a project its been awarded either by the government or a private organisation, Danjuma at this point also opened up and said “The project has been executed and we have handed it over to the agency and the community, I think that’s all you need to know, he asked.
Contrary to their claims, community residents across these LGAs denied ever not been aware of such project within their communities, residents lament the neglect of the government and how they keep burying their children and loved ones.
Hadiza Kabir, a 33 years old widow in Kila, narrates how her five years old daughter died of cholera in November 2022.
“Ummi was stooling, vomiting, and shivering, we rushed her to the General hospital in Birnin-Kudu, it was there we were told she is having cholera, in less than 48 hours of admission, Ummi passed on and that was all.
“Our only source of water is an open well where we drink, wash, and cook from, we wish we have another source at least even if it’s one clean source apart from this well, we won’t be burying our children,” she laments.
Sani Idris, the ward head in Kila community narrates how terrible the situation turns out to be when the rain comes.
“When the rain comes, because we still practice open defecation, the rain flushes all the urine and feces into the well, so you can imagine the outcome of still drinking, bathing, and cooking from the same well after that happens, even winds blow into the open well dirt from different places we are not aware of.
“We are in a very terrible situation, we have not seen any borehole constructed here for us, we just survive by drinking from the only well in the community,” Idris added.
In Hantsu community in Miga LGA, Mohammed Tijanni, the Community Development Chairman (WDC) in the area denied having knowledge of any of such projects in their community.
“With our present condition, we will forever celebrate any government agency that provides water for us, so we can’t lie about what we have not seen or given, so they should be honest to tell you when they will come and construct the borehole instead lying that they have already constructed it,” Tijjani said.
“We have to deal with cholera annually, for us this outbreak is without time and season, it is simply because of our hygiene which the water we take plays a major role in our health, one day you will come here and won’t find anyone anymore because we must have all died before you come, that is if the government doesn’t act fast to help us,” he added.
Bilkisu Sale in Majema community, Hadeja LGA sells Kunu Gaida, a proteinous drink prepared with groundnut, and her only source of water is the same well in her community, if she will have to apply some level of hygiene to her processing, then she will either travel several kilometers to get clean water from the neighboring community or to Miga town, the LGA headquarters to buy sachet water for her use.
“We are use to drinking water from the well so preparing my Kunu with it is not a problem for me, and they all understand, the problem is that the well is open and and different dirt fall inside and that’s why cholera has been on the rise in Majema community and across some other communities in Yobe state,” she said.

Constituency Project Not a  Gift, Its The Peoples Right – Expert
Rukkaya Usman, the Executive Director of the People’s Advocate, a non-governmental organisation focused on mobilising community engagement to promote rural accountability, described the government as too irresponsible  in the execution of community projects, narrating that several communities are still drinking from wells, ponds and even rivers.
“Legislators are a special breed of fraud stars who execute their intention together with contractors, they are never accountable to the people, instead they deny the people access to their rights and dividends of democracy.
“Water is a necessity for every person, it is sad that communities still drink from dirty wells and while the cholera figure is still on the rise, even if you see a community being given water today, their representative presents it as a gift to the people, or a favour. Constituency project is not a gift but the right of the people,” he added.

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