Dr. Louis Brown Ogbeifun

Accredited Mediator | Certified Professional Manager and Trainer in Workplace Conflicts


Unraveling the Controversies: The Failed $500 Billion Abuja CCTV Project and its Impact on National Security

A few days ago, I did a post and said that if our security agencies could trace and arrest those involved in “Yahoonistic” crimes, then they could also trace and arrest kidnappers anywhere in the country using the same satellite system. They have proven me right because the kidnapped victims in the FCT area were rescued from their den in Kaduna Forest. I congratulate those who carried out the rescue operations.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) under Yar’Adua saw the future and wanted to prevent the menace of unknown kidnappers, bandits, or terrorists when it embarked on the installation of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in Abuja. The cameras were said to have been installed with a $400 million loan from China and counterpart funding of $70 million from the Federal Government. In today’s conversion rate, that is more than 500 billion Naira. Unfortunately, the project has been dogged with so many controversies. The cameras were vandalized from the outset of the project.

Is it not funny that cameras were installed and sabotaged, and yet there was no backend coverage for them, and as such, nobody was seen carting away the cameras, and nobody was apprehended? Sadly, Nigeria would have started paying back the loan, which never produced the desired outcome. What a waste and what a system!

There are so many unresolved riddles about the CCTV cameras’ installation that we may never know. First, though installed by the Chinese, it is in the public domain that the contract was awarded to an unnamed contractor, who used the Chinese people to install the CCTV cameras.

Secondly, when the issue was discussed in the Senate, Senator Adamu Aliero (PDP, Kebbi Central), who was the FCT Minister when the contract was awarded and installed, couldn’t reveal the contractor’s name behind the mask.

In a mien of an honest representative of the people, the Senator representing the FCT, Senator Ireti Kingibe, said on Channels Television this evening that the contractor said the CCTV cameras worked for a while after installation because they, the Chinese, operated them. But when the Chinese handed the cameras to the government, no arrangements were made for its monitoring and operations. The cameras were then vandalized with time, leaving only the backend servers intact.

As I listened to her, so many questions came to mind among which are: What manner of maintenance contract was put in place to secure the cameras? How can the nation spend over five hundred billion Naira on a project without concrete plans to ensure its functionality?

When the Boko Haram insurgency started, the elites played politics with it. When kidnapping surfaced in most states of the federation, many thought Abuja would be insulated from the menace. That is no longer the case.

With what has happened, the National Assembly and the EFCC should unrelentedly continue to ask what happened to the Abuja CCTV project. N500 billion Naira, which is a little under the budgets for Police Affairs, Water Resources, Housing and Urban Development and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) combined cannot be wished away like the millions swallowed by pythons and monkeys.

Besides, the starting point in dealing with violent crimes would be using part of the security votes to install CCTV cameras in all our cities. It would help to easily capture and identify criminals on cameras. It would go a long way to complement the efforts of our security agencies. That is what happens where we copied our democracy from.

Grace and peace!!!