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Rowdy Session In N/Assembly Over $4.451bn NLNG Project

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There was a rowdy session in the National Assembly on Thursday during a joint committee meeting of the Senate and House of Representatives probing into the $4.451 billion Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG) project 7.

The joint committees went into two separate close-door meetings with the NLNG officials led by NLNG Project Director, Ali Uwais, as well as the contractors handling the project during the public hearing.

This was sequel to the failure of the NLNG officials to provide the information required by the committees.

After a series of disagreements and controversies during the session, the committee, in a resolution, agreed to formally make their requests known to the NLNG in terms of document and other information needed.

It also charged the NLNG to halt further variations in the $4.451,731,937bn contract.

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Thursday’s investigative hearing attracted very large crowd of lawmakers comprising members and non-members of the Gas committees because of the hostile atmosphere that has weakened and crippled the investigation since its beginning.

Trouble started when Uwais submitted a document containing what the lawmakers called limited information.

The chairman of the joint committee, Senator Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe, expressed disappointment that a clause in the document clearly said that “figures contained therein are disputed and subject to ongoing legally privileged commercial negotiations.”

 

Jarigbe said it means the figures can’t be used for the investigation.

Amidst the tense situation, the committee went into the first closed door session.  After an hour of secret talks, journalists were called in again.

Lawmakers took their turns to condemn the insistence of NLNG and the contractors for not making useful information available for the investigation.

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The contentious issues include lack of information and explanation on the original contract sum which was $4,372,760,462.

Others are limited information on the 99 total variation requests worth $177,892,289; approved 62 variation orders amounting to $43,771,475; and approved amendments (claims/settlement) worth $35,000,000.

The NLNG had informed the committee that there are five variation requests being evaluated and they amounted to $7,609,678.

Uwais also told the committee that the fluctuation in foreign exchange rate is a principal cause of contract variation.

On the status of the project, he said, “The overall progress of the project is at 67 percent completion, made up of engineering at 97.9 percent, procurement at 95.5 percent and construction at 52.5 percent.”

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