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A former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, may have hit it big with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as his quantitysurveying firm has landed a multi billion-naira contract with the apex bank.

El-Rufai joined critics of the Federal Government shortly after he left the economic team of Ex President Olusegun Obasanjo and his exit as FCT minister.

Sources hinted that the CBN which has disbursed over N163 Billion so far under the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) sub head, has concluded bplans to build another events center in Garki Abuja for a whooping sum of N84 Billion.

El-Rufai and Partners Limited, design cost associates based in Aminu Kano Crescent, Wuse 2, Abuja landed the design contract for the center. The professional fee for the firm, Pointblanknews.com stands at 6 per cent is about N5 Billion. Besides there is no evidence that due process was followed by the CBN in the award. The total cost is a little over N94 Billion with about N10 Billion going into professional fees for surveyors, architects. Sources told Pointblanknews.com that the CBN Governor has been capitalizing on the liberal nature of the President to award contracts to his friends and cronies.

Said a source, “can you imagine Sanusi awarding contracts to his friends under a General Sani Abacha or even President Musa Yar’Adua? This is only happening simply because President Goodluck Jonathan is very liberal minded, he simply allows people to get away with a lot.”

Wikipedia captures El-Rufai and partners thus: Nasir established a Quantity Surveying and Project Management Consulting firm in 1982 with three other partners. The firm was quite successful, handling mainly building and civil engineering projects in Nigeria, and made the partners wealthy millionaires while still in their twenties

The center, which will be where the old NITEL building was, would have malls, business centers, and sundry commercial and recreational concerns. A South African firm demolished the old NITEL building. The Central Bank of Nigeria had in 2012 awarded a N9.5 Billion contract for the construction of a Conference Centre at the University of Jos’
permanent site.

There also indications that this firm got a large slice of the N64 Billion FCT city gate project that would have pedestrian bridges; the Northern axis would have conference rooms, parade ground, botanical garden, five star hotel and hospital among others.

Interestingly, there had been a link between CBN Governor, Lamido Sanusi and E-Rufai. Aside from the fact that the body language and rhetoric of both men have not been anything complementary, they may soon be in-laws.

It was gathered that kid sister of El-Rufai may soon be Mrs Lamido Sanusi as preparations are on for the Nikai which comes up soon in Daudawa, Faskari Local Government area of Katsina state .

Within two years, Sanusi whose donations is well above $1 Billion, has doled out N15 billion to only four educational institutions, and the figure could even be more. The latest is the N10 billion donated to Uthman Danfodio University, UDU, Sokoto, through Kabiru Nuhu, deputy director, Projects, Planning and Implementation Division, Procurement and Support Services Department, of CBN. According to Nuhu, the intervention, which was part of CBN’s corporate social responsibility, CSR, for 2013, was aimed at building capacity, manpower and infrastructure in the university, with a view to making the Nigerian economy at par with top economies in the world.

Pat Utomi, a professor of Economics, had similarly described the donations as absurd and arbitrary. Said he: “There is no logic in what he is doing. It just shows there is no control even from the system. I am aware that he is probably gunning for the Emirate of Kano, and wants to give the Bayero s a run for their money, but should that be at the expense of Nigerians and their money?”

Indeed, Femi Gbajabiamila, minority leader, House of Representatives, wondered whether the CBN had become a donor agency or a charity organisation.

In the meantime, the executive and the legislative arms of government are worried by the donations by CBN. For instance, the exercise reportedly earned Sanusi a query from President Goodluck Jonathan in April.

Although the bank denied getting any query from the Presidency, Reuben Abati, presidential spokesman, was quoted by The Punch newspaper then as saying that the President, indeed, wrote the CBN governor asking him to explain certain things regarding the accounts of the bank, to which Sanusi responded immediately. What was said in the reply was not certain, but the Presidency might have been convinced that the CBN could not have gone beyond bound. However, if the apex bank cannot be questioned on how it
does its CSR, how proper is it that one institution gets N10 billion in an economy as Nigeria’s, while others get interventions in millions of naira?

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