The Chartered Institute of Professional Printers of Nigeria (CIPPON), a regulatory and administrative body of printers in the country, has challenged the federal government to release the names of the contractors awarded a multi-billion naira printing job.
CIPPON was established by Act 24 of the National Assembly in 2007 to manage and regulate the activities of Printers in Nigeria.
At the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting of October 28, the council approved some contracts including the printing of examination materials worth N2.9 billion.
After the meeting, the education minister, Adamu Adamu, announced that a group of eight printers got the job but failed to disclose the entities.
“According to the minister, the materials are meant for the Basic Education Certification Examination, the Senior Secondary Certificate Examination, and the National Common Entrance, adding that because of the recent disturbances, we have postponed the examinations that have not taken place,” the newsmen reported.
Both the spokespersons of the education ministry and the National Examination Council (NECO), Ben Goong and Azeez Sani, said they could not provide the information when newsmen reached out to them days after the FEC meeting.
Meanwhile, in its support for accountability and transparency, a Freedom of information (FOI) request was made to the education minister, asking for the name of those awarded the contract.
The letter was submitted at the ministry’s office in Abuja on November 2.
As against the FOI Act, 2011, which stipulates that such requests should be responded to within seven days, no response has been gotten from the ministry or the minister as of the time of filing this report.
In quest of the same information, the President of CIPPON, Olugbemi Malomo, said the institute has made a request to the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) asking for the names of the eight companies that the contract was awarded to.
This was contained in a statement sent to newmen.
According to Mr Malomo, the request is made to ascertain if the contractors are registered members of the Chartered Institute of Professional Printers of Nigeria as stipulated in the printers Act 24 of 2007, section 23 (b).
“Copies of the document have been sent to all Ministry, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), that are involved in government printing procurement. We also believe that our listening government is working hard to correct the mistakes of the past, which in our opinion is another good step in the right direction.”
He also requested that the Nigerian printing jobs remain in Nigeria and not given to foreigners and that printing jobs should be awarded to registered printers only.
“Our belief is If our two top priorities are adhered to, the printing industry would have enough jobs to do, which in turn is capable of reducing unemployment and insecurity.”
Mr Malomo, however, urged the Buhari administration to use its enormous resources to develop local capacity.