The award of the contract for the construction of the 190 kilometres narrow gauge track from Minna in Niger State to Baro has been challenged in court.
Those who sued the government for awarding the contract to China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) are Duluidas Nigeria Limited, Duliz Dredging and Construction Limited and Consortium of Duluidas Nigeria Limited, Duliz dredging and Construction Limited/Hebbelyixin Fastener Company Limited, China.
Joined in the suit that is filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja are the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami.
The plaintiff alleged that the award of the contract was unlawful because it did not follow due process.
In their writ of summons issued by their lead counsel, James Okoh, the plaintiffs are asking the Federal High Court to cancel the letter of “no objection” issued by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) in favour of CCECC for the award of the N91.5 billion.
They alleged that the rail line contract was in breach of procurement laws and re-issue same in their favour.
The Minna in Niger State to Baro with an extension to the Baro River Port was awarded at a cost of N91.5 billion and a completion period of 36 months.
The plaintiffs prayed the court for an injunction restraining the defendants from awarding or purporting to award the contract to the Chinese firm or any third party on the basis of the flawed bidding process.
In the alternative, they sought an order setting aside any purported award on the basis of the flawed and heavily compromised bid process by the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) with the concurrence of other defendants.
They also asked for an order restraining the minister of transportation or any of his agents from presenting the CCECC to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for the purpose of the award of the contract.
In the same way, they are asking the court to set aside any purported approval received from the Federal Executive Council awarding the disputed contract to any other company during the pendency of the suit.
The plaintiffs claimed they quoted a lesser amount of N76.7 billion for the execution of the same project during their successful bidding, are alleging bias against them by the minister and undue favouritism in favour of the CCECC in the contract award.