The Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, OSGF, in 2017 appropriated and claimed to have spent N65 million on its website.
Review of the 2017 budget performance of the OSGF revealed that N65 million was budgeted for the already existing website while the office claimed that N64, 855, 875, the amount released, had been fully utilised.
Quoted as ‘OSGF WEBSITE,’ the budget performance record remarked that the ‘procurement process is ongoing.’
The office of the SGF is currently occupied by Boss Mustapha who was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari in October 2017. The office was formerly occupied by Babachir Lawal who was sacked after President Buhari adopted recommendations of a report of a panel headed by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, which investigated allegations against Mr. Lawal who was suspended for months.
We could not ascertain which of the two government officials executed the project.
Appearing before the Senate committee in January 2018 to defend the 2017 budget performance, Mr. Mustapha said the office received 50 per cent of its appropriation for capital projects.
“Performance for capital is N1.2 billion released as at end of December, 2017. It represents 50 per cent. We are hoping that the National Assembly will extend the lifespan of the budget so that we can handle other procurement processes.
Apparently, the fund release for the website is one of those captured in Mr. Mustapha’s 50 per cent but the cost and execution of the project left more to desire.
Spokesperson to Mr. Mustapha, Mohammed Nakorji, when contacted, declined to answer questions on how the fund was disbursed.
“I’m not an accountant please,” he snapped.
Meanwhile, technology experts say the claim was suspicious and impossible.
After a review of the website, communications officer of Paradigm Initiative Nigeria, PIN, Sodiq Alabi said the claim that N65 million was spent on the website looked ‘very impossible.’
“We have reviewed the website, it is simply shocking that N65 million was spent on the website. It’s implausible,” he said. “OSGF must provide more details on what they did with the money. The website has no special features to justify more than a million naira budget.
“It doesn’t look like they are even updating the website. The copyright is 2013. It looks very impossible and suspicious. At least the SGF office should tell us what they did with the money. They should tell us what they did with the money so that Nigerian tax payers’ mind can be at rest.”
Cheta Nwanze, Head of Research, SBM Intelligence, after a review of the website, said the N65 million could never be justified.
He said, “The website was built using the Joomla CMS, which is a free content management system. All of the media is hosted on YouTube, which is an external server. It uses Google Hosted Libraries for its content distribution. No way can it cost ₦65 million, unless I heard you wrong.”
He said the maximum cost for such a website would be $105 per month.
“Depending on the hosting package, $100 per month can get you a very good hosting plan. If you insist on using Google apps to host your emails and documents, that’s $5 per user per month. So you can do the maths.”