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The Kogi State Government in 2020 spent a whopping sum of N90 million for a COVID-19 software which the contracted company, an Abuja-based technology company, Telnet Technology Limited, now offers for N300,000.
This was revealed in an investigative report by Premium Times published on Friday.
According to the report, the state governor, Yahaya Bello approved the purchase of the software was for tracking coronavirus cases in the state.
The Kogi COVID-19 risk assessment application, which is in two categories; web and mobile applications, was accessible on www.kogicovid19.com.ng.
Users could download the mobile version for android devices or make use of the website.
But the software is no longer functioning as the developers said they had a contract to host it for only one year.
The state government said the software, which comes in a mobile application and website, was one of its measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Kogi.
The software uses the checklist of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for suspected and high-risk cases to evaluate users.
An official of the state also admitted that the government actually spent less than a million naira for the project and could not defend the N90.7 million announced expenditure; an indication the declared price was excessively inflated.
The report adds that as of March 2020, when Nigeria had about 6,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, Kogi and Cross River were the only two states in the country with a zero-case status.
The NCDC had raised an alarm then that the two states were not conducting tests for the virus. For instance, in Kogi, officials deployed by the federal health agency were denied cooperation and controversially sent back.
When quizzed in an interview with Channels Television on the reasons Kogi State was not testing for COVID-19, the governor justified that the state had developed the special app to track possible cases of COVID-19.
“So far, so good, we have launched an app and if nobody shows any sign or any cause for any test, we would not go out and begin to test anybody. Because there’s enough and adequate sensitisation of our citizens. So far, we don’t have any testing centres here but there’s one in Kubwa in FCT,” he said.
To arrive at the cost the software company, the Premium Times correspondent posed as a government official who wanted to replicate the same project in another state.
The Managing Director of the company, Daniel Idakwoji, disclosed that the Kogi State Government only signed a one-year contract with him but he refused to disclose the amount paid by the state government.
Upon request, Mr Idakwoji sent a proposal detailing how the company will execute the same project in less than a week.
According to the budget, it will cost N300,000 for a year contract and N425,000 for two years.
From his portfolio, Mr Idakwoji’s company was, in the past, hired to build a couple of websites for the Kogi government, including the Ministry of Health and Governor Bello’s personal website.