The Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF), headed by SGF Boss Mustapha, has explained how the sum of N65 million was spent on an already existing website.
An earlier report by Premium Times had questioned how the OSGF had appropriated N65 million claimed to have been spent on the website which technological experts evaluated to be of basic quality.
In a statement signed by Director of Information, Lawrence Ojabo, Mustapha's office has released a detailed explanation on how the N64,855,875 was spent.
He revealed the website is still undergoing redesign and upgrade that has not been launched yet. He said the website will be built on the newest web technologies language as a new server infrastructure will be installed.
He also disclosed that part of the fund will go into training 50 people that will manage the website after it has been redesigned.
The statement read, "For purposes of clarification, the existing website, the screenshot of which was published by Premium Times, is undergoing redesign and upgrading to bring it in conformity with modern technology and requirements of the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
"The OSGF is a critical hub of government that maintains a very high sense of accountability and transparency in all its transactions. The new website will further strengthen this core value as it will be built on the newest web technologies language, will be secured, fully managed locally, and hosted on a dedicated server. A new server infrastructure will be installed.
"The consultants to the project will in addition train not less than 50 officers that will facilitate timely updates and ensure very robust content management system.
"The award of the contract for the website followed the pre-requisites of the Public Procurement Act 2007, before it was awarded on October 17, 2017. The emphasis of the OSGF under the leadership of Boss Mustapha on value for money and judicious application of public resources will never be vitiated for any reason.
"It is expected that the new website will meet the expectations of a highly sophisticated, dynamic, online-savvy media-consuming public.
"This is in line with the civil service reforms strategy which calls for greater openness, transparency, and public responsiveness in Government agencies in their delivery on policies and programmes.
"Accordingly, the new website when completed in a few weeks will include more windows, platforms, and links to various agencies to enable citizens, interested persons in the business of Government from around the globe to interact more easily with Government organizations and officials, provide an effective management information system and enhance public participation and ownership of Government programmes and policies."
Website has no special features
After a review of the website earlier this week, communications officer of Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN), Sodiq Alabi, said the OSGF has to provide more details to back its claim.
"We have reviewed the website, it is simply shocking that N65 million was spent on the website. It's implausible. 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."
Another review by Cheta Nwanze, Head of Research, SBM Intelligence, 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 N65 million, unless I heard you wrong.
"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."