Speculations that construction giant, Julius Berger, has moved out of BayelsaState over an alleged contractual debt of N18billion owed by the state government has turned out to be false.
Residents of Yenagoa, the state capital were alarmed by the rumour, coupled with the company sacking about 108 workers as well as the slow pace of work at various project sites.
The construction giant is handling a number of major critical infrastructure projects in the state such as the expansion of the Isaac BoroExpressway, the first fly over in the capital city, the dualisation of the Opolo-ElebeleRoad amongst others.
But the State Governor, Seriake Dickson, dismissed the rumour making the rounds in town as untrue.
He said that findings by the state government showed that the workers were sacked from Julius Berger due to the reduced workload available on the projects. But he stated that the government is committed to contractual responsibility and infrastructure revolution of the state.
Dickson, while handing over a bank draft in the sum of N2billion to the representatives of Julius Berger during the State briefing in Yenagoa, said the claim of a frosty contractual agreement between the state and the construction company was a product of what he called “bad belle politics”.
According to him, “When these ‘bad belle’ people see Julius Berger working, they claim they cannot see them. They claim the Isaac BoroRoad contract initiated by us and awarded by us was not our work. These people are products of bad belle people. They have not seen anything yet. Our business is to make the state more developed.”
He noted that those involved in the alleged blackmail and campaign of calumny against his administration have also been identified as sponsors of violent youths to sabotage the various road construction projects in the state.
“They have paid boys to stop work on the projects or slow us down but they failed,” he said.
The governor however announced his acceptance of an invitation extended to him by the management of the construction giant to visit its headquarters in Germany next month.
According to him, “the visit to Germany will involve the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), as part of the confidence of the company in the credibility of the state.
They have brought a proposal to build high rise flats for commercial purposes in the Bayelsa capital.”
A representative of the company also dismissed the claim of pull out, saying its equipment and technical staff are still there at various sites going about their normal activities.
He assured the state government of the company’s preparedness to complete all on- going projects as scheduled, and thanked the government for creating the enabling environment for businesses to thrive.