By Vincent Ujumadu
Awka—MEMBERS of Dredgers Association of Anambra State yesterday took to the streets in the commercial city of Onitsha over alleged plot to sideline them in the payment of compensation by the federal government for the second Niger Bridge.
The protest, which lasted for several hours, caused traffic gridlock at the Habour Industrial Layout and Atani road in Onitsha.
Addressing reporters, chairman of the association, Mr. Gilbert Udemadu, alleged that an amorphous group had perfected plans to defraud the federal government by collecting the compensation meant for them.
According to Udemadu members of the association were invited to a meeting sometime in November, 2013 by a consulting firm, Aurecon Nigeria Limited, to deliberate on the modalities to pay compensation for their property that will be affected by the construction of second Niger Bridge, only to be dropped by the federal government half way.
He said there was a list being circulated which did not contain their names, adding that the adopted list was made up of those whose property were not in any way near the place which the second Niger Bridge will pass through.
He said: “After the first meeting with Aurecon Nigeria, there were several other meetings where we were informed that it was the federal government’s directive that any person that is affected or is likely to be affected by the construction of second Niger Bridge will be compensated.
“We were equally asked to submit the list of our members who were affected by the project. While we were still harmonizing the list, one Gilbert Obi who is also the chairman Board of Trustees, BoT of Dredgers Association swiftly went and registered another group and went behind us to submit the list to the consulting firm.”
He accused some key officers at the federal ministry of Works of playing pranks with the genuine members of the association by adopting the list submitted by Gilbert Obi, which contained names of those he registered as Amalgamated Sand Dealers’ Association of Anambra State.
He threatened that the group would challenge any further payment of compensation to any other group or persons except the genuine members of the association who, he said, would adversely be affected by the second Niger Bridge.