The Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs plans to terminate about six abandoned projects spread across the region with a view to enhancing the development of the region.
It will be recalled that the Minister, Pastor Uguru Usani, had made this known in Abuja while receiving the report on the audit and review of the East-West Road and other projects of the Ministry.
Usani said following the report from the Ministerial Technical Audit Committee on the contracts awarded between 2009 and 2015 in the Niger Delta, some projects had been proposed for termination.
He listed the projects to include construction of Okpuhuta Mbano Junction – Orie market –Lomara-Igwebulka (35km) – Abia State; land reclamation and erosion control project at Ogudu Abia Phase I, Abia State.
Others are Idoro-Eastern Itam Water Supply Scheme Akwa Ibom; Construction of Mbak Atai-Ikot Ntu-MkpetiOkuiboku Road project (13.86km), Akwa Ibom State; Ukparam Water Supply Scheme and Construction and Supervision of Omelema – Agada II Road, Rivers State. Project length 14.415km.
The minister explained that the above listed projects were proposed for termination as a result of lack of capacity to complete the work as witnessed on site, saying, “Gross lack of capacity problem, lack of seriousness on the project, lack of technical capacity to prosecute project and gross lack of competence by the contractors.”
Usani said the committee juxtaposed its findings from project sites against facts retrieved from available documents domiciled in the departments that supervised the projects.
According to him, there were violations of contract award process. Right from the cycle of procurement planning to contract award, the committee noticed inconsistencies with the provisions of vital aspects of the Procurement Act.
“Prominent among other issues of violation were indiscriminate award of contracts by initiating and benefiting departments without the leading and guiding role of the procurement department. Awards never took cognisance of availability of funds and annual appropriation provisions,” he said.
The minister said the structure and content of some contract agreements lacked checks and balances, saying that they hardly protected the interest of the Ministry in case of disputes.
He explained that the imminent picture of abandoned and uncompleted projects was as disturbing as the retinue of projects that extremely exceeded the dates of completion.