By Dayo Johnson
RESIDENTS of Ondo and Ekiti states, under the aegis of Great Patriots for Better Initiative, GPBI, yesterday, staged a protest over the alleged desertion of the N22 billion Akure/Ado-Ekiti road dualization awarded over 15 months ago by the Federal Government.
The protesters stormed the Igboba axis of the highway, in Akure metropolis, to express their displeasure over the deplorable state of the road and lack of commitment to the project.
The group accused the contractor of failing to move to the site, 15 months after mobilization fees was paid by the government for the dualization of the road.
They displayed placards of various inscriptions such as: ‘Too Much Kidnappings and Raping on Akure/Ado-Ekiti road’, Buhari is Not our Enemy but Public Officers’, ‘Govs Fayemi/Akeredolu may not be Happy with the Slowness of Akure/Ado Ekiti road Project’ and ‘Revoke Akure/ Ado Ekiti road Contract from Dantata and Sawoe’, among others.
Speaking during the protest, the head of Project Monitoring of GPBI, Mr. Niyi Majofodun, said: “The state of the road has continued to aid activities of criminals engaging in kidnappings and killing.”
With the highway barricaded during the protest, Mojofodun said: “The dualization of Akure–Ado-Ekiti road was awarded to Dantata and Sawoe in 2020 and subsequently got mobilized in November 2020 however, the contractor refused to move to the site until a few days ago after our organization had petitioned the office of the Director-General of BPP over the abandonment of the project.
“It is on record that killings, kidnappings, robberies, raping and terrible motor accident have become uncontrollable on the said road (Akure–Ado-Ekiti).
“Mr. President should not allow his name to be dragged into the mud on this matter since he had performed his Constitutional right by awarding the contract and subsequently mobilized the contractor. Therefore, he must ensure his directive is complied with and carry out.
“The President may wish to review this contract without delay as Dantata and Sawoe continue to demonstrate an unwillingness to perform.”
“For instance, the road project was awarded in 2020 by the President for N22, 663,451,303.61 to Dantata and Sawoe Company with a reasonable amount of mobilization which was however abandoned by the said company.”
Speaking with newsmen, some stakeholders in the state, Mr. Biyi Poroye, said that the attitude of the contractor towards the project had become a huge concern, particularly on residents and motorists.
Also, the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State on Citizen Engagement and Grassroot Communication, Josemaria Adeusi said: “If a contractor has been mobilized 15 months ago and he has not done anything significant that we can see to attest that he is ready to work, the best to do is to revoke the contract.”