May 23, 2024

Reps query contractors over abandoned projects after 85% payment

Reps query contractors over abandoned projects after 85% payment

•Say some contractors part of Nigeria’s problem

By Gift ChapiOdekina

The House of Representatives Committee on Niger Delta Ministry has queried the contractors handling the skill acquisition center at Iwuo Achang in Ibeno Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.

Chairman of the Committee, Eugene Dibiagwu, issued the query at the investigative hearing on the abandoned skill acquisition center in Abuja.

According to him, the lack of commitment by the contractors has made them part of the problem Nigeria is facing over abandoned projects.

He added that it was ridiculous that the project was yet to be completed after the contractors had been  paid 85 per cent of the contract sum.

“As a contractor that has been paid up to 85 percent, you were supposed to have completed that project; you know the reason why you have not; we will not allow the project to die that way.

“We understand the situation we found ourselves in in the country economically regarding the cost of materials.

“We will engage the ministry of Niger Delta so that they will know whether to consider further valuation for your request for additional money,” he said.

The lawmaker expressed shock that part of the fence built by the contractors had broken, saying the committee would unravel whether the fence the contractor built that fell was their fault or that of a natural cause.

He, however, charged the contractors to do everything possible to complete the project, adding that the committee would not join issues with the contractor until the project was completed.

The committee said if the skill acquisition center must work with all the necessary facilities to make it functional, it would require an additional N2 billion from the N4.2 billion earlier quoted for the project.

He said:  “We are looking at an additional N2 billion, which will bring the total project to N6.2 billion, having committed N4 2 billion initially.

“Even if we commit N6.2 billion, the center will not still work, considering what is left to be done. That center cannot train one person, even with N6.2 billion.”

The committee added that this was because the center would accommodate training workshops, train personnel to man the center, and also equip the training center to work.

It would be recalled that the House had on Nov. 23, 2023, deliberated on a motion, titled “Need to Complete the Construction of the Skill Acquisition Center at Iwuo Achang, Ibeno Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.”

The House had urged the Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to ensure completion of the project within the 2024 fiscal year and mandated the Committee on Niger Delta Ministry to ensure compliance.

However, the chairman stated that the contract for the center was awarded on March 15, 2010, by the Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to three companies.

He stated that the project had reached about 85 per cent completion 12 years ago but was abandoned due to an unexpected increase in the price of goods.

“This, he said, left the property vandalised and in deplorable condition. The contractors, who appeared before the committee include Stegis International Agency Nigeria Ltd., a civil construction building, and Enarosol Nigeria Ltd., a landscaping and perimeter fencing company.

Others are Y. S. Associates, Electrical and Mechanical Works. The contractors, who tried albeit unsuccessful to defend their actions, were requested to appear with copies of the contract agreement, interim performance certificates, and any other relevant documents relating to the project.