For the first time since Asaba International Airport was contracted to ULO consultants since 2008, officials of Delta state government have expressed displeasure over the shoddy job being done by the contracting firm.
ULO consultants, an indigenous contracting firm which handled most heavy projects in Delta during the administration of former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, has been on the airport construction but it is yet to be delivered with different issues arising from time to time.
The foundation laying stone of the airport was laid by Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, a former national chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on May 7, 2008.
Since 2008 till date, investigation has revealed that not less than N45billion must have been consumed by the airport but its completion date and delivery still remain a matter of conjecture.
This is even as a staff who works at the airport told emeraldng.com that any time inquisition is made into the completion date of the airport, the ULO staffers have no good response to give.
On a yearly basis, the Delta state government does make budgetary provision for the airport but the people of Delta state are yet to get a feel of the many billions the airport has gulped from the state government.
It is yet to generate any tangible revenue for the state government following its poor performance since it was downgraded on May 5, 2015 by the Nigerian aviation authority. The airlines which operate at the airport, Aero contractors, Arik air and Overland Airways have been going off and on.
Hence, on Friday, members of the Delta state house committee on works, visited the airport to assess thr level of work done by the consultants on the airport runway, but rather than leave the airport with a success story, the committee members led by Evans Iwurie were dissatisfied over the level of work done by ULO consultants. The inspection was part of the oversight function of the house.
Iwhurie explained that the house committee on works embarked on the inspection to evaluate and access the level of work done so far, saying that Governor Okowa had committed huge amount of money to infrastructural development in the state, especially the Asaba Airport.
The chairman expressed dismay that only 25% of the rehabilitation work had been completed on the project which was meant to be delivered on November 27, 2017.
According to him, the state government had made full payment for the project, saying that the house committee on works had invited ULO construction company to appear before it.
“The state government and all stakeholders including the finance institutions connected to the project are involved to ensure the completion of the project which is a pro-people and pro-development one.” Hon. Iwhurie stated.
However, Iwhurie gave an assurance that all buildings erected on the airport land would be demolished for the safety of lives and properties of Deltans.
The project manager, ULO Construction Company, Engr. Jerome Adeyemi, while conducting the members round the project, failed to give cogent reasons why the contractor could not deliver the project within the stipulated time.
Other members on the joint inspection were the commissioner for works, Chief James Augoye, the acting permanent secretary, Engr Fred Edafioghor.