Jubilation rented the air as the people of Ikpide-Irri community in Isoko south local government area of Delta state finally got victory over the controversial Ikpide-Irri substandard road contract awarded as “Kola-nut” contract to PORTPLUS Limited at the sum running over N700 million.
The project, which has received much criticism over poor execution and application of substandard materials has finally seen the state government insisting that the ongoing construction work must meet specifications as stated in the Bill Of Quantity (BOQ).
Speaking to newsmen on Thursday shortly after inspecting the rigid pavement, the state commissioner for works, James Augoye, said “I have gone round the project; I have seen things for myself. All the issues raised by Isoko Monitoring Group and other individuals as regards the failures of box curvets as well as the contractor not working according to specifications, I have seen all.”
He ordered for the immediate removal of the curvets that failed, adding “the other ones that have appeared to us to be solid have to undergo test. Because the truth is that you may look at it with your eyes and you will think that it is solid, until it goes through test, you may not know.”
He disclosed that the test is geared towards knowing the durability of the curvets, “but if not, like I have told him, the entire curvets have to be demolished and we are going to work according to our specifications which has to do with the real curvets. I have told the director and he is going to work with the field engineers and the contractor to ensure that what we are doing here is road that will stand the test of time”, he assured.
He appealed to members of the community to be patient and coperate with the contractor, pointing out that the petitioners want the good of the community.
Hear him: “This is what we want, when you observe failures, please do not fail to inform us, we are there to serve you; you are part of the government and the government is yours”.
The commissioner called on the leadership of the community not to see the petitioners as being confrontational, saying: “it is for the good of every one of us”, admonishing them to work together harmoniously.
Augoye hinted that the state governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, believes that every project that he is executing must be done to specification, noting: “what has happened here is an eye opener and it is going to help us in the inspection of projects in other parts of the state.”
Fielding questions from journalists, Augoye said the project was cited in the community to open up every area to boost economic activities.
He said: “This community is one community that is like a border town between Delta State and Bayelsa State and of course, we have our brothers and sisters; the Isoko people living in this area and so we must give them sense of belonging by opening up the area”, noting that the rigid concrete pavement was introduced because of the swampy nature of the area.
On the alleged refusal of the contractor to engage the indigenes, the commissioner said, “it is our deliberate policy to ensure that our contractors engage the locals where they are operating.
“We address the contractor on this from time to time that it is only when you have the specialized aspect of your job and you don’t have the people in that area that you look elsewhere”
He assured the community that he would have a meeting with the contractor next week where issues raised by the community would be deliberated upon to ensure that he works to specification and deliver the job as expected.