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IMG, Delta govt condemn N1.5bn Ikpide-Irri road project

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A pressure group, Isoko Monitoring Group, (IMG), has raised the alarm concerning the poorly executed N1.5 billion road project at Ikpide-Irri riverine community, Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta state by a Lagos state based marine company, Portplus Nigeria limited.

To address the failure and refusal of the company to maintain standards and quality in the construction of the road, the group petitioned the firm to the Delta state government for appropriate action against the contractor who is an indigene of the community.

The strong worded petition entitled “Ikpide-Irri Internal Road: The Need To Properly Monitor The Contractor and Stop The Ongoing Shoddy Job” and addressed to the state government through the office of the Special Adviser to the governor, on project monitoring and evaluation, lamented the refusal of the contractor to adhere strictly to standards and quality.

The group, which has been at the forefront agitating against the poor execution of the ongoing internal road works in Ikpide-Irri town, admonished in the petition signed by the groups’ spokesman, Dr. Kingsley Oroh, Ph.D, that Portplus firm should be stopped immediately or else the efforts and resources of the state government will be a waste.

“We have been able to established before now that the contractor, Portplus Limited that is handling the project has done jobs which fell below the generally accepted standard and that of the Bill of Quantity (BOQ) of the the project. The Contractor needs to be cautioned and made to follow the BOQ of the project to avoid giving the Delta State government a very bad image.

“We want to believe that your office as the Special Adviser is designed to unearth projects that are being executed poorly across the state and hold such erring contractors accountable in order to avoid deliberate attempts to discredit the government of the day and paint it in bad light before the general public.

“While we are happy that the second approved drainage system is now being constructed, we want to state categorically that the job being done is way below average and needs to be discontinued.”

Following IMG’s petition the state government on Thursday paid an unscheduled visit to the site, and expressed disappointment and declared the multi billion naira road project by Portplus firm as nothing but substandard.

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa had in 2017 awarded the first phase of the contract to Portplus at N736,404,555.60, and in 2019 was reviewed upward to over a billion naira which the elder brother of the contractor and president-general of the community, Michael Omojefe, said was a ‘kola nut’ contract given by the governor as appreciation to his younger brother for contributing to the governor’s electoral victory in 2015.

Speaking during the unscheduled visit, Special Adviser to the state governor on Project Implementation, Evaluation and Monitoring, Johnson Erijo, in company of a team of engineers and government officials, frowned at the low quality of job by Portplus firm, describing the substandard job as unfortunate and a wastage of state government resources.

Erijo, while disclosing that the unscheduled visit to the site was as a result of the petition written by the Isoko Monitoring Group, condemned in its entirety the job done so far by the firm, adding that what is on ground can not stand the test of time.

“This is unacceptable, governor Ifeanyi Okowa will not accept this poor quality of job. The governor is very unhappy with the huge resources he has put so far into this project. Just recently the contract gained upward review and there is nothing on ground to show good quality of job and value for money. Government must get value for funds released for projects.”

A source in the team confided in our correspondent that the contractor who is an indigene of the community and strong financial member of the Peoples Democratic Party in the state decided to embark on a low quality job with the mindset that no body in the community would be bold enough to challenge him and he could bribe his way through.

A senior official of Portplus limited who spoke with our correspondent at the site and pleaded for anonymity, accused the chairman of the firm of not releasing enough funds to deliver a standard quality job to his community, lamenting that “Once the state government credited the company’s bank account, the chairman takes everything and gives peanuts to us to work with.”

The contract had generated series of controversy following protests and petitions by indigenes and pressure groups in the state as a result of the substandard job, with the state government led by the commissioner for works, James Augoye in company of engineers from the ministry to visit the site in 2018 and threatened to blacklist Portplus firm over shoddy job.

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