…Warns Communities Against Sabotaging Project
The Rivers State government has reawarded the Andoni section of the Ogoni-Andoni-Opobo Unity road project to a new contractor, Monier Construction Company (MCC), more than six weeks after the contract was revoked.
Governor Siminalayi Fubara, had on June 11, 2023, revoked the contract after paying an unscheduled visit to the road, which when completed, will link communities in Andoni local government area to other parts of the state.
LEADERSHIP observed the unity road project, which was initiated about 24 years ago by the administration of former Governor Peter Odili, had the Ogoni and Opobo sections of the road completed while the Andoni section, awarded to Rafaul Construction Company is yet to be completed.
Addressing traditional rulers and other stakeholders of Andoni, at Government House, Port Harcourt yesterday, Fubara said although it was painful to the state government to reaward the contract considering that amount involved, he said it was the sacrifice the state government had to make for the happiness of the people of the area.
The governor urged communities in the area not to sabotage the road project, through kidnappings and other criminal acts, saying that the stars government will pull out of the project if things get out of hand.
He said: “About two years ago, we had this meeting at the Rivers State Executive Council Chamber where the immediate-past governor discussed with Andoni people and leaders on the way forward on that your road. In that meeting, the contractor was asked several questions.
“It got to a stage that we even offered him what it will take; it was a blank check. I was Accountant-General of the state then, so, I was privy to that meeting. And he (contractor) said he needed a certain amount of money to complete the project.
“The commissioner for Works was also in that meeting. We agreed and made that allowance for him. The monies for the project were all paid except the retention fund, which was about a billion naira.
“But, it is really unfortunate that there was no progress in that work. The road was not progressing, there was always stories here and there. When we came for campaigns, we did promise you and I promised that if there is one project I will do for you is to make sure that the road is completed.
“When we invited the contractor again, he was not showing any serious sign that he wants to do the job. We were left with only one option but to cancel that project, which you were all aware. I came there myself and said that project is cancelled and that we are going to reaward it to a more serious contractor.
“So, we are here today to let you know that the project has been reawarded to MCC. It pains us as a government because a project that had been paid 90 percent and now, we reaward the project for completion spending same amount of money again.
“You are aware of what the contractor has done; although the person behind the contractor is your brother. But, he is also my brother, but we are not going to that. That is what we have used to do sacrifice for your people.
“But, this time around, we are not going back on that project, we must complete that project. We are not just saying we want to complete it, we have already paid 30 percent of the new contract sum. We have paid the contractor and he is ready to enter the site any moment from now.
“Let me say this, we will need you support to achieve this project. But, if there is any act of sabotage; sabotage, I mean, trying to frustrate the contractor, through kidnap or whatever, and it gets to that point that it is really bad, we are pulling out and my administration will not talk anything about that road again. But, I don’t want us to get to that point.”