A marine services company, Portplus Limited constructing a N736.4 million Ikpide-Irri road project in Isoko South local government area of Delta state has come under fire for carrying out shoddy job in the state.
This is because some concerned indigenes of the riverine community, have raised a fresh alarm over the purported continued poor quality of job being constructed in their community by the marine company.
The company is owned by an indigene of the community who is said to be an ally of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa.
The concrete pavement road contract which is said to have been awarded in March 2017 by the state governor to his crony has become subject of series of controversies for the past several months.
This is due to the poor quality of job being carried out by contractor.
It would be recalled that series of mass protests had greeted the project since inception and the Delta state government through the commissioner for works, James Aguoye, had during inspection last year certified the ongoing controversial N736.4 million Ikpide-Irri road project as substandard following low quality of materials been used.
Irked by the fresh poor quality of job over the weekend after the company resumed from the rainy season break, the community’s concerned indigenes stormed the construction site when the news of the shoddy job filtered into town.
To the chagrin of the indigenes, the marine company despite all past warnings, had continued with the shoddy job being done on the road project, a development which prompted them to challenged the workers to desist forthwith from the continuation of the work or face mass protest.
While concerned indigenes of the community especially the youths continued to stand their grounds for a standard quality of work on the road, an elder brother to the contractor who doubles as President-General of the community, Michael Omojefe, had last year reportedly said that the contract was a ‘kola-nut’ given to his younger brother by the governor for huge financial support rendered to the governor during his first tenure election.
Industry expert told newsmen the road stone basing and casting were in poor quality, while the quantity of the sharp sand was more than the cement which the indigenes condemned in its entirety, but the CLO, one Favour Udezi, said to have been singlehandedly appointed by the chairman of Portplus, described the poor stone basing and the casting as the “best standard ever”
One of the indigenes told our correspondent, “Governor Okowa had always told communities to as a matter of importance, take charge of government projects in their communities because they are the end users of such projects and for that we the youths and other concerned indigenes of Ikpide-Irri decided to wage war against substandard work on the road project awarded to a son of the soil. He wants to maximize big profits to the detriment of his people, what a shame!.
“This fight against the substandard job being carried out by Portplus limited, a marine service company has been on since last year which made the governor to mandate the works commissioner to go for inspection of the road and the commissioner was surprised with the poor quality of job and immediately he declared the job substandard and warned the contractor to deliver a standard job”.
Some of the company’s workers on site told newsmen at the site that the quality of job being described as poor was as a result of the alleged refusal of the company’s chairman and chief executive officer, (CEO), to release adequate funds after receipt of funds from the state government and that the “current poor quality” was what they were told to maintained.
According to one of the workers who pleaded anonymity, “Even we the workers on site know that the job we are doing is not good enough but it is not our fault. I think the recent funds received from the state government may have been diverted because only a paltry sum was released to us to work with. So how do you use peanuts to deliver good quality job?”, the worker queried.
The contract sum, it was learnt has been increased following the upward review of the job by the state government recently.
Speaking on the issue, Portplus site engineer, Frank Nnadi, who was not on ground, appealed for the story to be dropped, saying “I expected them to draw my attention to whatever observation made for immediate correction, not by going public, please I am appealing to you drop the story. We shall make all necessary corrections.”
Contacted, the Delta state commissioner for works, James Aguoye, promised to send down a team of engineers from the ministry to the site to see things for themselves and report back to him.