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Delta House asks firm to refund N7.4b for Asaba-Ughelli road project


Delta State House of Assembly

• Contractors return to site on govt’s orders
• Edo Assembly sacks EDSOGPADEC board over alleged misconduct

The Delta State House of Assembly yesterday recommended that ULO Consults, the contractor handling the 46 kilometers section of the Asaba-Ughelli road should refund the N7.4 billion it collected for the project due to non-performance.

Chief Executive Officer of the firm, Luke Okpunor, had recently notified the state government of his intention to pull out of the Asaba Airport project.Chairman, House Committee on Works, Evance Ivwurie, who led other members of the committee on inspection of the road project as part of the oversight functions of the House, lamented the contractor’s attitude.

He said after collecting the last N566 million from state government, he failed to mobilise to site.Represented by Gabriel Okpunor, Jerome Adeyemi and Alli Bugawe, the contractor however, claimed that the state government owed the firm for works done so far, as certificates raised on the projects have not been paid.

But Ivwurie alleged that poor execution of the road project, the airport project and the Mariam Babangida Road, which were awarded to the company have been a source of embarrassment to the state government.

What is evident from the inspections and evaluation of the construction of Mariam Babangida’s Way and Sector C of the Asaba-Ughelli Road dualisation is that the contractor has abandoned the two projects.

“We believe that our laws and contracting policies can never be taken for granted by any contractor and this committee has the legal and moral responsibility to get all non-performing contractors in the state to refund payments for work not done,” he said.

However, in line with the recent directive by the state government to contractors handling road projects in various parts of the state to return to site, a number of them are back to their project locations.

Commissioner for Information, Patrick Ukah, in a statement in Asaba said it was not true that contractors abandoned their work as the rains contributed to the delay in the completion of the projects.He disclosed that government decided that the contractors should wait for the dry season before continuing the projects full swing.

Meanwhile, the Edo State House of Assembly yesterday dissolved the Edo State Oil and Gas Producing Area Development Commission (EDSOGPADEC) board over issues bothering over alleged misconduct.

The dissolution was sequel to the request letter signed by Governor Godwin Obaseki to the House requesting it to dissolve EDSOGPADEC board.

Speaker of the House, Kabiru Adjoto shortly after dissolving the board, directed that all government property in their possession be returned to the most senior person in the commission by 10 am today. Member representing Orihionmwon South constituency and majority leader, Roland Asoro, who led the debate for the dissolution of the board, said the dissolution was inevitable and long overdue following its failure to deliver on its responsibility.

“The board members have failed in their responsibilities to the people in the oil producing communities. It has not deemed it fit to submit the commission’s financial report to the House since they were constituted,” he said.

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