Why we abandoned Adamawa irrigation project, by contractor
The contractor handling construction of Dugwuba Earth and Irrigation Dam, in Hong Local Council area of Adamawa State, Umar Tela, has explained why the project was abandoned. He blamed the hostility of the community for the abandonment.
Mr. Tela made the disclosure before the joint National Assembly committee of Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions Committee investigating the N733.7 million contracts.
Tela, who is the chief executive officer of Quartz Solar Energy Systems Limited, told journalists in Abuja, that the Upper Benue River Basin Development Authority awarded the 18-month contract in 2011.
He narrated that in January 2015, some “youths from Garaha community stormed the construction site and ordered our men to stop work, until compensations were paid to them for the destruction of farmlands and economic trees.”
The contractor added that despite appeals to allow them handle the matter appropriately; they insisted workers vacate the site within five hours, to which they complied.
He further recounted that all efforts to get his client to pay the villagers’ entitlements have not been successful.
According to him, his firm wrote a proposal to the authority on how the compensations were to be paid; having been assured that over N11 million was released to them in 2014.
Tela added that his client duly informed him that compensations had been paid, even though he never witnessed the payments.
He explained that, “The project was on priority list of River Basin Development Authority, adding in 2015, the sum of N56.2million was allocated, out of which N12.6 million was made available to offset the compensations.”
According to him, while he was mobilising to return to site in August of that year, Boko Haram insurgents attacked Garaha village, 2.8 kilometres to the site, killing one Daniel Yusuf, an official of the river basin authority.
He said he has been assured that negotiations were on going with the host communities on how to effect the final compensations.