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Revelations As Delta Assembly House Committee Probe Contractor

By Kenneth Orusi, The Nigerian Voice, Asaba
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Several revelations and many yet undiscovered are surfacing as the Delta State House of Assembly (DTHA) Committee on Works continued the probe of one of the contractors engaged by the immediate past administration of Dr Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan and the incumbent Dr Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, to execute projects for the state government.

The probe has exposed mind-blowing revelations and acts of fraud running into several billions of naira on projects across the state which happened to have failed as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ULO Consultant Limited, Uche Okpunor, has formally withdrawn his service.

Chairman of the Committee on Works, Evance Ivwurie who was saddled with the responsibility of overseeing the works ministry in the state, kicked off over sight functions with members of the committee with ULO Consultancy Limited as their first point of assessment.

However, luck ran out on Chief Uche Okpunor’s ULO, as three key infrastructural projects handled by it, has either failed or been abandoned. These multi-billion projects situated in Delta North Senatorial district of the State are, the Asaba Airport Project, Dualization of Asaba/Ughelli (Sector C) Road Project and the Immortalized Maryam Babangida Way Dualization Project.

The Maryam Babangida Way which houses the Olorogun Felix Ibru State Secretariat, the State Branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the State Standard Library (On-going), the Maryam Babangida Memorial Building, Press Center of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) and several other State and Federal Government establishments, has never enjoyed the praise of road users in the State Capital.

The dualization project which was awarded to ULO Consultants Limited on the 16th of December 2009 at a contract sum of Six Hundred and Seventy-Four Million, Seven Hundred and Thirty-One Thousand, Three Hundred and Twelve Naira, Fifty Kobo (N674, 731, 312, 50), quickly fell into ruins after a shoddy job followed by a ceremonial commissioning by former Governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan.

This revelation was made public on Wednesday December 6, 2017, by the current Commissioner for Works, Hon James Augoye at the ongoing probe into the dilapidated memorial road by the House Committee on Works.

He disclosed that the 1.882km Maryam Babangida Way formerly Secretariat Road had no design at the time the contract was awarded stating that the ULO moved to site and started work with his own design without the knowledge of the Ministry of Works and had attained a substantial level before the involvement of the ministry.

Augoye further revealed that through investigation by the Ministry of Works, due to the absence of an initial design for the project, the road quickly failed due to the geographical disposition of the road and the closed ended drainages which led to constant settling of water on the road.

The Commissioner told the Committee that the overall work done on the road was 48.4% and that the project was never completed but just earned a ceremonial commissioning by the immediate past government which is against the backdrop of the contractors statements that the road was completed and commissioned.

While confirming payments made to ULO for the Dualization of Maryam Babangida Way, the Accountant General of the State, represented by the Deputy Accountant General who equally appeared before the committee confirmed that, the sum of One Hundred and Seventy-Nine Million, Four Hundred and Two Thousand, Four Hundred and Sixty-Six Naira, Ninety-One Kobo (N179,402,466,91) was duly paid to ULO Consultants Limited for Maryam Babangida Way and that all payments came with payment vouchers from related Ministries, noting that the Accountant General will not pay any money without vouchers.

While adjourning the investigation to Tuesday, 9th January 2018, Chairman of the Committee, Hon Evance Ivwurie tasked the Ministry of Works on the need to keep the Committee abreast of all final decision as regards the project.