Akwa Ibom State Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio
By Okon Bassey and Christopher Isiguzo
Akwa Ibom State Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio,Sunday asked German companies to collaborate with the state government in the construction of Ibaka Deep Seaport, refinery, ammonia and fertiliser plants in the Free Trade Zone (FTZ) approved by the Federal Government for the state.
The is coming on the heels of reports that leaders of the Enugu North senatorial district led by the chairman of the Senate Committee on Works, Senator Ayogu Eze, had appealed to the Federal Government to revoke the contract for the N2.5 billion Adada Dam and Water Treatment Plant project awarded about a year ago in the area.
Akpabio who made the call at the weekend when the Chairman of Bilfinger Berger SE Roland, Koch paid him a courtesy visit at the Governor's Lodge, Uyo also wanted a German company to be involved in the management of Maintenance, Repairs and Overhaul (MRO) facility in Akwa Ibom International Airport, Uyo.
The governor who said Julius Berger had done well and excelled marvellously in delivering high quality, standard buildings and roads imbued more confidence in bringing more German engineers and companies to help in building a better and great Akwa Ibom.
He recalled that before assumption of duty, he had visited the headquarters of Julius Berger (JB) in Abuja to participate in rebuilding Akwa Ibom and commended the company for providing quality jobs in the state.
“Julius Berger has done tremendously well in Akwa Ibom. I will like to build an enduring infrastructure in my state and I will like to partner you. Five years of relating with you has been mutually beneficial.
Akpabio noted that the company is rated high in performance and quality and urged it to sustain the high ranking, adding: “It is good that Nigeria is given an opportunity to have a say in the company.”
He sued the company to increase the momentum of performance in completing the Olympic-sized stadium currently under construction in Uyo, the state capital.
Chairman of Bilfinger Berger SE, said it was a great honour to be in Nigeria and thanked Akwa Ibom Government for giving the company opportunity to assist in the development of the state.
Koch who was accompanied by the Managing Director of Julius Berger International, Hens Jekenson, and the Managing Director of Julius Berger, Nigeria, Wolfgang Koch, noted that the company's relationship with Nigeria was lasting.
Meanwhile, the Nsukka leaders also called for the prosecution of the contractor who is handling the project, Rudo Nigeria Limited for its inability to handle the job after receiving a mobilisation sum of about N289 million.
THISDAY checks revealed that the anger of the Nsukka leaders stemmed from the fact that the contract which was awarded in June last year had not progressed beyond the site clearing even as grasses had overtaken the entire area earlier cleared. Senator Eze had penultimate week written a petition to the Minister of Water Resources asking for the revocation of the contract.
But, in a joint news briefing by Eze alongside chairman of Uzo-Uwani council area, Cornel Onwubuja, chairman of Igboetiti, Festus Ozoemena, and chairman of Nsukka council, Tony Ugwu, the leaders insisted that anything short of revoking the contract and prosecution of the contactor would not be acceptable to them.
While accusing the contractor of incompetence and corruption as well as attempt to undermine the people of the area who area having the proposed Dam as the only federal government project in their zone, the leaders made it clear that the people of the area were no longer comfortable with the contractor and could decide to take laws into their hands if nothing is done within a reasonable time frame.
“For somebody to collect a whooping sum of N289 million for the past one year and refused to put anything on ground is fraudulent and accordingly should be prosecuted by the government.
The contractor’s claim that he was been delayed as a result of the non-readiness of the engineering design is balderdash. How did he get the job in the first place with the design? Let him come and explain and afterwards handover to a more competent contractor that could handle the job,” they noted.
They also expressed fear that based on the technicalities associated with the project, any error in executing the job could spell untold doom on the people of Nsukka zone since the project has to do with Dam and water treatment plant, adding “any mistake will put the rest of us at risk”.
THISDAY checks revealed that the project when completed is expected to supply water to several communities including Aku, Nkpologwu, Nsukka urban and environs as well as provide water for minor irrigation for all year round food production.
Eze had in his petition entitled; “Letter of complaint; Adada Dam and Water Treatment Plant Project’, and dated April 2, said it was curious that the contractor could behave the way he did since May 2011 in which the mobilization was paid leading to the ground breaking ceremony.
He said, “This conduct of the said Messer Rudo Nigeria Ltd is without doubt calculated to defraud the people of my senatorial district and embarrass me, who is the project facilitator.
“The people of the Enugu north senatorial district, the main beneficiaries of this project, are wondering what has gone wrong with a facility that was designed to boost commerce and agriculture in the area while creating wealth and generating employment.”
Eze in the petition prayed the Minister to “recover the mobilization paid to the said contractors since about May 2011, without anything to show for it, prosecute the contractors for fraud and award the contract for the construction of the dam and its related water components to a more experienced and trustworthy company, with proven expertise in dam construction.”