Some youths of Ikpide-Irri community in Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State, on Monday, protested against a contracting firm, Portplus Limited, over what they described as ‘poor execution’ of a major road project in the riverine community.
The contract for concrete pavement road in Ikpide-Irri was awarded in early 2017 by the state government at the cost of N736 million to Portplus Limited said to be a marine service company.
But the protesting youths alleged that the contracting firm was using sub-standard materials in the execution of the project, and warned that they would drag the company to the anti-graft agencies if it failed to adhere to approved scope and specification.
The protesters carried placards with various inscriptions including ‘Portplus Give Ikpide-Irri Standard Road’, ‘Ikpide-Irri People Say No To Substandard Construction’, ‘Governor Okowa Call Portplus To Order All We Are Saying Is Good Job’, ‘Ikpide-Irri Deserves Standard Road Not Cut And Nail’, ‘We Say No To Use Of 10MM Rods For Construction Of Culverts’, ‘EFCC, ICPC Other Anti-Graft Agencies Must Hear This’, among others.
Leader of the protest, Sebastian Agbefe, who is also the President of Isoko Monitoring Group (IMG), called on the contractor to immediately destroy and reconstruct all the culverts in the community that were done with 10mm instead of 16mm according to the Bill of Quantity (BOQ).
“This is a fraud of the highest order, this is pure wickedness and we can no longer fold our arms and watch anybody shortchange us because of personal greed and selfishness.
“We are warning the contractor to destroy all the culverts done with 10mm and reconstruct same with 16mm according to the BOQ.
“The contractor should also make sure that both sides drains are constructed on the road and must use standard materials specified on the BOQ. Any attempt to compromise standards as far as this contract is concerned, Portplus will be made to face EFCC and ICPC,” Agbefe threatened.
He enjoined indigenes of the community, especially the youths not to take the laws into their hands even as he challenge all communities in Isoko nation to be involved in the monitoring of execution of government projects in their various domains.
One of the protesters who simply identified himself Edafe alleged that last week during inspection by some officials of the state Ministry of Works, one of the culverts constructed with 10mm rods collapsed.
Commissioner for Works, James Augoye, who did not respond to calls on his cell phone, simply replied to a text message that he “will send my Engineers to verify the claims.”