Except the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs gives urgent attention to the Niger Delta skills Acquisition Center located at Ikot Nakanda in Akpabuyo Local Government Area of Cross River State, the over N2billion Naira project may be washed away by an exposed gully erosion.
Findings by crossriverwatch have revealed that the skills acquisition center was hurriedly awarded by the Ministry of Niger Delta in 2010 without paying attention to the challenges of the soil texture and composition.
The project which was part of the palliative measures to pacify and engage the youths of the Niger Delta when completed was muted by the late Yar’adua’s administration under the former Minister of Niger Delta, Ufot Ekaette but implemented by the Goodluck Administration with Godsday Orubebe as Minister.
With three lots, the project includes conference Center, Hostel, ICT Center, Olympic standard swimming pool, Indoor Games, Gallery and Staff quarters among others, the August dateline for the completion and commissioning of the project is doubtful due to the challenges at hand.
“Problem of terrain is a huge challenge here, as you can see the land is threatened by gully erosion that is almost dividing the site into two. The land itself was not made known to government before it paid, the gully is moving into the village and don’t forget that we are going into the raining season which is in torrents when it commences here” said the site engineer, Godwin Emorinkin
Continuing “Another challenge we have here is the problem of fund which government is holding, they are giving us completion date without making the commensurate funds available, how do we marry the delay in payment and completion target given with this huge challenge of gully erosion that has almost taken over the whole site? On our part, the dateline is realizable but we want government to address these challenges as I told you. This Erosion problem should be a separate contract, but we are doing our palliative measures to make the work going, however variation into this contract sum is inevitable”, Emorinkin said.
The representative of the consultant of the project Sunday Abu-Somuan told crossriverwatch that “The gully came as a result of the way and manner in which the contract was awarded. The consultant was not allowed to inspect the project site by the community before the federal government through the Ministry of Niger Delta paid them. By the time we see the mountain they described as a surface table land, the payment had been made and government said we must continue with the work. It’s like fighting Nature; the result is what you are seeing today. In fact, we have to redesign some of the original plan, the work-in-progress of the building is going at speed but the erosion is a challenge it is as bad as you see it yourself”.
One of the contractors Alabi Aderemi said the staff quarters, ICT and indoor games sections of the facility are 95% completed. He however pointed out that the ICT building is being threatened by the gully erosion.
“The current of water is high here and as you can see, the ICT building is being threatened by the gully”, he said.
When journalists asked the Minster of Niger Delta Affairs, Godsday Orubebe when he visited government house Calabar, he accepted that the project is being threatened by erosion.
“Government did not consider the erosion plan when the project was awarded. We are going to look into it. It’s before the Ministry and it’s not about variation alone, the contract of that gully erosion must be awarded separately”, Orubebe said.
Asked whether the four months promise he gave to the Cross River State government for the commissioning of the project is feasible, the Minister who did not inspect the level of work done on the site before hurriedly moving with his team to Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State Capital said, “I can assure you it will be completed and commissioned at the mentioned date”.
follow us on twitter @crossriverwatch
Since You Are Here, Support Good Journalism
CrossRiverWatch was founded on the ideals of deploying tech tools to report in an ethical manner, news, views and analysis with a narrative that ensures transparency in governance, a good society and an accountable democracy.
Everyone appreciates good journalism but it costs a lot of money. Nonetheless, it cannot be sacrificed on the altar of news commercialisation.
Consider making a modest contribution to support CrossRiverWatch's journalism of credibility and integrity in order to ensure that all have continuous free access to our noble endeavor.