by crossriverwatch admin
Renovation work on the sprawling edifice of the Nigerian Chronicle, the official tabloid of the Cross River State government has been abandoned turning the place to a risky eyesore for both journalists and other staff of the paper.
The Nigerian Chronicle, with a weekly run print of about 2000 copies, was established in early 1973 by the former military governor of Cross River State, late Brigadier UJ Esuene and has served as breeding ground for grooming most journalists in both Cross River and Akwa Ibom States.
The paper has churned out respectable names in the Nigerian media industry, including Ray Ekpu, Paul Bassey, the former governor of the state, Dr Clement Ebri, etc.
The walls of the storey building are peeling off, the roof is leaking, wild weeds and rodents now compete with the handful of staff and journalists still eking out a living at the place.
Largely left unattended to for several decades by successive administrations, its sprawling edifice and other infrastructure were allowed to decay for several decades but our findings reveal that Senator Imoke decided to resuscitate and re-inject life into the place but even this effort seems to have been a waste of time and resources as the renovation work there has been abandoned several months after the sum of 22 million Naira was collected by the contractor.
Investigations by CrossRiverWatch confirmed that Senator Imoke approved the sum of N42 million for the total renovation of the interior and exterior of the dilapidated premises, which was nearly sold by his predecessor, Mr. Donald Duke who had planned to hand it over to one of his friends for hotel business which was stoutly rejected by journalists led by late John Ebri.
Documents available to CrossRiverWatch show that contract for the comprehensive renovation work was awarded to Messrs Crudelink Nigeria Limited through the ministry of lands and housing early in the year with initial mobilization fee of N22 million representing 40 percent of total contract cost but few weeks after preliminary work, the contractor and his staff stopped showing up for work in the place .
“We are in danger now because the doors, walls and floor were removed by the contractor but soon after the initial work, the people went away and now we are exposed to the elements”. A staff of the place told our reporter.
Several staff confirmed that the contractor has not been seen for several months now after tiling the floor of the General Manager’s office; but when Mr. Dominic Kidzu, the General manager was contacted on phone, he denied claims that work has stopped. “It is not true that the contractor has stopped the renovation work in this premises”
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