by crossriverwatch admin
The Federal Government Skill Acquisition Center constructed by the Ministry of Niger Delta at Ikot Nakanda, Akpabuyo Local Government Area of Cross River State may have abandoned after all.
The skill acquisition Center whose foundation was laid in 2009 along three others in the Niger Delta with the intention to train Niger Delta Youths on various skills is far from completion according to CrossRiverWatch findings.
The inherited project by Goodluck Jonathan’s administration was to be completed and commissioned by the immediate past Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe in June 2013.
Already, according to a community source, the project is causing environmental hazard to the host village of Ikot Nakanda as drinking water from the only stream has become unsafe for domestic use and the erosion is said to be endangering aquatic life in the area.
The Community Liason Officer of the Area and Youth Leader of Ikot Nakanda, Comrade Effiong Effiom who spoke with newsmen said the hope of the community is dashed because they stand to lose from both sides if the project is abandoned.
“When the project was brought here the people in this community were very happy that their youth will benefit from the employment opportunities and training thereon, so the community was not given compensation for the land because our fathers were happy to see the place developed especially when we were told that the project will be completed in 18 months in 2009.
“As it is now, we don’t even have any hope of completion not to talk of the commissioning the project.
“The hope of our people to benefit from in short, medium and long term from the project and the various youth empowerment programs that were promised is being dashed because this is April and there is no hope.
“We were told that the project will be completed within eighteen month which should have been 2011 but it appears it has been abandoned because the last time the supervising Minister of Niger Delta Darius Ishaku came here, he talked of re-awarding the contract; that the ministry is having problems with the companies handling the project saying ‘they are not performing’.
“This gave us a serious concern because how can a Minister be saying that a contractor is not performing and he has not announced the termination of the contract?
The youth leader said they hope that the project is not abandoned because the community is already affected.
“The damage it has caused presently to the stream in the environment is unquantifiable because if it rains now the whole communities is buying water because erosion coming from the project site will change the color of the only stream and kill aquatic animals in the water.” he said.
Also speaking about the project Miss Comfort Okon who stays around the area said the last time she saw contractors on site working was in late 2013.
“The last time I saw them working was last year before December, it is affecting our small businesses here because the workers patronize our food.” she said.
Reacting to the allege abandonment, the Minister of Niger Delta, Arch Darius Ishaku said the project was not abandoned stressing that the ministry has problem with the contractor but will soon solve it.
“The delay in completion of Bakassi/Akpabuyo Skill Acquisition Center is due to poor performance from the contractor and we are trying to address it. We hope that very soon the work will begin again.” he said.
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