Dredging Of Calabar Port Is A Gimmick BY OBONO OBLA

In Breaking News, Business & Economy, Columnists, National News, Opinion, Politics, Reports
Barrister Obono Obla
Barrister Obono Obla

The other day some of my friends were praising President Good luck Jonathan and Liyel Imoke because of the fact that the Minister of Transport, Idris Umar visited Calabar to commission the contract awarded for the commencement of the dredging of the Calabar channel last week.

However my investigation has established that President Jonathan and Governor Imoke do not deserve any accolade because this is the second time in the last eight years that a contract will be awarded for the dredging of the Calabar Channel by the Federal Government of Nigeria. So, this latest one cannot not be a big deal.

There is yet no indication that this latest contract for the dredging of the Calabar Channel would be completed if past contracts awarded for the same project is anything to go by. So it is not yet uhuru!

It is only in Nigeria that when a road is constructed or when a school is built by government the people will start praising the President or Governor or Local Chairman profusely and showering accolades on them.

The former President Olusegun Obasanjo‘s administration awarded contract for the dredging of the Calabar Chanel in 2006 to two Dutch firms, Van Oord Limited and Jan-de-Nul for N9.8 Billion. Van Dord got $25m to dredge from kilometer 0-46; Jan-de-Nul got $30million to dredge from kilometer 46-84.

The project was consequently mired in controversy and litigation and substantial part of the contract was not executed by the two companies, who left the project site in December, 2006.

Until this moment nobody has questioned why these two companies abandoned the project!

It is also worthy to note that the Federal Government of Nigeria under the leadership of late General Sani Abacha awarded a contract in 1996 for the dredging of the Calabar Channel in the sum of N3 Billion but the contract was never executed.

The latest contract was awarded to Calabar Channel Management Company Limited for N20 Billion. It is not a big deal for the Federal Government to invest such money on the dredging of Calabar Channel. Recall that the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison Madueke spent N10 Billion to lease private jets on her wasteful globetrotting trips overseas.

So from my investigation the Federal Government of Nigeria between 1996 till this moment has spent a whooping sum of N32.08 Billion on several contracts awarded for the dredging of the Calabar Channel. It remains to be seen whether or not this latest contract will be executed.

So awarding a contract of just N20 Billion for a project in Cross River State by the PDP controlled Federal Government, can never be adequate compensation for 15 years of our peoples’ unalloyed support for PDP.

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