Isoko ring road: Communities petition Okowa over slow pace, poor work; demands revocation

By Kelvin Ohoror

The Isoko Communities who are the immediate beneficiaries of the Isoko Ring Road Project cutting across Isoko North and Isoko South Local Government Areas have cried to the state Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa to either order the contractor back to site to execute an acceptable job or revoke and re-award it to a competent contactor due to the slow pace and shoddy quality of the job done so far.

In a petition dated 20th April, 2023 and signed by Engr. Cyril Jeke, the President- General of Ofagbe Community, on behalf of Ellu, Ovrode, Okpe–Isoko, Uro and Ada–Irri Communities, the people complained that the project awarded for over Six Billion Naira and later reviewed to well over Seven Billion Naira has suffered so much delay and that the quality of work that has been done by DORA–DAN GLOBAL RESOURCES, the contracting firm is far below expectation.

The people lamented that the few areas asphalted by the contractor so far are shabbily done so much that if it rains, water gathers in the center of the road with the tendency that the asphalt will be washed away in no distant time.

In addition, the people noted that the sand filling is below the desired level in several areas just as the ongoing construction of the major bridge on the road is so abysmal that if nothing is done quickly, the coming flood will be very devastating to Ofagbe, Ovrode and the environs.

The aggrieved communities stated further that; “It is quite disheartening that as we write, the contractor only has one tipper, one grader and one old bulldozer on site even though Government had approved very reasonable variation on the project.”

They averred that,”this clearly shows that the contractor is incompetent, ill prepared and not committed.”

While thanking the state Governor for his magnanimity and show of love as a legacy of his identification with the Isoko people with the award of the multi billion naira road project, the people appealed to Governor Okowa to bequeath to them a parting gift by “either directing the contractor to fully mobilize to site immediately and execute an acceptable job or have the contract revoked and re-awarded to a more competent and tested contractor.”

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On the role of the awarding Ministry, the concerned Isoko Communities also took a swipe at the Ministry of Works whom they accused as “nonchalant in supervising the project to ensure compliance with the Bill of Quantity (BOQ) and work plan as expected.”

Meanwhile, all efforts to reach the CEO of the contracting firm, Mr. Nkedi Patrick on his mobile line to get his reaction proved abortive as at the time of filling this report.

Similarly, no official of the Ministry of works was ready to volunteer information on the project in the absence of the Hon. Commissioner and the Permanent Secretary when our team visited the Ministry Headquarters, Asaba on Thursday 20th April 2023.

It could be recalled that the said road tagged “Isoko Ring Road” which cuts across the two Isoko Local Government Areas was awarded in 2021 with an upward review of the cost in 2022 after the floods just as the State Government also cited increasing cost of construction materials and other inputs amongst others.

In a related development, our investigations revealed that given the unwarranted delay in delivering the project which is said to be just about 30 – 35% completion after two years, the communities on the road corridor had warmed up for a week long peaceful protest but were prevailed upon to shelve it after some political leaders intervened and offered to reach out to the state Governor to quickly step into the matter.

This move according to sources is to save the system from such public embarrassment and odium, especially at the eve of the departure of the Okowa administration.

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