Group, youths protest abandoned N22bn Akure/Ado-Ekiti road project

•Shutdown vehicular movement

Youths and residents of Ondo and Ekiti States under the aegis of Great Patriot for Better Initiative (GPBI), on Wednesday, blocked the Akure-Ado-Ekiti road, protesting over the abandoned N22 billion road project by the contractor handling the road.

The protesters who trooped out as early as 9 am in their number frowned over the alleged lackadaisical attitude of the contractor towards the project despite the payment of mobilization fee some 15 months ago by the government for the dualization of the road.

The aggrieved protesters who paralyzed commercial and social activities, disrupted vehicular movement for several hours, while they are armed with placards of various inscriptions, such as “Too much of kidnapping, raping on Akure-Ado-Ekiti road”, “Governor Fayemi may not be too happy with the slowness of Akure-Ado-Ekiti road”, “Revoke Akure-Ado-Ekiti road contract from Dantata and Sawoe company is nowhere to be found”, “Too many killings and robberies on Akure-Ado-Ekiti road”

They noted that the state of the road has continued to aid activities of criminals engaging in kidnappings and banditry saying the contractor handling the project has been frustrating the effort of the Federal Government on the road.

Speaking on behalf of the protesters, the head of Project Monitoring of GPBI, Comrade Niyi Majofodun, said the protest became necessary to draw the attention of the government to the lackadaisical attitude of the contractor and said the project as a matter of urgency should be revoked from the contractor, Dantata and Sawoe.

Mojofodun said “the dualization of Akure – Ado Ekiti road was awarded to Dantata & Sawoe in 2020 and subsequently got mobilized in November 2020 however, the contractor refused to move to the site until a few days ago after our organization had petitioned the office of the Director-General of BPP over the abandonment of the project. Copy of the petition letter is hereby attached.

“It is on record that killings, kidnappings, robbery, raping and terrible motor accident have become uncontrollable on the said road (Akure–Ado Ekiti).

“We cannot afford to die in silence, we want to strongly appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, to please look into this matter as a matter of urgency. We also express our displeasure at the manners in which Director General ( BPP) awarded the road.

“Mr President should not allow his name to be dragged into the mud on this matter since he had performed his Constitutional right by awarding the contract and subsequently mobilized the contractor. Therefore, he must ensure his directive is complied with and carry out.

“The President may wish to review this contract without delay as Dantata & Sawoe continue to demonstrate an unwillingness to perform.

“The contract should be revoked to save the life of the road ushers. The road is expected to be delivered within 30months of the award and until now no sophisticated equipment is seen on the ground.”

While commending President Muhammadu Buhari for road infrastructural projects across the country, the group appealed to the President not to allow the contractors to soil his reputation.

“It’s our view and obvious to all and sundry that President Buhari GCFR is not an enemy of the south rather the Contractor’s and Public servant’s, who are bent on frustrating his efforts.

“For instance, the Dualization of Akure–Ado Ekiti road project awarded in 2020 by the President for Twenty-two billion, six hundred and sixty-three million, four hundred and fifty-one thousand, three hundred and three naira, sixty-one kobo (N22, 663,451,303.61) to Dantata & Sawoe Company with a reasonable amount of mobilization which was however abandoned by the said company.”

Also lamenting on the state of the Akure-Ado-Ekiti, one of the stakeholders, Biyi Poroye condemned the attitude of the contractor towards the project, saying the residents of the two states have been subjected to agonies on a daily basis.

On his part, the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State on Citizen Engagement and Grassroot, Josemaria Adeusi said “If a contractor has been mobilized 15 months ago and he has not done anything significant that we can see to attest that he is ready to work, the best to do is to revoke the contract.

The former Chairman of Akure North Local Government, Rotimi Adeleye, said “It is quite highly embarrassing and disgusting that nothing has been done. We are pleading to the government to come to our aid. Several lives had been lost on this road alongside several kidnappings.”

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