Reps probe NDDC, Contractors over abandoned N6.5bn contract after payment of over N3.15bn mobilization fees

The House of Representatives on Thursday expressed unveiled plans to investigate the N6.5 billion contract awarded by Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for the construction of shoreline protection aimed at curbing floods arising from the Atlantic Ocean Surge, in Ilaje Local Government Area, Ondo State.

In line with its resolution which was passed in response to the motion on the ‘Need to rescue the people of Ayetoro in Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State from floods arising from the Atlantic Ocean surge,’ sponsored by Hon. Kolade Victor Akinjo, the House resolved to summon management teams of NDDC, Gallet Nigeria Limited and Dredging Atlantic Limited (DAL) to appear before the House Committee on NDDC to explain the abandonment of the shoreline protection contract.

In his lead debate, Hon. Akinjo who called for the House intervention lamented that as at 17th March 2020, Ayetoro, an oil-producing community occupying the Atlantic Coastline of lIaje Local Government Area of Ondo State was completely overrun by a tempestuous oceanic surge, with massive destruction of properties and fortunes washed away into the Atlantic Ocean.

According to him, sometime in 2004, persistent cry for rescue by the ecologically devastated people of the oil-rich community caught the attention of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) which awarded a contract for building shoreline protection to Gallet Nig. Ltd for N2.4 billion and a mobilization fee of N650 million was paid with a completion period of 18 months but no job was done.

He also observed that following the termination of the contract after four years on the grounds of non-performance, the NDDC re-awarded same to Dredging Atlantic Limited (DAL) at a cost of N6.5 billion with payment of mobilization fee of N2.5 billion which is about 40% of the total contract sum, also regrettably, no work was done despite the financial commitment of the Federal Government to the shoreline protection for the community, almost two decades after the initial award.

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“The House also notes that the raging Ocean surge that is now on the verge of destroying the entire community can be attributed, inter alia, to the oil exploration and exploitation activities and opening up of canals to the Atlantic Ocean by oil companies.

“The House is worried about global warming, climate change and most importantly, failure on the part of the government to provide shoreline protection or embankment to protect the community from the Ocean surge, leading to the destruction of many houses including public facilities, resultantly rendering almost all the inhabitants of the area homeless and paralyzing socio-economic activities of the people.

“The House is aware that Ayetoro, apart from contributing its quota to the national economy through oil production, is of great historical and tourism importance to the nation as the first community to successfully practise communism in Nigeria.

“The House is concerned that schools, including primary, secondary and technical have been submerged thereby making learning under the circumstance practically impossible.

“The House is also concerned that apart from the resultant socio-economic paralysis of the farming and fishing activities of the people, the situation now also poses serious security, health and extinction threats to the extent that the affected Community are being forced to take refuge on jetties, boats and other structures for survival.

“The House is cognizant that if urgent measures are not taken to address the ocean surge, the entire community, with its rich historical antecedents may soon go into extinction,” he noted.

To this end, the House urged Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the Ecological Fund Office, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development and Ministry of Environment to urgently intervene in the plight of Ayetoro community by providing relief materials and temporary abode for the victims of the ocean surge.

The House also urged Federal Government through relevant MDAs to provide a permanent solution to the devastating effects of the ocean surge by way construction of shoreline protection, just as it stressed the need for the present administration to revisit the abandoned shoreline protection contract and re-award same to a company with proven capabilities in the interest of the affected community.

In the same vein, the House called on the Federal Government to install Early Warning Signal Technology so as to protect all coastline communities in Nigeria from the threat of Atlantic Ocean surges and mandated the Committees on Environment, NDDC, Climate Change, Ecological Fund and Emergency and Disaster Preparedness to liaise with all relevant agencies with a view to finding a permanent solution to the menacing ocean surge and report back within four weeks for further legislative action.

Accordingly, the House mandated the Committee on Legislative Compliance to ensure compliance.

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

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