Youths of Ikpide-Irri community in Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State have resumed their protest against poor quality of work being executed by the contractor handling the N736.4 million community road project.
The concrete pavement road contract, said to have been awarded in March 2017 by the state government, became subject of controversies due to poor quality of job being carried out by contractor who is an indigene of the town.
Series of protests had greeted the project since inception and the Delta State government, through the Commissioner for Works, James Aguoye, had, during inspection last year, certified the road project as sub-standard following low quality of materials being used.
But due to alleged fresh poor quality of job following resumption of work after the rainy season, indigenes of the community, especially the youths, stormed the construction site when the news of the shoddy job filtered into town despite all past warnings, and raised the alarm condemning and challenging the workers to desist forthwith from the continuation of the shoddy job on the road or face mass protest.
“Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has always told communities to, as a matter of importance, take charge of government projects in their communities because they are the end users of such projects and for that we, the youths, and other concerned indigenes of Ikpide-Irri decided to wage war against sub-standard work on the road project awarded to a son of the soil. He want to maximise big profits to the detriment of his people, what a shame.
“This fight against the substandard job has been on since last year which made the governor to mandate the works commissioner to go for inspection of the road and the commissioner was surprised with the poor quality of job and immediately declared the job sub-standard and warned the contractor to deliver a standard job,” one of the protesting youths, identified as Gheneruemu, told Daily Sun.
Some of the company’s workers on site, who spoke anonymously, revealed that the poor job was due to the alleged refusal of the company’s chairman to release adequate funds after receipt of funds from the state government and that the “current poor quality” was what they were told to maintain.
According to one of the workers, “even we the workers on site know that the job we are doing is very shoddy but it is not our fault. Like the recent funds our boss, owner of the company, received from the state government was diverted to his personal use, and he managed to release peanuts to us to work with. So how do you use peanuts to deliver good quality job?”
A brother to the chairman of the contracting firm had last year, described the contract as a ‘kolanut project’ given to his sibling for his contributions to the electoral victory of Governor Okowa at the polls.
Commissioner for Works, James Aguoye, promised to verify the job and take actions where necessary.