The Edo State Government has revoked the N863.7 million Edaiken Modern Market awarded to Prane Business Integrated Ltd. in October 2014 under the Public Private Partnership (PPP).
Under the said concession agreement, Pane Integrated Limited was expected to design, build, operate and transfer 1,955 units of shop after 25 years. The contract was expected to be completed within a period of one year from the day it was signed.
Following consistent protests from the traders over delays in the completion of the project coupled with the exorbitant cost of hiring the shops, the government was forced to set up a three-member committee to look into the complaints and the entire contract agreement between Pane Integrated Limited and Egor Local Government.
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The committee, headed by Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs, Jimoh Ijegbai with Mrs Caryn Aghedo as secretary and Deputy Chief of Staff, Government House, Kinsley Ehigiamusor as member, discovered that: “That the cost of hiring shops are now far higher than what was agreed upon at the time of the agreement which completely changed the expectation of the traders and youths, hence, the agitations and protests.
“The Public Private Partnership for 25 years duration is at variance with the outright sale of the shops to allottees on clandestine arrangement by the company against the interest of the council and contrary to the earlier agreement.
“While the company did not work to specification as earlier said, it was not supervised by the works department of the council and this resulted in the observed defects in the project as no progress report was ever rendered to the council.
“In view of these lapses, the Ijegbai committee recommended to government that the contract be revoked because the period for the Public Private Partnership Agreement was too long with its attendant problems breaching the terms of contract.
“That although the company put their total debt and expected proceeds from the shops not sold at N405.3 million, the independent Estate Valueer engaged by the committee to reconcile the position presented by the company and the council put it at N328.1 milliom as at October 2015 when the project ought to have been completed.
“The committee recommended full and final settlement to the company before the takeover by the council while N5.1 million collected for the sale of forms should be left for the company as administrative charges, N267.2 million collected as proceeds from sale of shops should be deducted from the N328.1 million on the value of work done by the company. Therefore, government should pay N60.8 million only to the company as final settlement.”
Addressing journalists in Government House on the revocation, Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, said government took the decision in the interest of the state, especially in the interest of the people of Egor, adding that “as much as government is out, looking for genuine investors, Mr. Governor will not tolerate any bogus contract design to enslave our people. “This particular contract is designed to fail abini tio. It lacks human face and parties to it have to, a large extent, compromised the interest of our people. I salute the courage of the traders, especially the market woman who discovered the lapses in the agreement and petitioned government.”
In his response to the revocation, Managing Director of Pane Integrated Limited, Alhaji Idris Seidu said: “I thank the committee for the painstaking report, however, we are going to study the report and respond accordingly in writing.”
Leader of the traders in the market, Mr. Godwin Omoregie, said government is too generous to have awarded N60.1 million to the company, adding that the company was out to enslave the traders.