From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Residents of Onicha in Ubulu-Uku, Aniocha South Local Government Area of Delta State have urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to re-open it’s file and investigate the alleged misappropriation of N245 million released for the rehabilitation of the Onicha-Uku/Onicha-Ugbo road that was awarded in 2015.
In a peaceful protest, the community said the money was released for the rehabilitation of the deplorable road, which links Abuja, Lagos and Asaba, by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) but nothing has happened in terms of work done.
The present state of the road, according to the placard bearing protesters, has brought untold hardship, claiming that both the state and federal governments have abandoned them to their fate, leading to the resort to unsustainable self help efforts.
Secretary of the community, Osaji Ephraim Iwebunor who read the content of a save our soul letter, said they have been deceived on several occasions by officials NDDC who pretend to be working on the road, but disappeared after achieving their sinister motive.
“In 2019, some persons came to parade themselves as workers who came on instructions of the Senator representing Delta North, Peter Nwaoboshi who incidentally was representing us in the NDDC Senate Committee at the time.
“The workers came with their tools, including bulldozers and other equipment. Few days after loitering around, the workers disappeared with their tools.
“We later found out that the so called workers appeared in our community ostensibly to give impression to the EFCC team visiting Delta State at the time to investigate some NDDC abandoned projects that work was in progress,” Iwebunor said.
As a result, he called on EFCC to re-open investigation into the road project which he described as a scam and conduit pipe, since the NDDC had failed to leave up expectations as far as the project is concerned.
Besides, he appealed to the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, to prevail on his running mate and governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa, to fix the road which he claimed, was in the 2022 state budget.
Saying that the community had always voted PDP since the inception of democracy in 1999, Iwebunor vowed that 2023 would be different, threatening that their over 6,000 votes would be mobilised for the party and candidate that give them succour.
“It is not a threat but without mincing words, we shall be making a categorical statement. We want to remind our dear aspirants that our votes must count this time around because we have seriously enlightened our people, including the youths on how best to use their PVCs this time around,” he stated.