Independent Monitoring team of the Federated Correspondent’s Chapel of the Bayelsa State chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Wednesday visited some of the Bayelsa State project sites, and came out with verdict of poor performance and execution of the projects inspite of claims by some officials of the present administration in the state.
The Federated Correspondents’ Chapel led by its Chairman, Comrade Kola Oredipe, during the tour visited the International Model School project in Sagbama, the International Airport Project along the Okordia/Zarama area, the Ikoli bridge project, the Plastic Industry and some of the internal roads in the state.
It was observed during the visit, that most of the project sites have been abandoned by contractors due to lack of funds while those that were mobilised by the state government had also abandoned site over contentious contractual matters and lacklustre attitude of some state government officials.
At most of the project sites, particularly the Plastic Industry where the project completion date is December, 2010, there were no signs of work being done. The site for the Plastic Industry, along the Elebele road, has been taken over by a thick forest with the roof of the facility, blown away by heavy windstorm.
But the State Commissioner of Works, Engr. Emmanuel Frank-Opigo, in reaction to the questions on the lull in the development programme of the present administration inspite of huge allocations from Federation Account, said though the 50 per cent target, the issue of dwindling revenue has reduce the steam in the present administration to complete projects at estimated time.
Commissioner Frank-Opigo, who specifically singled out projects such as the 50 internal road network the International Airport , the Gateway road and three senatorial roads for mention, said the activities of the state government to actualise the completion of the projects was hampered by the financial drought that hit the state in the last eighteen months, we can’t abandon any of the projects, once fund comes, we will complete them.’’
‘I agree with you that there has been a lull in the activities of the state government in the execution of projects but inspite of the problem, we have been able to achieve over per cent completion. It is difficult to tell the contractors to go back to work when there is no money. The state government is not sleeping and we will manage to do more.’’
On the Airport project and the New Gateway road, the State Commissioner of Works, Emmanuel Frank-Opigo said the projects have not been completed and that the phase one of the 27 kilometre Gateway road project will be completed. He said the project on the International Airport named after the late President Musa Yar’dua has been allocated a N3.8billion budget with N2.2billion of the amount allocated by the Federal Government in a partnership that will see more work done.