Reps Frown As Contractors Paid 85% Seeks Fresh N2bn To Complete Skills Centre Awarded 14 Years Ago

Hon. Eugene Dibiagwu

The House of Representatives Committee on Niger Delta Ministry on Wednesday queried the contractors handling the skill acquisition centre at Iwuo Achang, Ibeno Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State after the contractors were given 85 per cent mobilisation fee.

Chairman of the Committee Hon. Eugene Dibiagwu issued the query at the investigative hearing on the abandoned Skill Acquisition Center in Abuja.

He said that the lack of commitment by the contractors had made them part of the problem Nigeria is facing over abandoned projects.

The Lawmaker said it was ridiculous that the project was yet to be completed after being paid 85 per cent of the contract sum.

“As a contractor that has been paid up to 85 per cent, you were supposed to have completed that project; you know the reason why you have not; we will not allow the project to die that way.

“We understand the situation we found ourselves in in the country economically regarding the cost of materials.

“We will engage the ministry of Niger Delta so that they will know whether to consider further valuation for your request for additional money,” the lawmaker stated.

Shocked that part of the fence built by the contractors had broken, saying the committee would unravel whether the fence the contractor built that fell was their fault or of a natural cause.

He, however, charged the contractor to do everything possible to complete the project, adding that the committee would not join issues with the contractor until the project was completed.

The committee said that if the skill acquisition centre must work with all the necessary facilities to make it functional, it would require an additional N2 billion from the N4.2 billion earlier quoted for the project.

“We are looking at an additional N2 billion naira, which will bring the total project to 6.2 billion naira, having committed N4.2 billion naira initially.

“And even if we commit 6.2 billion naira, the centre will not still work considering what is left to be done. That centre cannot train one person even with N6.2 billion naira,” it said.

The committee added that this is because the centre would accommodate training workshops, train personnel to man the centre, and also equip the training centre to work.

It would be recalled that the House, on Nov. 23, 2023, deliberated on a motion titled “Need to Complete the Construction of the Skill Acquisition Center at Iwuo Achang, Ibeno Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.”

The House had urged the Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to ensure completion of the project within the 2024 fiscal year and mandated the Committee on Niger Delta Ministry to ensure compliance.

However, the Chairman stated that the contract for the centre was awarded on March 15, 2010 by the Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to three companies.

He stated that the project had reached about 85 percent completion 12 years ago but was abandoned due to an unexpected increase in the price of goods.

This, he said, left the property vandalised and in deplorable condition.

The contractors who appeared before the committee include Stegis International Agency Nigeria Ltd., a civil construction building, and Enarosol Nigeria Ltd., a landscaping and perimeter fencing company.

Others include Y. S. Associates, Electrical and Mechanical Works.

The contractors who tried albeit unsuccessful to defend their actions, were requested to appear with copies of the contract agreement, interim performance certificates, and any other relevant documents relating to the project.