Worried by the abandoned shoreline protection project in Ibeno Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the House of Representatives has called for immediate completion of the projects and other abandoned projects within Eket/ONNA/Esit-Eket/Ibeno Federal Constituency by the interventionist agency.
The call was made sequel to a motion brought before the House during Tuesday plenary by the Member representing Eket/ONNA/Esit Eket/Ibeno Federal Constituency, Hon. Okpolupm Etteh.
The House, in its resolution, urged the NDDC “to assess the level of work by Smith Engineering Company Limited from 2006 to date and to carry out the same assessment in all other abandoned projects across the Federal Constituency. Also, urge the Commission to either compel the company to immediately return to the site or take all necessary action to recover the mobilisation paid to the contractor and the contract be re-awarded to another competent contractor.”
The House further mandated the House Committee on NDDC to “demand a comprehensive list of abandoned projects across the Federal Constituency and ensure thorough investigation as to why most of the projects are abandoned and ensure their completion and report back within four weeks for further legislative actions.”
The House was alarmed “That after receiving 50% of the contract sum, the contractor has only achieved 8% completion, and had since abandoned the project site, having mobilized only a few materials to the site at Upenekang. No one knows the whereabouts of the contractor at this moment.”
According to the presenter of the Motion, Hon. Etteh, “the contract for Shore Protection works in Ibeno Local Government Area was awarded on September 15, 2006, to Smith Engineering Company Limited and the contract sum was N3,287,787,000.00, for which N1,643,893,500.00 being half of the contract sum, had been paid to the contractor before the company mobilised to the site.”
He explained that the scope of the contract was to cover the shorelines along Upenekang, Iwuoachang, Okorutip, Odoro-Ikot, Iwuo-Okpom, Mkpanak and Itak Abasi villages in Ibeno Local Government Area.
Hon. Etteh’s Motion further raised “concerned that since many of the villages in Ibeno Local Government Area lie at the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, to protect against the dangers and constant threat of ocean surge, it is recommended that setbacks like dykes and other control measures should be established around the communities most prone to ocean encroachment which is what the shore protection project was to achieve.”