The Water Resource Ministry in what appears a common practice in Nigeria that has helped undermine the country’s growth and development has abandoned N47.89 million 3 Kilometre road even after money has been paid to the contractor.
Under the deal, the Water Resources Ministry in collaboration with the Lower Benue River Basin Development Authority is implementing the construction of 3 kilometre road and drainages at Kilankwa community in Kwali Area Council of Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The contract was awarded to Wadata Construction Company.
On a visit to the road construction site, it was found that the contractor only graded the road, poured red latress, and left while the road remained abandoned for the last three months.
Although part of the project delivery is drainage construction, there was no such construction seen on the site except a culvert that is under construction with poor and substandard materials being used.
When an explanation was sought from the contractor, Mr. Alhaji Umar, the team lead, claims the project has not been abandoned while pointing out that they only had the first phase and left because of the rainy season. While assuring that they will return to the construction site for the second phase.
“We did not abandon the construction, we just finished phase one, we are in phase two which is the final level of dressing,” Umar said.
“Mind you, that is a constituency project, if you want to get more information, go to the constituency office”, Umar added.
Asked to name the lawmaker behind the project, Mr. Umar declined to comment.
Kilankwa community residents who are the direct beneficiaries, showing the abandoned machine at the construction site, said the road is their only access while appealing to the government and contractor to return to the site and complete the construction work.
This is even as the community residents who are predominantly farmers are hoping on the completion of the project to give them access road to be able to transport their farm produce to the market which serves as their major source of income.
When asked about their involvement in the need assessment and contractor selection process, they denied any form of consultation with them regarding the project.
They, however, pointed out that the contractor only came to the community and began construction and engaged some residents in casual daily labour where they get paid at the end of the day.
Worse still, checks on Wadata Construction Company show it has no trace on the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) database. An indication that the company may be fake and does not qualify for a contract award.
It is unclear the kind of procurement process carried out by the Water Resources ministry, leading to the award of N47.89 contract to a company that has no traceable presence in CAC data which indicates it might be a fake one.
In a standard procurement practice, such a company does not qualify for any contract. And, worse still, the Water Resources Ministry has since gone ahead and awarded a contract to her.
When the Water Resources Ministry was asked to make available details of the contract award, procurement process followed, and payments made through the office of the Permanent Secretary, using the Freedom of Information (FOI) request, they declined to comment.
However, a senior official in the ministry who does not want her identity revealed, said the ministry is notorious for abusing procurement laws and procedures in contract awards.
She added that apart from the procurement procedure abuses, the ministry is known for contract figures inflation. She accused her senior colleagues of breeding and perpetuating what she described as wicked corruption.
“One area Water Resources Ministry perpetrates unforgivable corruption is in contract awards, they just select companies they have interest in, inflate the figures and dole out monies to them and collect kickbacks,” the senior official said.