Findings have revealed that flood may soon ravage Otuoke community, the hometown of the former President Goodluck Jonathan, if urgent action is not taken.
This is coming as contractors have allegedly abandoned multi-billion naira road projects at the Akipelai, Ayakoro and Otuoke communities in Bayelsa State, exposing them to the dangers of flood.
The Shore Erosion Control Works project, with a 14-month completion period, was given in March 2012 during former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
Jonathan hails from Otuoke, a coastal community some kilometres from Yenagoa, the state capital.
It was learnt that the contract was awarded for N7.5 billion by the Nigerian Ports Authority after which some indigenes of the community protested.
Meanwhile, the 2017 Audit Report of the Federation showed that N4.2 billion was given to the contractors in 2015.
When a physical inspection was conducted on the project, it was observed that the contractors had left the project site and the duration of the project had since lapsed without approval for its extension.
The report stated that the NPA had shown no concern or taken any significant measure to recover the money from the contractor, “which implies expenditure inefficiency on the part of the government and loss of benefits to the communities where the project was meant to be implemented.”
A civil society group, Paradigm Leadership Support Initiative reacting, said it would embark on a fact-finding mission to the project sites after analysing and simplifying the 2017 audit report.
The group, which visited the communities in March 2020, said it discovered that the Shore Erosion Control Works project would have positively impacted Ayakoro, Akipelai and Otuoke as most houses were built close to the riverbank.
The report by the group stated that “Young people in these communities complained about the abandoned project and the effects of flooding on their communities.
“A youth representative in the area, LoveGod Daniel, revealed that the contractors installed signage of the project only to come back months later to remove it. He further stated that nothing happened since the project signage was installed and removed.”
The group also said, “Participants disclosed that the contractors are Bayelsans and by that should even be more accountable. About 30,000 (15,000 in Ayakoro, over 5,000 in Akipelai and more than 7,000 in Otuoke) residents of these underserved communities are being exposed to flooding and shoreline washed away by erosion,” the PLSI said.
The group, however, called on the appropriate authority to investigate the matter and hold the contractors accountable.