A Niger Delta based group, the Niger Delta Good Governance Watch, has raised the alarm over plot to frustrate the Escravos bar to Warri port dredging project.
The group alleged that persons behind the controversial Calabar Port dredging contract currently being investigated by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission were behind the probe into the alleged infractions in the award of the contract of Warri Port dredging project by the House of Representatives because of “vested interest”.
This was contained in a press statement by the group’s President, Pawei Ikpidi, and Secretary General, Godwin Okotie, and made available to newsmen in Warri, Delta State on Wednesday.
Recall that the Federal Executive Council had approved the award of contract for the dredging of the Escravos bar and navigational tools on April 11, 2018 to allow bigger vessels into the Warri Port and make the port functional.
But shortly after the contract was awarded, the House of Representatives on May 3, 2018 resolved through a motion moved by Hon. Ossai N. Ossai to probe alleged infractions in the award of the contract.
The House of Representatives Committee on Ports, Harbours and Waterways and Public Procurement has since started public hearing on the investigation.
The Niger Delta group however said to its surprise, the public hearing started without the committees inviting stakeholders from the Niger Delta and especially Delta State and the immediate Warri communities who would be the beneficiaries of the project to participate in the public hearing process.
The group said rather, some unknown non-governmental organizations were the ones invited and mobilized by the sponsors of the probe to make presentation on behalf of the public and interested parties wherein they called for the cancellation of the dredging project.
They claimed that the representative of Imo West Senatorial District, Senator Hope Uzodinma, whose company, Niger Global Engineering and Technical Company Limited, had joint venture deal with Nigeria Port Authority for the dredging of the failed Calabar channel, was behind the moves to frustrate the Warri Port dredging project.
The group said: “The very reliable information available to the Niger Delta Good Governance Watch is that a South East Senator and the brains behind the failed $56 million (fifty six million dollars) contract for dredging of Calabar channels who collected money without doing any dredging are behind the House of Representatives probe because of the failure of their preferred company to be awarded with the contract.”
The group alleged that the same Uzodimma was responsible for the failed multi billion naira Koko Shoreline Protection contract by the Niger Delta Development Commission.
It said: “It would interest the Nigerian public to know that the same Senator is also the promoter of the company that was awarded the failed multi billion naira Koko Shoreline Protection contract by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).”
Its disclosed that the Koko Shoreline Protection project in Delta State was abandoned by the contractor without any job done after collecting money running into billions of naira.
They threatened to resist every attempt to frustrate the long awaited Warri Port dredging project, calling on the House of Representatives Speaker to call his colleagues allegedly being use to truncate the project to order or be prepared to face dire consequences of Niger Delta youths.
The group also warned the said Senator Uzodinma to desist from his alleged nefarious activities in the Niger Delta region or face the wrath of the youths.
It said: “We wish to warn that the people of Delta State and Niger Delta region would resist any attempt to frustrate the long awaited Escravos bar to Warri port dredging contract which has the capacity to revitalize the economy of Warri, Delta State and the Niger Delta region.
“As stakeholders, we have taken ownership of the Escravos bar to Warri dredging project and call on the management of the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) and the Ministry of Transportation to ensure that this project is timeously executed without any delay.
“We also call on the Chairmen and members of the House of Representative Committees on Ports, Harbours and Waterways and Public Procurement not to allow themselves to be used by selfish and unpatriotic individuals to frustrate this project for parochial reasons.
“The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Dogara is hereby called upon to be on the side of the Nigerian people who earnestly desire the functionality of the maritime industry to create jobs and economic activities rather than a few who feed fat on collecting billions of naira for contracts without executing them.
“The brains behind the House of Representatives probe especially the South East Senator is warned to withdraw his nefarious activities or we may be forced to give details of his failed contracts and invite the intervention of the EFCC.”