By Ejiro Umukoro
The House of Representatives on Tuesday called for investigation into the activities of Smith Engineering Company Limited over the non-execution of N3.2 billion awarded by Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) since 2016.
The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion on the ‘Need to complete the Shore protection project at Ibeno Local Government Area and other Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Projects abandoned in Eket/Onna/Esit-Eket/Ibeno Federal Constituency of Akwa Ibom State, sponsored by Hon. Okpolupm Etteh.
The lawmakers also tasked the Commission to carry out the same assessment on all abandoned projects Eket/Onna/EsitEket/Ibeno Federal Constituency.
While they stressed the need for the Company to be compelled to immediately return to sites, the lawmakers urged the Commission to take necessary action to recover the mobilisation paid to the contractor and the contract re-awarded to another competent contractor.
The House also mandated its Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission to demand a comprehensive list of abandoned projects across the Federal Constituency and ensure a thorough investigation as to why most of the projects across the federal constituency are abandoned.
The House also mandated the Committee on NDDC to ensure that the project is completed, and report back within four weeks for further legislative action.
The House also noted that as part of the terms of the contract, the contractor was to be paid a 50 per cent mobilization fee before the company moved to the site.
The House said the contract was awarded at the sum of N3,287,787,000 out of which N1,643,893,500 being 50% of the contract sum had been paid to the contractor before the company mobilized to the site.
In his lead debate, Hon. Etteh said: “the House is aware that the scope of the contract was to cover the shorelines along Upenekang, lwuoachang, Okorutip, Odoro-lkot, lwuo-0kpom, Mkpanak and Itak Abasi villages in Ibeno Local Government
“The House is informed that the Federal Ministry of Environment through its Flood Early Warning Systems
(FEWS) Central Hub has warned that; amongst others, Upenekang; a seashore coastal village covered by the abandoned project, may witness heavy rainfall that may lead to flooding. This could have been avoided had the project been completed as and when due.
“The House is 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