Youths of Ikpide-Irri community, in Isoko South Local Government Area, under the aegis of ‘Concerned Indigenes Of Ikpide-Irri’, have staged a peaceful protest against the poor handling of the community’s N1.5bn road project by the contractor, Portplus limited, with a vow to resist any attempt to deliver a substandard job.
The protesters called on the contractor to, as a matter of urgency, execute the project according to specifications or face the wrath of the law.
The road contract was reportedly awarded in 2017 at the cost of N736.4-million, but was later reviewed upwards to N1.5 billion naira with no improvement in the quality of work.
Concerned indigenes of the community had, in 2018 through their counsel, C. F. Ebu, petitioned the Governor condemning the substandard job being done by the contractor and called for strict adherence to the BEME and BOQ.
One of the leaders of the placard – carrying protesters who identified himself as Blessing Ese and Chairman of Ikpide-Irri Progress Union, Ughelli branch, disclosed that despite several protests against the poor quality of job by the contractor over the past three years, no meaningful changes had taken place.
Ese expressed displeasure with the continued use of substandard materials for the job even when the contractor was an indigene of the community. For over three years we have been protesting against his shoddy job.
“We are therefore warning and calling on Portplus limited to as a matter of urgency and importance, execute the contract according to specifications using the approved BEME and BOQ, the protesters said.
They alleged that the contractor used 10mm, instead of the 16mm rods specified in the BOQ, for the construction of culverts and condemned the attitude of some leaders in the community, who they suspected had been bribed by the contractor to seal their lips.
Some of the placards carried the inscriptions ‘Portplus Give Ikpide-Irri Standard Road’, ‘Ikpide-Irri People Say No To Substandard Construction’, ‘Governor Okowa Call Portplus To Order’, ‘All We Are Saying Is Give Us Good Job’, ‘Ikpide-Irri Deserves Standard Road Not Cut And Nail’ ‘EFCC, ICPC Other Anti-Graft Agencies Must Hear This, ‘Ikpide-Irri Road Contract Is Not Your Kola-nut But Our Right’.
When contacted, the Site Surveyor of the contracting firm, Iyke Chidindu, said there had been series of complaints since the commencement of the road work following internal wranglings among indigenes of the community, insisting that the job was progressing according to specifications.