By Perez Brisibe
Chairman and managing director of Kakatar Group of companies, Mr. Azibaola Robert, yesterday gave details on why his company demobilized from some project sites in respect to projects awarded to it by the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
He also disclosed that the NDDC failed to meet up to the terms of agreement reached in the execution of the projects adding that the company is ready to remobilize to site if the commission pays the over N580million it owes the company.
Describing the NDDC as an interventionist agency being implemented like a political party when compared to the Federal Capital Development Authority, FCDA, Mr. Robert who is a cousin to former President Goodluck Jonathan, advised that the commission would have achieved a lot if it was under the supervision of the Ministry of Works or FCDA.
Speaking on the state of the Opume-Okoroma road in Ogbia local government area of Bayelsa State, he said: “The project is an 8kilometers virgin road, we had done 4kilometers awaiting asphalting amidst challenges of getting sand for the project when we were forced to demobilize from site owing to the refusal of NDDC to fulfil its financial obligations.
“For that project, there is no source of sand to fill the road during construction. Our dredgers were also seized when we were dredging sand from a river in the area by youths in the community who demanded that we must employ them without working or pay a specific amount of money.
“The road was awarded sometime in 2013, we were on-site working for almost two years amidst challenges we encountered after mobilizing to site including the refusal of NDDC to pay for work done. The last invoice we sent to NDDC was in September 2014 and after that, no payment came in afterwards, and in 2016, we demobilized from site because we couldn’t cope with the daily running cost without being paid.”
Asked if the company was not aware of the challenges before accepting the contract, he said: “We never knew of the challenges associated with the project as a bulk of them came after we started the project.
“However, it is stated in the contract that if you are moving materials from two kilometres away from the site, it is the government (NDDC) that will pay, but the government through the NDDC neglected to pay, despite this, we continued work until we had to demobilize from site.”