A construction company, Kakatar Ce Limited, based in Bayelsa State, has linked the delay in the commencement of the 9.7-kilometre Opume-Okoroba Road Project awarded it at a cost of N10billion by the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, in 2012 to faulty engineering designs.
The company had since July 2012 mobilised to site with the clearing and cutting of trees along the road corridors covering 9.6km with the earthworks involving dredging and haulage of sand to over 2km.
Angry indigenes of Okoroba community in Nembe Local Government Area of had last year protested against the abandonment of the project by the Federal Government and claimed that its non-take-off was due to disagreement over payment of compensation and non-availability of sand.
But the brand manager of the company, Mr. Austine Ekeinde, said the delay in the take-off of the project was due to the deficiencies inherent in the Bill of Engineering Measurement and Evaluation, BEME, which was handed to it by the NDDC.
He said: “The road contract was awarded to us without any applicable engineering design and drawings. It was so bad that at award the coordinates of the 00+ point of the road fell into Opume burial ground. This meant that we ought not to have commenced the road at all until NDDC gave the right coordinates.
“Second, the BEME handed over to us for the project was also inappropriate for the project. For instance, the bill did not provide the use of sand for filling, but instead laterite was provided. It did not also provide for sand-cement stabilisation as sub-base. As Ogbia people, we knew that building the road like that is an invitation to a failed road. We insisted and impressed upon the NDDC to permit us use sand instead and also stabilise it with sand-cement. Even at the moment, no official permission has been granted for the sand-cement stabilisation. But we have gone ahead to do it because that is the right thing to do.”
According to Ekeide, Kakata Ce, in spite of the challenges has done the clearing and cutting of trees along the road corridors attaining 100 per cent of the 9.6km
total length, did the earthworks involving dredging and haulage of sand to over 2km and stabilisation with sand-cement and stone-base reaching nearly 2km.
“There was also no provision made for haulage of sand outside of the road corridors. It is the normal practice that where a road project is awarded and there are no materials in the immediate vicinity, provision is made for transportation from external locations.
“In the Okoroba case, there is no sand in the area and hence we had to haul sand from a distance, in some cases, from as far as Onuebum. Again, because we are Ogbia people, we have hauled the sand without complaint and at great losses to us. Again, at award of the road, we were required to construct a 6m width road. This we objected because it would have made the road very narrow, like a location or internal communal road. We progressed to increase the road width to 12.8m without prior approval. All these observations and shortcomings were challenges which were strong grounds for us not to commence work at all,” he said.

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