Abia Losses N27b World Bank Assisted Project
Bashir Hassan Abubakar
Dr Uchenna Okere, the National President Abia Professionals Association has revealed how World Bank terminated N27b Newmap project in Abia state under Okezie Ikpeazu administration in 2015.
Okere , in a statement made available to newsmen, said that Dr Okezie Ikpeazu with the then economic team headed by Obinna Oriaku went straight to the world Bank country office in Abuja for presentation on the state of poor infrastructure in Aba and Abia state in general.
According to him, Abia was a pariah state as most donor agencies had before then cancelled or withdrawn their support to Abia State because of many reasons which may not be necessary now.
He said the world bank decided to support the State by including Abia State in many of their developmental projects plans which NEWMAP is one of them.
“After lots of presentations and engagements world Bank through Federal Ministry of Finance and NEWMAP awarded the contract for $56m ( Fifty six million dollars) N27b at then exchange rate to today’s N34b to Heatland/ Setraco Nigeria Ltd for Erosion and flood water management of Porth Harcourt road/ Urratta and Obohia /Ngwa road project.”
“This job entails underground tunneling of flood water from Uratta crisscrossing Obohia / Ngwa road to the Ogbo hill river and construction of Ngwa road and other adjoining roads.
He stated that the technical aspect of the contract including the underground tunneling was abandoned by the contractor and the designs of this important project were altered by the contractor in collaboration with some officials of the State government.
“The world Bank and Minstry of finance rose from their meeting last week with a decision to terminate/ determine this contract that would have solved the perennial flooding problems of Aba because of fraud / greed and incompetence of the state government.”
The statement added that: “The implication is that since last month as witnessed by residents of Ngwa road, there is no job going on at the site, as world bank has stopped the work and is currently auditing the project which will determine their next line of action.”
“This is another lost opportunity by Abia state government to greed and incompetence from the same government that has been trumpeting sincerity of purpose in their dealings.”
“We call on world bank to kindly re-award this job to a more competent company and for EFCC to immediately commence investigations on how the funds were misappropriated and the officials involved.”
“This is also a call on Abia elders to know that such opportunity comes only once”, the statement read.