The Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, FUTA, Professor Adebiyi Daramola, has appealed to the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, to revive its students’ hostel project in the campus.
Professor Daramola made the appeal yesterday when the NDDC Acting Managing Director, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, and other directors of the Commission visited the university to inspect the hostel project that had lingered for many years.
The Vice Chancellor re-stated the importance of the hostel to the university and called for expedited action to see to its completion. He said: “The NDDC hostel has become a jinxed project in our campus. We are, however, glad that the directors of the Commission have once again come to see things for themselves.”
Mrs. Semenitari assured the Vice Chancellor that the NDDC was committed to delivering quality projects, hence its repeated inspection and monitoring of the activities of its contractors. She recalled that the Commission had earlier in April inspected the hostel project and ordered the contractor to return to site.
She warned non-performing contractors to sit up, stating: “We are not prepared to suffer any contractor gladly. If the contractor handling the FUTA hostel fails to rise to the occasion, we will have no option than to apply appropriate sanctions.”
Mrs. Semenitari said further: “We were here in April and we asked the contractor to return to the site to finish the project. Sadly, nothing has happened at the site since then. When we inspected the project today, we noticed that the contractor had hurriedly started clearing the site, apparently on learning that the NDDC management was in Akure for two-day training. We saw a lonely bulldozer trying to clear the place.”
“Really, we don’t know why the contractor has delayed this project that started since 2004. We have reached out to him and we will take appropriate measures to ensure that the university community benefits from the investment.”
The NDDC directors also inspected the proto-type hostel project at the Ondo State University of Science and Technology in Okitipupa. Unlike the situation at FUTA, Mrs. Semenitari observed that work was progressing. According to her, “thankfully, we saw a contractor that was doing some work. We will encourage him to put in more work on the project.”
The NDDC team equally inspected the Agadagbon-Obon-Arogbo Road and bridge project in Ese-Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State. There was neither equipment nor sign of activity at the site of the project which was awarded in 2012.
Mrs. Semenitari lamented that the contractor had absconded. “We can’t locate the contractor. But the good thing is that we have an Advance Project Guarantee, APG, on the contract. So, we have not entirely lost our money.”
“The contractor may have absconded, but we can at least recoup some of the funds and we will begin to look at the possible ways of doing that. For this job, there will be no equivocation. Since the contractor is nowhere to be seen and the job has not been done, we will have to take action in the interest of the communities in the area.”
She noted that the road was meant to serve oil-bearing communities, assuring that the NDDC would ensure that the road and bridge that would connect communities on both sides of the river was built without further delay.
She said: “It is obvious that we have to review the contract to ensure that the project is re-activated. President Muhammadu Buhari does not want any community to be left behind. He charged us to complete all projects that have been started to enable the various communities benefit from government facilities.”
A member of Agadagbon community, Mr. Felix Iyebote, informed the NDDC directors that the contractor had not been seen at the project site since 2013. He appealed to the Acting Managing Director to do all that was necessary to re-activate the project. “We are suffering, but we will be happy if the NDDC will come to our rescue as quickly as possible,” he said.