By; ONYEKACHUKWU MELUWA, Warri
A group under the aegis of contractors to the multi-million Naira Oghoye Ultra Modern Contrete Floating Market project has appealed to the Delta State Governor, Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa to help pay their principal.
The group said paying their principal for the contract done during Governor Ibori in 2007 inaugurated Oghoye Ultra Modern Contrete Floating Market project will enable them also defray their debts to suppliers of construction materials.
The contractors who besieged the residence of the principal contractor of the project, Mr. Philip Awani on Saturday to demand for their accumulated debt during the project work.
The group also expressed sadness over new contractor mobilized to the project site that was abandoned in 2013 due to failure/nonpayment by the then government to pay the original contractor, Maybedik Nigeria Limited.
According to the contractors, “we may be compelled to mobilize to disrupt work on site”.
“We have completed 65 percent of the platform when the government started defaulting in payment that frustrated further job on site and we had no option but to abandon site in 2013 with huge debt on our neck.
“We have lost construction materials, equipment and our office to vandalism up to the tune of over two hundred million naira and we still have some of our equipment on site till date with the new contractor now on the same site at the Atlantic ocean Oghoye community in Warri North Council Area of Delta State”.
But, the representatives of the new contractor disclosed that Governor Okowa directed that they mobilize to site to complete the project because he wants it completed in record time.
They also disclosed that frantic efforts are on top gear to settle Maybedik of all his outstanding debt by the state government and called for more patience from them, saying that he would soon be settled.
The Delta State Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, Mr. H C Peter-Mrakpor whose office is in-charge of justice on such matters said “I am not in a position to give an appropriate answer” as to what plans are being made to payoff Maybedik.
In reaction, Mr. Philip Awani of Maybedik Nigeria Limited said that, “it is unwise for a new contractor to mobilize to the site when his contract has not been terminated and outstanding debt running into almost a billion naira has not been settled.
Mr. Awani said, “I still have to settle the bank and other sub-contractors/suppliers that are on my neck.
“All the same, my lawyers wrote a reminder letter dated 2nd March, 2020 to the government through the office of the Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, H.C. Peter-Mrakpor another letter in April and even in July in the hope that he would appropriately advise the government to do the needful or allow him to continue with the job under the NDDC to completion level”, he disclosed.
The Oghoye project director and former Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, RT. Hon JFK Omatsone said he has advised that all outstanding debt be paid and due process followed in the matter to avoid problems.
Mr. Awani revealed that key stakeholders in Warri North have intervene in this matter to no avail till date, noting that “I have explored all relevant avenue to resolved this matter amicably to no avail and my Lawyers have given notice of intention to institute legal action against the Delta State Government arising from the actions/inactions in respect of the contract issue”, he stressed.
Mr. Philip Awani of Maybedik Nigeria Limited who was first arrested and detained at Alagbon by the police before being detained at the Ikoyi prison for two weeks by the EFCC due to non-payment to his bankers maintained that representatives of the new contracting firm appears to be mediating between the state government and his company.