Cross River representative of Sermatech Nigeria limited, handling the dualization of Calabar-Itu road, Ento Edako says community members should be blamed for the delay in the job delivery.
The project which is now funded by NNPC extends from Oku-Iboku in Akwa Ibom State to the Odukpani power plant in Cross River State and is expected to be completed in 2023, has experienced a stoppage of work for about five days now.
According to the representative, “before the stoppage of work, Sermatech handling that stretch of the road had mobilized earth, concrete and bridgework to the project site and the job was ongoing smoothly according to specifications”.
He revealed that about 100 indigenes of the area where the job was ongoing were engaged and paid N30,000 monthly with no specific job to do, an exercise which commenced even before work started at the site and aimed at building bridges between the community members and the company.
Explaining, he told our reporter that, “a community leader identified as Ambassador Asuquo Nya, had before now approached Sermatech to supply all needed materials to site at his price, a development which the company viewed as improper considering the total project cost and its effect on the project if the said Asuquo’s cost should be accepted”.
Continuing, Edako intimated that, “having failed in securing the contract for the supply of all materials at his price”, the angry Nya “mobilized youths to protest the authenticity of Sermatech capacity to handle the project”, adding that, “items that look like local charms were brought into the site, gates were locked and the staff threatened to either be killed or kidnapped if found around the site”.
Sermatech says it views the recent development as an ugly initiative aimed at depriving the people of Cross River State as well as other road users from enjoying this laudable project which is supposed to turn around the economy, having been abandoned for many years.
The company wondered why such antagonisms should arise from the community after working at Obubra – Ugep and Biase axis, without experiencing such ugly development by community members.
The company further enjoined the community members and the good people of Cross River State to call the said Nya and his supporters to order as “his selfish interest ought not to deprive a larger people of enjoying the dividends of good governance and a laudable gesture”.
Sermatech is working closely with the National Assembly Committee on Local Content to ensure that the affected communities are fully involved, therefore the incessant work attrition is counterproductive to the Federal Government’s drive to ensure that dividends of democracy reach all parts of the country, the APC or PDP states inclusive.