…Released date and how reports of poorly constructed government projects can be submitted by members of the public.
Saddened by the proliferation of substandard projects in some parts of the state, the Enugu State House of Assembly has began moves to bring such erring contractors and their collaborators to book.
The House committee on Works, Housing and Urban Development as part of it’s oversight functions, said, they won’t tolerate any act aimed at short changing the state.
Speaking to Newsmen, the Committee Chairman and the member representing Ezeagu constituency, Rt. Hon. Chima Obieze while thanking the members of the committee and the lawmakers enumerated steps that must be taken in order to hold whoever is found wanting responsible for his/her action(s).
Hon. Obieze said: “The first step that must be taken is to encourage the members of the public to come forward with detailed reports of any project done in their in their area in the last 5 years that have failed.”
These projects according to the lawmakers includes; roads, office buildings and quarters.
Going forward, Rt. Hon. Obieze said; “After getting these reports from the members of the public, the next step will be to request for the bill of quantity from the supervising agency or ministry. The next thing will be to visit the site of these projects that members of the public has submitted reports on and see what’s on ground and juxtapose it with what’s on the bill of quantity.
“When all these has been done, the next thing will be to summon the contractor where we feel that the contractor didn’t comply with what’s on the contract document, so he can explain the discrepancies.”
The member representing Nsukka West, Dr. Ugwuera Emma in his submission said;
“Not only the contractors that handled the job will have questions to answer, even the supervising agency or ministry will have to explain to Ndi Enugu, what happened. We can’t fold our hands and watch such monies appropriated for projects been flittered away.”
Another member of the Committee and the member representing Uzo-Uwani constituency in the house, Dr. Josephat Okika said: “As much as we are trying to check make the contractors that did these projects, it will also be of great benefit if we also look at some of the activities of some members of the public.”
He called on proper sensitization of the members of the public in helping to keep these infrastructures safe.
Another speaker at the media parley, Rt. Hon. Chinedu Nwamba, the member representing Nsukka East Constituency said that the committee will “carry out this particular function that’s of great public importance without fear nor favour not minding whoever that’s involved.”
He also emphasized that; “This is not in anyway a witch-hunt but effort by the house to ensure that Enugu State funds aren’t diverted by any individual(s)
The committee then called on the members of the public to submit their written reports between 10th to 20th of December, 2019 to; The Office of the Chairman, House committee on Works, Room 212, Enugu State House of Assembly Complex or via email; firstname.lastname@example.org, stressing that the exercise is going to be a win-win situation for the government and good people of Enugu State because people can’t be collecting money for projects and fail to deliver them.
Answering questions on what the committee was doing when some of the these poor jobs were going on, the Member representing Enugu South Rural, Hon. Mary Onyinye (deputy leader of the House) said; “We are haven’t been keeping quiet over some of these sharp practices, in the course of doing of oversight functions, we were able to stop the death trap that was being constructed at Obe-agu Amaechi in the name of a bridge. The contractor lost the job immediately the house raised the alarm, sent it to the Governor and the governor said he can’t tolerate such act and sacked the contractor and hired another contractor for the job.
The Chairman of the Committee pointed out that; “this exercise isn’t against only erring contractors, it’s also against civil servants or government official that aid such contractors. If a Resident Engineer (RE) continues to give approval for jobs that aren’t done probably, such individual will be punished too as they rely on their account whenever they go for oversight functions and if they will collaborate with the contractor to shortchange the state, they will pay for such actions,” he said.
Other member of the committee present at the interaction include; Hon. Harford Ibenaku Onoh, member representing Enugu North, Hon. Chinedu Okwu, Member representing Aninri and Jane Eneh, the Chief Whip of the House and member representing Awgu North.