A report released by the Federated Correspondent Chapel of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Bayelsa State has revealed that the completion of the ongoing projects being embarked upon by the State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson are being hampered by poor funding and difficult terrain.
The report, which was released on Saturday by the Fedrated Correspondent Chapel led by the Chairman, Comrade Kola Oredipe, showed that though the the present administration started well with speedy pace on the development projects, few years down the line and with low revenue, the state is graspling to complete and commission the projects.
The report of the two-days project tour,which initiated by the Federated Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Bayelsa State Council under the chairmanship of Comrade Kola Oredipe, stated that the observations were based on the inspection projects covering various sectors of Education, Infrastructure, Health, Agriculture and Tourism.
According to the report, “Many ongoing projects in Bayelsa State are suffering from poor funding by the State Government.This is the scenario presented to a team of journalists on an independent tour of ongoing projects across the state.”
According to the report, “among the project sites visited were the Bayelsa West Senatorial road linking Sagbama and Ekeremor Local Government, Africa University, Toru-Orua, Cassava and Poultry Farms in Ebedebiri, Ijaw National Academy, Kaiama, and Bayelsa International Airport, Amassoma. Other projects visited were the Aquaculture farm estate in Akenfa, Opolo-Elebele road, dualisation of Isaac Boro Express way, Elebele-Bayelsa Palm road section of the outer ring road, the Pavillion at Ox-Bow Lake, Diagnostic Centre, Imgbi road and the Samson Siasia Sports Complex.”
“At the Bayelsa Airport, the contractor handling the runway, apron and a terminal building said contrary to the earlier reports that the project is almost ready, work done so far is just about 45 per cent completion.”
According to the Assistant Project Manager, Dantata and Sawoe, Engr Samson Anedi, work is progressing at the apron, runwaay and terminal building but that the project is suffering from funding.
“ Project has 3 km runway. Mandate to deliver as one of the best in the South-South..To surpass that of Port Harcourt. Classed as Category D, the airport is made up of 200 square meters Apron where cargo and planes will park.”
“A lot of sand filling done initially due to swampy nature of the terrain. Apron casting is about 35% complete and can accommodate four 747 cargo planes when completed. Taxing way suspended at the moment due to some issues.”
Anedi who said with proper funding, the project should be ready for the first flight sometimes in October this year added that aviation Authorities are already on ground to supervise the work to standards and specification.
The Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Mr.Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, had said last year that the first flight would land at the airport by December last year.That did not happen.
At the Toru-Orua-Ekeremor road project, Project Engineer, Mr. John Emonyon, said the about N25 billion naira 38 kilometre project, has reached Ofoni community in Sagbama Local Government Area.
According to him, sand filling is over 11 km while stone base is about 8.5 km on the road which has connected three communities of Toru Orua, Angalabiri, and Ofoni.
Emonyon, also noted the challenges of funding from the state government and that the contractor could deliver the project within the next 2 years with adequate funding.
Emonyon said, “ we can deliver in shortest possible time depending on all the factors. Work is going on. Even sand filling is being done from the Ekeremor end. In the next 2 years, we can finish it with adequate funding. Although, a lot of things have changed now in terms of cost of building materials.”
“Rise in building materials is part of challenges. Variation might come in too. The company has a cordial relationship with host communities. We have enjoyed peace working here with no incidence of kidnapping so far.”
At the new Africa University, Toru-Orua, Site Engineer of the Contrating firm, Mr. Gbenga Orimogunje, said seven different buildings were being built at the moment to cover 4 faculties of Health Sciences, Law, Business Administration, and Natural Sciences.
He said the construction work which began in 2016 would be completed by September when academic activities are expected to take off fully at the permanent site of the University.
At the Ijaw National Academy, Chairman Overseeing the Project, Otubo Francis Agara, said the former NYSC Permanent Orientation Camp located in Kaiama, KOLGA is now hosting the new model secondary school conceived by the Restoration Government of Governor Seriake Dickson.
“Work is going on fine as you can all see. By next Academic session in September this year, students will start using the facility of 8 blocks consisting hostel buildings, classrooms, new classrooms, admin block, dining hall and sporting facility. About 1,000 students expected to be admitted in the school which will be boarding.”, Agara stated.
Agara, who commended the Governor for siting the project in Kaiama said the construction being executed through direct labour under the supervision of the state ministry of works and infrastructure was going on fine.
At the Aquaculture farm estate in Akenfa, the team of journalists were conducted round different section of the farm including the hatchery, earthing ponds, feed meal and fish processing unit.
On ground in the farm were the Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr.Doodie Week and the Special Adviser on Aquaculture, Dr. Ebinimi Ansa, who said the vision of the Governor for the project was to make Bayelsa the fish hub and rake in an annual income of not less than N3.5 billion naira.
“Processed, packaged and branded proudly Bayelsa fish. Apart from employment it will generate, a lot of economic activities. We are looking at about 4,000 employment to be generated here directly or indirectly.We want to diversify our economy. This is a clear vision of His Excellency. This farm estates will be replicated in all the Local Government Areas. As we speak, Southern Ijaw farm has started. In Sagbama, Nembe, land acquisition is going on. This project will ensure we stop importation of fish.”, Week said.
At the Diagnostic Centre, Yenagoa, the facility was presented as world class by the Director of Operations, Mr. Isaac Olajide.
“To him, most of the equipment are modern and latest for various diagnostic activities and that Bayelsa state is the next destination for medical tourism in Nigeria, particularly in the South South.”
Mr.Olajide said the service is automated and run by experts all over with technical partnership abroad.
At the Pavillion in Ox-Bow lake, work is ongoing at the time the team arrived coinciding with an inspection by the Deputy Governor, Rtd.Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah, who said he now visit the project site almost on a daily basis to monitor progress.
At the Samson Siasia Sports Complex, the renovation work appears to be slow.
According to the Chief Security Officer to the Project, Mr. Teddy Bali, all the civil engineering work had been done and that installation of the synthetic grass is expected to commence anytime soon.
He also said that the project was suffering from funding, major reason it has not been completed.
The renovation of the sports complex was expected to be completed last year.