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Ogwashi Uku: Begging For Government Attention

Posted: May 14, 2015 at 12:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

 

•Uduaghan •Okonjo-Iweala

•Uduaghan •Okonjo-Iweala

By Felix Igbekoyi

 Asaba

 

The Construction of the four million cubic meters capacity Water Reservoir Dam of Ogwashi Uku Community, Aniocha South Local Government Area, Delta State started about 10 years ago and it is meant to generate electricity and also provide water to the Community and its environs.

The duration of the Dam Project was 24 months and it has so far cost the Ministry and Federal Government N3 billion from the N3.6 billion.

Chief Clement Okonjo and A C Okocha, prominent persons in the community had sometimes this year lamented the state of the Dam saying the community and Delta State government should have been enjoying the socio-economic development that would be provided by the Dam which was well intended by the Federal Government to bring transformation to the area, but it is unfortunate that this vision has not materialized yet. Unfortunately the Dam has been turned into a beach following its abandonment by the contractor while the dam site, as was discovered, has become a recreational site of some sort since no activity was taking place there.

Ogwashi Uku is the home place of the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; but her kinsmen are poised for a showdown with the Federal Government and the contractors for planning to commission the N3.6 billion dam project when it has not been completed.

The youths also lamented that there is no noticeable presence of Federal Projects in the community except Ogwashi Uku Medium Size Prisons, the Police Mobile Base, and the near outdated Post Office which do not enhance the social development of the community. They joined with other stakeholders in the area and insisted that the project can only be inaugurated after completion and the access roads constructed by the constructors.

Daily Independent investigation further revealed that though the federal government has so far paid N500m for turbine, the contractor is yet to provide it while farmers whose crops were damaged during land acquisition for the project have not received a dime despite the fact that N20m has been, allegedly, paid to the contractors.

Former president of Ogwasi Uku Development Union (ODU), Mr Patrick Ajidua expressed dismay at the slow pace of work on the dam, wondering why President Jonathan led administration which has only few days to go was hurrying to commission a project that is yet to be completed urging the incoming administrator of Gen. Buhari to revisit the issues concerning the dam as the ancient town does not have a source of drinking water for long.

He claimed that the water project was awarded almost a decade ago and was supposed to have been completed in less than four years considering the fact that water is a major problem of the people. As it is at the moment, the project is not likely to see the light of the day.

According to Ajidua, ‘’The prison located somewhere close to the Local Government Council Secretariat was built by the Colonial Masters as a means of hounding the people from the area who were then seen as radicals for continually demanding for their rights while the Mobile Police Base was brought by one of our son as the then Minister.’’

Corroborating, members of the ODU threatened to mobilize the people of the community to resist the planned commissioning of the dam by the federal government.

Arising from its emergency meeting held last Saturday in Ogwashi-Uku, the ODU alleged that the dam was far from completion, as such advised the Federal Ministry of Water Resources to asked its contractor to return to site. In a 5-point communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, the union warned that any attempt to go on with the plan commissioning would be vehemently resisted by the community.

The communiqué was signed by Sir. Emmanuel Okafor (JP) and Mr. John Nwaekete, ODU’s President General and Secretary General respectively.

The Union also called on the federal government to ensure that the lingering issue of compensations owned some quarters and individuals in the community should be settled immediately. It also called on the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, to as a matter of urgency, include the Dam Project in the handing over note to the incoming administration of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari as an ongoing project

But the Director, Dams and Reservoir Operations, Ministry of Water Resources, Mr Reginald Ikpeawujo said President Goodluck Jonathan has approved grant for the completion of the project.

According to him, there was not much delay as what is left now is some of the associated works, like water treatment plant, hydro power which are ongoing, noting that the delay was caused by funding and with the approval of funds, the project irrespective of the location, would be completed soon.