Deafening allegations bordering on financial opaqueness, mismanagement and shoddy job have continued to trail the efforts of the authorities of the ABA South Local Council to reconstruct the burnt council Secretariat, even as many council workers and stake holders have described the quality of work being done as shoddy.
The ABA Town Hall and most sessions of the council were razed during the last, “End SARS” protests match that engulfed most parts of the country.
Most workers and other council stake holders who spoke under the condition of anonymity complained that apart from the low quality of work being executed by the contracting firm, the exercise has become a veritable conduit through which some forces within the council have been siphoning the resources of the council, just as they are uncomfortable with the secrecy that has continued to surround the financial worth of the entire reconstruction efforts. “The truth is that nobody at this council can tell you the financial worth of the reconstruction exercise apart from a few individuals at the top. Again, nobody can tell you how much that has been paid out. This is because they keep on using all manners of sub heads to approve and release the funds. So far, several millions of naira have been approved and released under many questionable subheads for the same project. A visibly worried council workersaid.
Only late last year a group of aggrieved Councilors of the Local Government led by Hon. Charles Ubani raised the alarm over the arbitrary manner the Council Chairman, Hon. Clinton Emmanuel Ebere had single handedly Awarded the contract. In an exclusive interview with ALL FACTS NEWSPAPER, Hon Ubani equally stated that apart from the contract not passing through the Legislative council as required by law, the Legislators are not aware of the contract sum.” You see so many figures are being bandied about. Some will say #70, million and some will say #168million. But the fact is that the Legislative Council has not received any proposal to that effect. Neither have we approved any. What we only saw was that last March the Chairman called people together to perform the ground breaking ceremony for the reconstruction exercise. “Hon Ubani stated.
The council stakeholders worry is however accentuated not only by the poor quality of work being executed but also the fact that the level of the job so far carried out does not commiserate with the alleged humongous amount so far released. As of the time of reporting last Wednesday, January 9 2022, only skeletal work has been done. Besides, it was discovered that the reconstruction efforts are being carried out without due regard to all the processes required for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of a structure whose integrity has been seriously compromised by fire. “As you can see, this woodwork and a few pillars put in some places are the only things to show for the several millions of naira they have collected from the Council coffers “another aggrieved worker revealed.
Several efforts were made to speak with the Chairman Hon. Clinton was rebuffed. However, the leader of the Legislative council Hon. Chinedu Onwutuebe blamed the seemingly slow pace of work on the paucity of funds, adding that the reconstruction exercise is being carried out in phases beginning from the Office of the Chairman. His promise to revert over other allegations after consulting with the Chairman. It could not be fulfilled,” I have been trying to get the Chairman, but it is not possible. I am not finding it easy to reach the Chairman, because I understand he is too busy.” Hon. Onwutuebe told a reporter.
The poor quality of work being executed, however, does not come to close watchers of events at the council as a surprise, going by the trajectory of the contracting firm. Findings revealed that the reconstruction job is being handled by the firm MEGA STARS., better and well known in the GAMBLING business. Located on the popular and ever-busy Nnamdi Azikiwe road in the commercial nerve centre of Abia state, Mega Stars is one of the major firms engaged in the business of pool betting.
Abia fact authoritatively gathered that all those who have been bold enough to question the Chairman’s handling of the reconstruction job, as well as his administrative style have been victimization one way or the other. Last November, the Chairman in a move widely perceived by not a few as majorly aimed at silencing opposition voices removed from office almost all principal officers of the council, as well as, his personal aides.
Anyalewechi Suleiman ABA.
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