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Don’t engage incompetent firms for dredging, says group

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu

Posted on April 15, 2024

The Transparency Advocacy Initiative has warned against awarding channelisation contracts to incompetent firms in Lagos State.

In a statement signed by the National President of the initiative, Kehinde Mabogunje, the group noted that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State had pledged to prioritise the development of road, rail, and water transportation in its infrastructural roadmap.

He stated the government had been delivering on this promise, particularly evident in its advancements in road and rail infrastructure.

He asserted, “However, with waterways channelisation infrastructure, it seems some people are hell-bent on frustrating the efforts of the Lagos State Government as incompetent contractors are consistently being awarded delicate and complex jobs like the Odo Iyaalaro through Ogudu to Oworoshoki channel dredging, which is allegedly awarded at a cost of N5b to a contractor, who cannot embark on such a technical job.

“Hence, our call for a thorough investigation by the Lagos State Governor into the award of such dredging contracts to incompetent contractors with obsolete equipment is not fit enough to meet the modern-day demand for the job.

“This incompetence was first noticed during the tenure of the previous Commissioner of Water Front, Kabiru, and the appointment of a true Lagosian, Dayo Bush-Alebiosu, had brought hope to concerned stakeholders, but unfortunately the system has continued unabated as civil servants in the ministry are said to be handed in gloves with some highly placed persons to ensure that jobs are awarded to incompetent hands at the detriment of the general public, despite the good intentions of the state governor.“

On the efforts made in this regard, the statement noted that as an organisation that was committed to water infrastructural development in Nigeria, it had made various attempts at speaking with the directors and permanent secretary in the said ministry.

“All our efforts have proven abortive, as nobody is ready to speak on the issue for fear of victimisation.

“However, we will continue to engage and liaise with the Lagos State Government to ensure the development of water infrastructure is not only actualised and sustainable, but competence and capacity are ably promoted and maintained throughout the process.

“Our visit to these sites of the dredging project tells a sad story of a nation so blessed with so much competence yet frustrated by nepotistic practices and gross ineptitude. We are not frowning at some people using contracts to empower political associates and supporters, but such companies must be credible, competent, and capable,” Mabogunje noted.

He called on the Lagos State governor to investigate the award of contracts to incompetent hands.

“We are, by this notice, calling on the Lagos State governor to immediately investigate the award of that job to remedy the damage already done by the lack of incompetence displayed by the contractors, to not only save the project but also the credibility of the procurement process in the state,” he asserted.

Recall that the Joint Youth Progressive Alliance, a coalition of over 20 civil society groups, had called on the Sanwo-Olu-led administration to investigate the alleged shoddiness and incompetence of some companies handling dredging projects on the Lagos waterways.

The group condemned the practice of a particular dredging company that uses two small dredgers on site, which was grossly inadequate to create a new channel, especially in such a terrain, despite the huge amount of money estimated at N5b for the project.


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