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Group urges LASG to probe N5bn dredging contract


Posted on April 24, 2024

The Coalition of Concerned Lagosians has called on the Lagos State Government to probe the N5bn contract for the dredging and channelisation of the Mende to the Lagoon Waterfront recently awarded by the state government.

The group announced this on Thursday in a statement jointly signed by its national president, Nurudeen Olawale, and secretary, Korede Animashaun.

It said that the contract awarded to a construction firm was to cover an area of 7km long by 40 meters wide and 4 metres deep for one year.

“For the dredging of Mende through Odo Iya Alaro to Ikorodu Channel going to Lagos at the sum of N5b and is to cover a total area of 7km long by 40 meters wide by 4 meters deep for one year,” they said.

The group charged the state government to conduct a thorough and forensic audit into the award of the contract.

“As concerned stakeholders, we would not close our eyes to the recent developments and allegations of violations of procurement procedures in the award of channelisation contracts happening in the Ministry of Water Front in the state

“We are by this notice calling on the state government to conduct a thorough and forensic audit into the award of the contract for the channelisation of the Mende to the Lagoon Waterfront recently awarded by the state government,” it noted.

According to the group, even though the state government had paid N2.5bn for mobilisation, nothing serious had been done on the project.

“Even though N2.5bn mobilisation has been paid, nothing concrete is seen on the ground, apart from the inappropriate dredger for the project dumped on site, and (it) has been stationed in one spot under the bridge for the last six months without any tangible trace of dredging work going on,” the group claimed.

It accused the contractors of claiming to have concluded the job and demanding its balance.

“Reliable information available to us shows that the contractor is claiming to have concluded the job and requesting an additional balance of N2.5bn from the Lagos State Government,” it added.

According to the group, it carried out the necessary measurements of the water depth using an eco sander to check the depth of the water before the commencement of the said work, “and if they claim they have done a thorough and credible job, we would not hesitate to take the same measurement and publish our findings for the entire world to see.”

It declared that the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu would not want to be dragged into allegations of corruption “in connection with violations of procurement procedures, considering his unblemished records.”

“Hence, our reasons for drawing his attention to these allegations and anomalies,” the group asserted.

It also called on the National Inland Waterways Authority to investigate the allegation.

“As stakeholders, we are also calling on NIWA to investigate the said allegation to ensure the protection, integrity, and credibility of the organisation as regards its core mandate, which also includes protection and expansion of our waterways,” it added.

The group promised to cooperate with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission if need be.

“We would not hesitate to avail the EFCC with the necessary information, if need be, to enable them to prosecute whoever is culpable in any allegation of corruption and violation of procurement processes as regards the referenced job, including account details of relevant recipients of the contract sum,” it stated.

The coalition urged the governor to appoint a new consultant to supervise the project.

“If possible, a new team of consultants (should be) appointed to supervise the execution of the job and report back to the state within a specified period.

“The state government should not allow such a laudable project to be used as a conduit for political patronage and settlement, as the backlash will be counterproductive,” the group remarked.

Responding, the Lagos State Commissioner for Information, Mr Gbenga Omotosho, said, “I didn’t even know that such a thing existed. So, I would need to find out; unless you think that I know about every contract awarded in Lagos and every contractor; and that I check all the sites every day to find out which contractor is on site and which one is not on site. So, it is not something you can get immediately.”

The Secretary General of the Dredgers Association of Nigeria, Richard Ntan, told The PUNCH,  “They are not our members. So, I can’t speak on their behalf. We usually talk on behalf of any of our registered members. If people are operating and they are not our members and anything goes wrong, we won’t talk. If they were our members now, they would be in our register and I would be able to talk.”


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