…Orders Immediate Payment of December Salaries.
By Michael Odiah
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has said that Asaba Airport has been a major issue to the state, hinting that the contractor handling the project has formally withdrawn from the contract.
Okowa who made these statement Monday, December 18, during the last session of the 2017 Quarterly Media Interaction at the Government House Press Center Asaba, said, the interest of every Deltan comes first in his heart and that he does not mind stepping on any toes to do the right thing.
He disclosed that 8 days before his assumption of office, the immediate past administration of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan awarded the reconstruction of the Asaba Airport Runway to ULO Consultants at a contract sum of N5.2bn with an advanced payment of 50% made to the contractor. “This was evidently encouraging enough for the contractor to have completed the project within the stipulated time frame of four months, but lingered on till November 2017 when the contractor formally pulled out from the project”.
While stressing that the state is bigger than anybody, Governor Okowa noted that he is not friends with anybody as concerns doing the right thing which is why the Airport project and Mariam Babangida way which was poorly handled by ULO contractors will be re-awarded to a more competent contractor.
On the deficient drainage system in the State capital, Okowa informed Journalists that an underground drainage system had be awarded to a Chinese construction firm, CCECC, to drain water from DLA, Jesus Saves road and environs to River Niger. He said that work has began on the Water Storm project site and is progressing really fast, while studies are on-going for Okpanam, DBS road which will be bigger and a whole lot expensive.
The Governor lamented that his administration met a very difficult state upon assumption of office taking cognizance of the first half of the year when finances was not at its peak till June 2017 which was a lot better.
Okowa expressed disappointments with Deltans who wait till midnight to dispose their refuse on the streets and roads, and urged the media to educate Deltans on the consequences of such activities, hinting that a task force will soon be initiated to apprehend perpetrators of such acts and go ahead to offer them a huge fine or jail terms.
While emphasizing that local governments in the state have received timely salary payments in the past 6-7 months, Governor Okowa submitted that the state does not owe salaries, and that worker’s salaries for the month of December will be paid before Christmas celebration as instructions have been given out to that effect.