Delta, contractor trade blame over N26b airport contract


Hope for the turn around of the multi billion Naira Asaba Airport has dwindled following the disengagement of ULO Consult, the contractor handling the project.

The Delta State government and the contracting firm handling the construction works at the Asaba Airport, ULO Consultants Limited are currently trading blames over the alleged shoddy execution of runway project at the Asaba Airport.

Built at a cost of over N26 billion, the airport was started under ex-Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan in 2008 but suffered a major setback when the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) downgraded it in 2015 as the state government failed to fix key infrastructure, including repairs of the uneven runways, perimeter fencing, drainage as well as lack of adequately trained technical personnel.

But the contracting firm, had at the State House of Assembly last week blamed the government for an alleged unnecessary and over bearing interference on the poor execution and delay in the project.

The Chief Executive of the construction firm, Chief Uche Okpunor, told the House of Assembly Committee on Works that the government and the state ministry of works allegedly were responsible for the delay in completion of the project as a result of unnecessary bureaucracy.

He added that inconsistent designs, atmosphere conditions, and terrain among other issues formed the bulk of the reason behind the delay, and eventual failure of the runway.

Delta Commissioner for Works, Mr. James Augoye dismissed the allegation. He said that one of the problems violating air space safety code was the presence of sea of illegal structures (residential apartments) constructed a few meters from the airport’s runway, a disturbing observable fact he alleged ULO could not addressed.

He said the Ministry of Works has received a letter of disengagement from ULO Consultants Ltd.He said the letter has been passed to the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice to examine its financial, legal and contractual implications.

But the contractor, Mr. Uche Ukponor refused to disclose what informed his decision to disengage from the contract after presentation of the project status to the House Committee on Works but assured that he will do so in due time.

Okpunor alleged that the government and the State Ministry of Works were partly responsible for the delay in completing the project due to deliberate bureaucracy.He further alleged inconsistent designs, atmospheric conditions and terrain among other issues as cause for the failure of the runway.

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