Edo State chapter of the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP), has called for a comprehensive probe of the N30bn Benin storm water project, awarded by the immediate past Governor of the State, Adams Oshiomhole.
The storm water project was conceived to curb the menace of erosion in Benin City.
The then Governor Oshiomhole commissioned a South African company to design a master plan for the project.
The entire project cost was put at N150bn, with phase one awarded at the cost of N30bn.
The N30bn was raised at the capital market.
While parts of the project have been abandoned, several sections of the moat constructed at Okhoro Road and Upper Law-abiding have already have collapsed.
Edo State Chairman of the PDP, Chief Dan Orbih, who conducted an on-the-spot-assessment visit to parts of the project site in Egor Local Government Area of the state, alleged that the project has eventually become a permanent recipe for mosquitoes.
He said: “I call for a comprehensive probe of this project, from the time they acquired the N30bn bond, those who facilitated the bond, those who were paid the commission of N1.5bn and those who are now shifting blame for the disaster here.
“They have been part of this project and they must account for the public fund that have been wasted here.
“You can see this is just a mere erosion control project. They called it a very big title, the Benin storm water project.
“There is no storm here, there is no storm water project, there is no earthquake, nothing. It is all a deceit.
“They have constructed a gutter that has become a permanent habitat for mosquitoes,” he said.
Orbih added that for them to put an end to the ugly narrative in the State, the citizens must join hands with the PDP in 2020, to edge out the ruling APC.
“You will also agree with me that the Edo people have seen for themselves the blame-game of the APC government in the State.
“As we approach 2020, which is an election year for the people of Edo State, we call on Edo people to watch very closely the blame game by the APC actors in the State between Adams Oshiomhole and Godwin Obaseki.
“It is very obvious that there is something that is wrong with this government. It is the duty of government to carry out project that will be in the best interest of the people, but here we are, a project that they informed the State will cost about N30 billion, they are now talking about N150b to complete this project.
“They have also come out to say it will take another 30 years for them to be able to complete this project and at a time none of them probably will be alive to answer for the failure of this project.
“Let me state clearly here, Edo State people are tired of this blame game between godfather and the godson.
“Starting from the Specialist Hospital project to the crisis in the State House of Assembly and now the Benin Storm Water Project, it is all blame game,” he added.
Orbih said the state government should not abandon the project which it was part and parcel of and that it should stop the blame-game and complete the project for respite to return to the affected area.
“I want Edo people to look at this government, look at the failure of this government and urge them to put an end to this disaster. I can say quite clearly that we need to change the narrative in Edo State politics, the deceit and the distortion of fact must come to an end,” he said.
Efforts to get a reaction from the State Commissioner for Information, Paul Ohonbamu, failed, as calls made to his mobile phone could not connect.
Meanwhile, responding to the PDP allegation, the Edo State Government said the Benin Water Storm Project has not been abandoned, as work on the multi-phased project is ongoing in different parts of the state’s capital.
The government also stressed that it is not borrowing any funds for the project.
In a statement, Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Crusoe Osagie, said insinuations that the state government was borrowing funds for the project are completely false and should be disregarded.
He said: “It is disheartening that the opposition political party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is playing to the gallery concerning the project.
“The project is multi-phased and is being executed simultaneously in different parts of the city. The party cannot go to one spot (Uwelu East & West Catchment Portion) of the project and draw a conclusion on the fate of the entire project.”
According to him, “we advise the PDP to be more pragmatic and desist from a witch-hunt approach to opposition politics. Instead of trying to sensationalise issues, they should get the facts right and go to the press with the true state of things; not half-truths and falsehood.
“We want to use this opportunity to advise members of the public to disregard allegation that the state government is borrowing again to finance the work. Such allegations are baseless.”