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N429m FG Project: Enugu community sues perm sec, contractor

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By Uzoh Ugwueze, Enugu 

The controversy over the federal government’s Ecological Fund Road Project in Oma-Eke Community in Udi Council Area of Enugu state has taken a new dimension.

This is as some aggrieved indigenes of the community have dragged the permanent secretary, Ecological Funds Office, a contracting firm, Flab Engineering Services Ltd, and others to court over alleged non-execution of the 3.8-kilometre road project.

The project priced at over 429 million naira was awarded by the Ecological Funds Office to check ravaging erosion menace in the area. 

The suit is coming after weeks of protest by members of the community.

Also joined as defendants in the case with suit No FHC/EN/CS/ 59/2021, filed at the Federal High Court Enugu, Division, by their counsel, Godwin Onwusi, were the attorney general of the federation, as well as the consulting company, Eco Project Services Limited.

The community is claiming almost 290 million naira as damages for the alleged non- execution of the contract against the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants, an amount out of which the sum of 203, 626,804,43 million naira is said to be the cost for the 1.8 kilometres of the road that would have been done in Oma-Eke community.

They hinted in the suit that other monies that were added to the nearly 290 million naira, they were asking for, included what they expended in preparing the bill of quantities/design for the road which was used to apply to the Ecological Funds office for the approval of the project, cost of the suit, among other expenses.

The six plaintiffs and indigenes of the area, namely, Nze Christopher Onwumelu, Comrade Samuel Ifoh, Mr. Iruka Ejiofor, Mr. Festus Metta, Mr. Uwaechie Metta and Harold Ofordu, had approached the court, in a representative capacity, via Barrister Onwusi, for themselves and on behalf of the community.

The community, it would be recalled, had recently staged a protest over moves by the defendants to commission the said road project awarded under Ecological Funds Projects, but was never executed.

They, however, wondered how a road project would be inaugurated before construction work even began, describing such act as “a monumental fraud that must be resisted.”

The angry indigenes, who moved round the streets of the community to register their displeasure over the development, displayed placards, some with inscriptions such as: “EFCC WHERE ARE YOU”; ICPC WHERE ARE YOU” “CORRUPTION UNLIMITED” “PUBLIC PROCUREMENT ACT CRUCIFIED,” etc.

It was also gathered that the said Ecological Fund Road Project, which was secured under the office of the secretary to the federal government, was yet to commence, yet a delegation from the Ecological Funds office was said to be in the area to inaugurate the project, which was resisted by the people.

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