Inside Niger Community Where N716 Million Abandoned Projects Trouble Residents

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Inside Niger Community Where N716 Million Abandoned Projects Trouble Residents

By Umar Yunusa

 

Residents of Niger State’s Mokwa community have been concerned because N716 million projects awarded by the state government in 2018 have been neglected, causing concern among residents.

According to a report from 2018, Governor Abubakar Sani Bello’s administration had planned 9 projects in rural road construction, rehabilitation, and electrification across the state’s 25 local governments.

INCNews247 learnt a sum of N716 million was awarded to MAHALDA BEST NIGERIAN LIMITED to construct a road on Market road, which connects the Muslim cemetery to Mission road in the community, but the road has remained unfinished since 2018.

Further investigation reveals that the township project, which was supposed to be finished in three months, has been abandoned in the community, causing concern among locals.

 

FLOOD TROUBLES KPEGE’S RESIDENTS

In tracing the causes of the devastating flood incident in the area, Abubakar chastised the government, claiming that nothing had been done since his last visit.

According to him, the government’s emissary visits had had little effect, and the abandoned project was causing residents problems.

Abubakar who spoke to INCNews247 noted that, “At the time of construction, residents insisted the drainage tunnel should be made to face another direction but the contractor assured total control of flood.

“Whenever it rains, the area (kpege) always flooded. Some residents along Alhaji Kudu’s house suffer from flooding also.”

Adamu Adamu, a tailor on Kpege’s area, described how floods had wrecked his home.

He chastised the contractors for failing to enlarge the drainage burrow, claiming that the flooding had created a problem.

“We are pleading with the government to come to our aid as a result of this flooding challenge. In his pleading tone, he begged the government to complete the abandoned project”, said Adamu.

Another victim of the disaster, Abdulkabiru Alim, who this reporter met at his tailoring shop, blamed the government for neglecting the project.

“When it is cloudy, I usually take our luggage into the shop for safety,” he recalled.

In his capacity to curtailing the annual ravaging flood disaster, he said, while pointing to the built blocks, “As you can see, I built the frontage of the shop to prevent further occurrence of flood disaster”.

Mansurat sitting in her pharmacy

It rained heavily before this reporter met Masurat Abdulgafar in her pharmaceutical shop where she narrated her ordeals, noting that the flood disaster had consumed her properties.

 

She said, “After the flood-damaged my properties, the landlady’s son be of help to some extent. He helped in building the frontage of my shop to curb the further occurrence of the disaster”.

Giving an account of her consumed properties by the flood, “I lost phone, stabilizer, and other valuable items to the flooding, ” she told INCNews247.

On 11, November 2021, it rained heavily in Mokwa before this reporter visited Hassana’s compound, seeing how the entire house surged with a flood.

Upon arriving at Hassana’s compound, this reporter met her sitting on a wooden seat. She blamed how poor drainage structure had made her cottage a fish-pond.

Royce Kolo in her residence

“Whenever it rains, the entire house becomes fish-pond as it takes almost days before it dries up,” she lamented.

TRADERS’ SHOP DEMOLISHED, GRUMBLE OF FUNDS

In the market road that connects to Muslim cemetery, this reporter counted about 40 demolished traders’ shops in the street to widen the construction of road in the boulevard.

It was gathered that few shops along the street were compensated but further findings reveal that demolished shops by the roadside were counted out of compensation.

Meeting Isiyaku, a middle- aged man, in his residence, where also, he narrated the drama of his demolished veranda despite not being on the roadside.

“Although they gave us notice orally before demolishing shops along the street,” he claimed.

“In my shop, it was not built on the roadside but I was counted out of compensated ones. They instructed me to remove my veranda which I did,” he said.

He, however, continued that his brother’s shop was also denied compensation funds, adding that his brother’s shop was built on the market’s fence which belonged to the government.

Sitting on a two-legged stool prepared to take his lunch, Bala Tayi was in no mood to talk to this reporter.

Looking in another direction, Tayi said “When contractors came, they went straight to those who have shops, leaving out shops on the roadside.

“Our shops were on the roadside so we were not invited,” he noted while pointing to the position of his former shop.” I can recall when notice was served, although I was in youth service then.

“We were given a notice of months to remove our shops along the street,” he said.

Zakari Yakubu positioned in his new shop when this reporter visited. “Funds were paid to notify traders,” he said slowly. “Even as others were grumbling to get the money, we later accepted it as fate”.

“After the expiration of the given time, they started work immediately,” Yakubu said.

RESIDENTS REACT, FAULT KETSO OF AN ABANDONED PROJECT

The residents of the community had been worried over abandoned projects in the community, faulting Ahmad Mohammed Ketso, the deputy governor of the state for pocketing funds meant for the project completion.

President of Federation of Mokwa Youth Association, FOMYA, Mohammed Kudu Alhassan while narrating their drama during their encounter with Ketso.

Stressing that members of the community went to Minna to see the deputy governor for the state of not completing Mokwa township road.

“He told us that he would take care of that, now it is more than two-years,” he said.

He, however stated they (youths) went to government house many times but as of the time of visit then, the governor was not in the country. Ketso was the interim governor instead of giving directives yet it yielded no result.

“In our presence, he would call the commissioner of works and housing and talk to him. Imitating Ketso’s tone in Hausa language, he said ” Yaya batun Aiki na Mokwa? Ba amba contractor Kudi ba?

“As you can see whatever we want to do, there will be a limitation, adding that all efforts have proved abortive but we have done our parts, ” Alhassan explained.

Also, a resident who craved anonymity for the fear of victimization claimed over N700 million was budgeted for the road construction.

According to him, the money was approved but it has been one story to another.

He, however, claimed the money for the road was pocketed by a top political officeholder, adding that the politician is from Mokwa LG.

While drawing pictures of similar projects lined up by the administration, he said most roads awarded in the same year with Mokwa own have been completed or at an advanced stage, lamenting that Mokwa township road is still at foundation level.

“I think the contractor is in alliance with this politician. They swindle the money together but if we gather more facts, we will involve EFCC,” he explained.

He further claimed more than sixty percent of the fund had been said to be released.

Applauding groups for their tireless efforts, he said “FOMYA and other sister groups are trying to see the reasons behind the delay of the project despite funds being released.

He further advised the community to send a delegation to the state to know why the project was hanged and other LG is at the finishing stage.

Reacting to abandoned road construction, Abdullahi Ndejiko noted that abandoned road construction had resulted in problems.

Ndejiko said vehicles and passers-by usually raise dust on our goods, getting worse when it rains as cars and other moveable vehicles do spread mud.

“Sellers in Kpege streets and residents clean their goods and other valuable items whenever dirty water sprang to their goods.

“If the government can complete it for us, it will be useful to us, adding that it will be a credit to this administration, ” said Ndejiko.

On his part, Alhassan Moh’d while reacting to the abandoned road,he said residents had faced consequences of the abandoned project.

He said motorcycles and cars rose dust on selling goods that made some customers lose interest in buying the products.

Appealing to the government to complete the project, he said, ” it would be a credit to this led-administration as well as good to the community.

NOTICE SERVED BUT FUNDS WERE GIVEN ACCORDING TO SHOP’S SIZE, SAYS SHOP OWNERS

Visiting compensated traders, this reporter learned most of the traders met during the visits were tenants, punctuating his words, Umaru Abdullahi said he took the shop for rent.

He, however, stated that traders were compensated. The owner of the shop claimed the money, adding that they (Shop owners) were notified and settled.

Not contrary to Abdullahi’s claim on evacuated notice, meeting this trader in his provision shop, Mohammed Cheka, dialogues with this reporter that notice was served which expired after months.

“At first when they came, all traders in this street were given notice to evacuate,” adding that funds were disbursed, Cheka told INCNews247.

Similarly, shop owner, Babawari Ndejiko said before shops were demolished, a notice was served that elapsed after months.

“The compensation depends on the size and neatness of the shop environment before handling money to us, ” he said.

Alhaji Kudu, a shop owner in the street noted that a sum of one hundred and sixty thousand naira (N160,000) was handed to them as a compensation fund but it was according to the size of the shops.

Isha A. Cheka said six hundred thousand (600,000) was handed to them, further saying the shop belongs to the family.

“We took photography with government’s emissaries as of the time they gave us funds,” he said.

“The funds were given to us at primary school in Mokwa, standing from morning to dusk. I was the last person to collect money there,” he recounted.

When contacted, the local supervisor in Mokwa, Daniyan said the contract was awarded based on a three-month duration to be completed.

He stated the problem is from the government officials, adding that the funds were not released to contractors.

When this reporter tried to confirm the exact amount budgeted and documents for the road, “I can’t remember the figure now and I can’t access the documents now as it is an official document,” he said.

NO RESPONSE FROM GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS

INCNews247 made multiple calls to Mohammed Idris, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, but he did not respond to any. Also a text message was sent to him, and there was no reply either.

Also, when our reporter contacted the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mary Noel Berge, seeking her comment on this reporter’s findings said she would share commissioner of works’ contact but yet to, as of press time.

 

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