By Jethro Ibileke/Benin
Deputy Majority Leader of the Federal House of Representatives, Peter Akpatason, has come under severe criticism over a 200-meter link road constructed in his Igarra community, Edo State.
Akpatason who represents Akoko-Edo Federal Constituency, sponsored the construction of the link road, apparently as part of his constituency project.
A signboard installed along the ongoing construction indicated that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, awarded the contract, while Royal Jeff Nigeria Limited is the construction company and the project sponsored by Peter Akpatason.
But, a video that has gone viral on social media, has exposed the shoddy job done by the construction company.
One Laba Lawani was seen in the video using his bare hand to remove the asphalt poured on red sand.
Also, the side drains were plastered with ordinary sand mixed with cement, with neither concrete nor rod put inside them.
At the site of the ongoing construction of a 200 metres link road at his constituency in Igarra, Akoko-Edo Local Government of Edo State was intended to malign and discredit his reputation.
The angry man who did not mention any name in the video, however, rained curses on politicians, alleging that the road falls short of the standard and poor quality.
Many who commented on the video, blamed the lawmaker, accusing him of defrauding his own people, over his failure to ensure that quality work is done on the short link road.
When contacted for reaction, the embattled federal lawmaker, said that the video is a deliberate attempt to malign his person, adding that what was shown was complete falsehood aimed to hoodwink the people for political reasons.
Akpatason rather asked the construction company to report Laba Lawani to the police for causing wilful damage to an ongoing road project, adding that the video is enough evidence to nail him.
According to him, “That job was awarded by the Department of Rural Development by the Ministry of Agriculture to a contractor and was given a clear deal of quantity.
“The boy in question in the viral video showed two major portions: one, the road where you have drainage leading to a slope, that portion is not part of his job. His community people pleaded with him to do that portion for them. Don’t forget that that portion is not in the bill of quantity.
“Secondly, the boy picked some asphalt on the ground and said that the asphalt was giving way which is also the shoulder of the road, not the road itself and that asphalt is burnt asphalt, waste material.
“He did not at any point show the road or the real drainage, so it is a deliberate attempt to malign my person, the falsehood he presented was very annoying and if you look at where he went to fetched the cement in that drainage.
”You will see that was the fresh work the people were doing on hand, it is not an old job, you can even see clearing from that video that one of them holding a shovel.
“In fact, he went there to cause damage to an ongoing job and I have told them that the contractor should go to the police to report that case, that is wilful damage to ongoing construction work. That video is sufficient to prosecute him. Everything that he did was political.”
In the interim, the author of the video, Laba Lawani, has raised the alarm that he has been threatened by some persons since he made the video.
Lawani added that someone wrote to him and reminded him of how social media has sent some persons to their early grave.
“I had no bad intentions against anyone when I did the video. But in the last 48 hours, I have received calls that posses a threat to my life,” he said.
Meanwhile, the State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has directed the Edo SEFOR to take over the construction of the road.
The Governor gave the directive when his Deputy, Philip Shaibu, inspected the site of the project. He said the state has maintained a standard in the execution of road projects across the state, describing the project in Akoko-Edo as substandard.
Obaseki, who ordered for the arrest of the contractor handling the project, urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), to immediately commence investigations into the road project by inviting Akpatason, the facilitator of the contract to explain his role in the execution of the project.
He praised the whistleblower who brought the poorly executed road project to the attention of the state government, noting that the bad job done does not represent the standard of projects in the State of Akoko-Edo community.
“I want to thank you for raising the alarm over this bad job. If you had not raised the alarm, it would have been on paper that this road has been completed. I call on you to take charge of all government properties in your area.
“The contractor handling this project must be arrested for the bad job done and handed over to ICPC and the EFCC, alongside the honourable member representing the people of the area. This is to enable us to ascertain what happened. When the government is doing anything for you, please take charge of it.
“Comrade Adams Oshiomhole made a statement that the only job taking place in Edo North is by honourable members and the Senator. In Edo State, we don’t have problems with our representatives and senators.
“Senator Francis Alimikihena wrote to the Edo State Government that he wants to build a Dialysis Centre and his request was granted and a space provided. The Senator was supervised to ensure he sticks to the state’s standard.
“Hon. Peter Akpatason’s case was not like that, as he didn’t do the same. I am aware that N360 million has been assigned to him for constituency projects for the Akoko-Edo people.
“Edo-SEEFOR is taking over this road. The Edo State Government is taking over the reconstruction of this road immediately. This job has been revoked. N360m is what is allocated to Akoko-Edo constituency projects by the National Assembly this year.
”We would investigate all that to ensure we have value for money; this bad job can’t be accepted as it is not up to our standard in Edo State.”