The newly constructed multi-million naira Direct Labour Agency (DLA) road, by the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa-led administration in Delta State, has collapsed seven months after it was inaugurated in an elaborate ceremony.
The road, which was inaugurated by former Senate President Bukola Saraki on Friday, March 19, 2021, on the invitation of the state governor, Okowa, collapsed two weeks ago, barely seven months after it was inaugurated, SaharaReporters has learnt.
Inaugurating the reconstructed DLA Road, the former Senate president, Saraki had poured encomiums on Okowa, noting that the new project was already having a positive impact on the economic activities in Asaba.
He thanked Okowa for completing the project and others.
“Your administration’s commitment to the growth and development of Asaba capital city is laudable and commendable. It gives me great pleasure to be here and to be part of this inauguration,” Saraki stated.
Okowa had commended the former senate president, Saraki while expressing delight to have achieved the completion of the DLA Road and its adjoining streets after unsuccessful attempts by previous administrations in the state.
“We are truly very happy that this road is being inaugurated by you; there have been previous attempts at constructing the road but it failed because of inadequate drainage facilities,” Okowa said.
According to the Director-General, Asaba Capital Territory Development Agency, Joan Mrakpor, whose agency is said to have handled the failed project, the contract was awarded in December 2018.
In 2017, multi-billion naira roads constructed by Governor Okowa’s administration in Delta State, especially in Asaba, the state capital began to collapse just six months after their inauguration.
Commenting on the collapse of the newly constructed DLA Road, a resident who simply identified himself as Chukwudi lamented the rate at which roads are been constructed across the state with substandard materials.
He said, “Some of the companies are owned by the governor’s cronies, relatives and kinsmen who do not even specialise in road construction. Some of these companies are suppliers of office supplies and stationery with no record of construction or civil engineering.”
Speaking with SaharaReporters, an Engineer in the state Ministry of Works, who spoke on condition of anonymity, revealed that the rate at which road projects failed and collapsed could be attributed to lack of in-depth inspection by directors in the ministry after collecting bribes from contractors as well as awarding of contracts to companies with little or no knowledge of road construction.
“An example of such substandard road projects is the Ikpide-Irri N1.5 billion shoddy road project awarded to a marine service company, Portplus limited by the governor as ‘kola nut to one of his cronies who supported him in 2015 governorship election. That project you see, one of our directors has eaten so much and he doesn’t bother to visit the site but certificates are raised and payments are done.
“N1.4 billion has been paid already even when the community is crying of substandard work. The problem is that these roads are given out as political patronage by the governor. It’s difficult to carry out a holistic inspection because of the contractor’s relationships with the governor. At times they connived with directors after collecting bribes or come in with intimidation and force the ministry to raise certificates for them even without inspection.”