Multi-billion naira roads constructed by the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa administration of Delta State are beginning to collapse just six months after their commissioning, SaharaReporters has learned.
Some of the most dilapidated roads are in Asaba, the state capital.
Engineers told our correspondent that the roads were poorly built with substandard materials.
Just last week, Delta State Commissioner for Works James Augoye, speaking on Hot 96.5 FM in Asaba, boasted that the roads were built to last by “first class contractors.”
“All of our contractors are first class contractors building standard roads that will stand the test of time,” Mr. Augoye said, citing SETRACO as one of construction companies hired by the state.
The public works commissioner also said that the state awarded a contract last year for the construction of a new N.17 billion sewage drainage system connecting DLA, Jesus Saves and Agric roads in Asaba in an effort to reduce severe flooding.
Despite the construction of this sewage system, the streets of Asaba are regularly flooded following heavy rains, which further damage the roads.
An investigation by our correspondent revealed that Mr. Okowa hired contracting companies owned by his cronies, relatives, and kinsmen.
Some of the companies do not even specialize in road construction, our correspondent learned. One such company is a supplier of office supplies and stationery with no record of construction or civil engineering.
The commissioner, who blamed the poor state of the roads on the rainy season, received backlash from Delta State residents after he took to social media to ask them to report incidents of damaged roads to his office.
Engineers who spoke with SaharaReporters under the condition of anonymity blamed Mr. Okowa for awarding contracts worth billions of naira to companies with little or no knowledge of road construction.
“What we are experiencing now is a result of the failure of the governor to give jobs to competent contractors. All jobs he awards are based on political patronage, especially to his brothers, kinsmen and cronies and the result is the failed and collapsed roads we are seeing,” one civil engineer said.
“Some of these roads haven’t even been constructed for six months and are already damaged.”
Another engineer who lamented how roads were poorly constructed with substandard materials in Delta State noted, “The problem is that because these roads are given out as political patronage by the governor. It’s difficult to carry out a holistic inspection because of the contractors’ relationships with the governor.
“They come in with intimidation and force the ministry to raise certificates for them even without inspection,” he said.