The Anambra state House of Assembly Committee on Economic Planning , sustainable Development and Donor Agencies has expressed worry over the poor quality of work done by contractors handling the construction of six hundred fish ponds , hostel blocks and farm houses in Aguleri and Adazi Nnukwu communities.
To this end the committee says it may be inviting the Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Nnamdi Onukwuba to appear before the State house to explain how his ministry expended the One point Five billion naira agricultural loan received from the Central Bank of Nigeria in 2020.
Chairman of the House Committee, Mr Ebere Ejiofor who spoke shortly after he led other members of the committee to oversight some of the projects awarded by the state government.
The law makers threatened to call for the revocation of the contracts following the slow pace and poor quality of work done in the two communities visited.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) launched guidelines for the regulation of the Private Sector-Led Accelerated Agriculture Development Scheme (P-AADS), in order to boost private sector staple food production, industrial raw materials and support food security, job creation and economic diversification in the country in 2020.
The apex bank said in the bid to address food security and youth unemployment challenges across the country, the Accelerated Agriculture Development Scheme (AADS) is to engage 370,000 youths in agricultural production, in collaboration with state governments.
In line with this , the Anambra state government had applied and collected one point five billion naira for the sole purpose of fish and rice farming in some local government areas across the three senatorial zones of the state.
Contracts were awarded through the state Ministry of Agriculture for the construction of three hundred fish ponds in Adazi Nnukwu in Anaocha local government area to the tune of seventy five million, two hundred and fifty thousand naira and another three hundred fish pond in Aguleri, Anambra East local government area to the same amount of seventy five million, two hundred and fifty thousand naira.
Contract was also awarded for the construction of fifty bed capacity hotel each in Aguleri and Adazi Nnukwu communities to the tune of one hundred and thirteen million five hundred and five thousand naira.
Farm houses , entrance gates, perimeter fencing, and generator houses was also awarded for the two communities with a total amount of one hundred and twenty two million, one hundred and seventy nine thousand, two hundred and eighty five kobo.
A document made available to the House committee by the Ministry of Agriculture, also showed that forty one million , seven hundred and sixty three thousand naira was also awarded for the construction of industrial boreholes to serve the two fish farm ponds.
Hon Ejiofor who represents Anaocha Constituency One in the state assembly, expressed displeasure over the work on ground which he said was not commensurate with the amount so far released to the firms.
He regretted that the sum of three hundred and twenty six million , one hundred and thirty six thousand, six hundred and three naira had been paid to contractors, out of five hundred and ten million , three hundred and twenty thousand , two hundred and eighty five naira being total sum of the projects in Aguleri and Adazi Nnukwu.
“This is a total failure, as there is nothing to show that this amount of money has been released.
“Look at Adazi Nnukwu site, only one hundred and fifty fish ponds have been done and it is not poorly done.
“The work is not durable. They are using red mud to plaster walls of the generating house while that of Aguleri fifty bed hotel is still at foundation, and yet millions of naira have been released as claimed by the Commissioner for Agriculture.
“I think we will invite him to come and explain how such amount will be released with little or nothing to show on ground,” Ejiofor fumed.
Another member of the committee, Hon Emmanuel Nwafor representing Orumba South constituency, described the quality of work as substandard and called for the revocation of the contracts which he said was in the best interest of the masses.
“From what we have on paper, they said forty percent of the work has been completed but what we are seeing here , the 300 bed capacity hostel is still under the ground.
“They have not even come to the DPC level, so I believe the Commissioner for Agriculture should be summoned so that he can answer some certain questions.
“We require the Commissioner to give us details of what has been going on.
“This project is supposed to have been handed over to the people of Anambra state but look at where we are,” he said.
In an interview, the Managing Director , Anambra state Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Agency FACDA , Mr Emeka Iloghalu described the projects as well thought-out government project but however expressed worry over the delay in the completion of the youth friendly initiative.
According to him, “FABDA is supposed to be the consultant to this project.
FABDA made the concept, design and structuring of the project and according to the guideline of the CBN, the project management team was set up by the governor of Anambra state and all the work was done.
“We ought to have finished but at the moment, the Ministry of Agriculture, Honorable Commissioner and the Permanent Secretary are in the best position to provide the details of why this project is still at this stage,” he said.
Our correspondent spoke with Mr Chukwudi Okosie, Site Supervisor for CIVIL CREST Engineering Services Ltd, one of the contractors handling the construction of the fish ponds in Aguleri, Farm Houses, entrance gates , fencing and generator houses in Adazi Nnukwu and Aguleri, who said though he does not have the details of the amount so far received, the project would be delivered in the next four months.
“I don’t actually have details for the amount of money that has been released, so I can’t compare if work on ground is up to the money but I believe we have been doing well.
“Our challenges were during the rainy season and the road was too bad that sometimes we got stuck, and trying to come down here was a problem.
“At times, we won’t even do any work, getting materials and bringing workers here is the main challenge we have. “Secondly, the nature of this place, the floor was so bad that we could not get materials through especially at the back where we needed to put fence,” he lamented.