Contract racketeering is gradually becoming one of the most common crimes in the Nigerian public sector as investigations by this online media have continued to unearth. And for the Nigerian South-South State, Bayelsa, the case is no different.
Data on the Bayelsa State Open Procurement Portal have shown that the State government under its former Governor, Henry Seriake Dickson awarded a contract for the “Clearing of Bayelsa State Airport” at the sum of N810, 000,000.00.
According to the data, the over 8 million Naira contract listed at serial number 6 in the 2018 contracts list, was awarded to Coma Industries Limited. However, the duration of the contract was not given.
An investigation by this online media showed that the contract was re-awarded to the same company for the “Clearing of Bayelsa State Airport along Amassoma road”. The re-awarded contract, which sits comfortably at ‘number 15 on the 2018 contracts’ was worth N810, 000,000.00.
There are no details or reports on why the contract was awarded twice to the same company.
It is imperative to note that the Bayelsa International Airport, also known as BIA is located at Wilberforce Island, Amassoma, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, located at GPS coordinates: 4°57′46″N 6°12′20″E.
Official records have it that the airport was commissioned for construction in 2012 by Bayelsa State ex-Governor Henry Seriake Dickson.
On 14 February 2019, the airport had its inaugural flight. It was officially commissioned for operation on Monday, 10 February 2020 by Dickson.
However, it was on the 17th of April 2021 that the Airport was cleared and granted commercial flight operations approval by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
The NCAA Director General, Captain Nuhu Musa, presented the approval letter to the current Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri at the Government House, Yenagoa, after the NCAA team completed the mandatory inspection of the airport and its facilities.
Diri had described the issuing of the operational license as a windy journey that began from the administration of his immediate predecessor to when he assumed office over a year ago.
Diri said: “This is a dream come true for our state and our people. I thank God Almighty because this journey had been a winding one from my immediate past predecessor and I have been in the saddle for over a year waiting for this license. Today, God made it possible.
“I also thank my predecessor, Senator Henry Seriake Dickson. This airport had been on the drawing board, but he took the bull by the horns by starting the airport and virtually completed it. May I on behalf of this government and the people of Bayelsa appreciate him”.
Meanwhile, findings revealed that Coma Industries Limited was incorporated in Lagos, Nigeria with Registration Number 30048. It was registered on 06 Sep 1979 and its current status is unknown. The company’s office address is 92, ST. Finbarr’s College Road, Lagos.
A check on the Corporate Affairs Commission showed that the company is inactive – an indication that the has not filed its annual returns up to date