Tales of monumental looting through procurement processes in Nigeria may for long remain a big stain in the developmental strides of many States especially in the God’s own state, Abia State as many contractors and MDAs have over the years used the process as a medium to enrich their pockets.
One of such tales is the award of an outrageous amount for the cleaning of drainage and a primary and Secondary school in the remote community of Owaza, a sparsely populated oil-producing community situated in Ukwa East, Abia State which is close to the Imo River and home to Nigeria’s OML 11 with two big oil firms; Shell Petroleum Development Company and TOTAL operating in the area.
According to Abia State Open contracting portal, in 2017, a contract sum of N7,362,600 was awarded by the Abia State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (ASOPADEC) which also doubled as the contractor in the direct bidding for the “Cleaning of Owaza secondary and primary school and the drainage in the community.”
Subsequently, another sum of N6,445,530 was awarded in 2018 to Pasmaga & Co in an open bidding for Desilting of drainages, clearing of Shrubs at the road shoulders/off drain in the same Owaza community as seen in the document.
This contracts we learned were awarded in the same period when the community through its leaders were agitating over the continuous neglect by the federal government and their non-inclusion in the Corporate Social Responsibility calendar of the private oil companies operating in the area.
With no breakdown of the kind of cleaning services that were rendered available and the uncertainty as to if the services were ever executed, industry experts when contacted, however, opined that such amount was way too large to be awarded for cleaning a secondary and primary school, hinting at a possible fraud by both the contractors and ASOPADEC.