Indigenes of Oma-Eke Community in Udi Council Area of Enugu State have dragged the Permanent Secretary, Ecological funds office, a contracting firm, Flab Engineering Services Ltd, and others to court over alledged non-execution of a 3.8 kilometre Ecological Fund Road Project.
DAILY POST reports that the project valued at over 429 million naira was awarded by the Ecological Funds Office to check ravaging erosion menace in the area.
The suit is coming after weeks of protest by members of the community.
Also joined as defendants in the case with suit No FHC/EN/CS/ 59/2021, filed at the Federal High Court Enugu, Division, by Counsel to the plaintiffs, Godwin Onwusi, (Esq), are the Attorney General of the Federation, as well as the consulting company, Eco Project Sevices limited.
The Community is claiming almost 290 million naira as damages for the alleged non-execution of the contract against the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Defendants, an amount out of which the sum of 203, 626,804,43 million naira is said to be the cost for the 1.8 kilometres of the road that would have been done in Oma- Eke Community.
They hinted in the suit that other monies that were added to the nearly 290 million naira, they are asking for, included what they expended in preparing the bill of quantities/design for the road which was used to apply to the Ecological funds office for the approval of the project, cost of of the suit, among other expenses.
The six plaintiffs and indigenes of the area, namely, Nze Christopher Onwumelu, Comrade Samuel Ifoh, Mr. Iruka Ejiofor, Mr. Festus Metta, Mr. Uwaechie Metta and Harold Ofordu, had approached the Court, in a representative capacity, via Barrister Onwusi, for themselves and on behalf of the community.
The community it would be recalled, had recently staged a protest over moves by the defendants to commission the said road project awarded under Ecological Funds Projects, but was never executed.
They, however, wondered how a road project would be commissioned before construction work even began, describing such act as “a monumental fraud that must be resisted.”
The angry indigenes who moved round the streets of the community to register their displeasure over the development, displayed placards, some with inscriptions such as: “EFCC WHERE ARE YOU”; ICPC WHERE ARE YOU” “CORRUPTION UNLIMITED” “PUBLIC PROCUREMENT ACT CRUCIFIED” etc.
It was also gathered that the said Ecological Fund Road Project, which was secured under the office of the Secretary to the Federal Government, is yet to commence, yet a delegation from the Ecological Funds office was said to be in the area to commission the project, which was resisted by the people.
In the originating summons, the plaintiffs, posed four questions for determination, which include: “whether in view of the letter of award, dated 8th, May, 2019, and the public procurement Act, 2007, the contract for Erosion control and road improvement works along 3.8 kilometre Enugu Eke- Ogui Eke, Eke market – Obodo Amankwo – Oma Eke road project, in Udi LGA, Enugu state awarded to the 1st defendant was executed to warrant payment to the 1st defendant”
The Community in the suit awaiting hearing, filed on 11th of March 2021, which document was obtained by our Correspondent weekend in Enugu, equally wants the Court to determine “whether in view of the express terms as contained in the letter of award to the effect that the contract is fixed, firm and not transferable, and the Public Procurement Act 2007, the Permanent Secretary, in the Ecological funds office, has the power to divert, change or transfer the site of the contract for Erosion control and road improvement works along the said 3.8 kilometre road awarded by the Tenders Board of the Ecological Funds Office.”
According to the Plaintiffs, the defendants’ alleged negligence and breach of duty of care by the non-execution of the contract has continued to cost the Community severe pains and untold hardship, including loss of huge amount of money.
They are also asking the Court to determine whether in the “circumstances of this case, the people of Oma – Eke Community can sue for injuries, damages or losses suffered by the non – execution of the contract.”
The plaintiffs are equally praying the Court to make a declaration “that the 3.8 kilometre road as contained in the letter of award, dated 8th, May 2019, was not completed by the 1st, defendant where it was diverted to, as to warrant being paid for the contract, since, according to them, the contractor did only 2 kilometres where they diverted the road, leaving a balance of 1.8 kilometres.”
They also want the Court to make: “An order mandating the 4th defendant, the Attorney General of the Federation, to see that the full weight of the law is brought against all those involved in flouting the terms of the contract and the Public Procurement Act.”
The Community explained that they decided to seek legal redress because since 2019 when the road was awarded and funded by the Federal Government, through the Ecological Fund Office, nothing has been done in those areas named in the contract award paper.
Meanwhile, the matter has been fixed for 18th of May 2021, for hearing.
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