FEDERAL government has been urged to take proactive measures to evacuate one Bernard Okon Ekpenyong who has been aggressively planting “native charms” on Julius Berger equipment at Itu-Odukpani-Calabar road, as his actions may badly affect the completion date of the project.
Nigerian Pilot learnt that the contractor handling the Itu-Odukpani road, Julius Berger Nigeria, has been violently obstructed and stopped from continuing with the project by Ekpenyong at Nkim Itam in Itu Local Government Area.
This was confirmed by the Federal Controller of Works in Uyo, Engr. Ukpong, stressing that Ekpenyong has continued to threaten to violently stop the work over bogus compensation and damage claims through which he seeks to sensationally milk the federal government of about N200 million.
It was gathered that Ekpenyong employed the services of youths of Nkim Itam to carry out his violent disruption of work, while he openly planted fetish materials on Julius Berger equipment on site, thereby preventing the contractor’s equipment and personnel on site from further work and progress on the project.
The office of the federal controller of works in the state revealed that Ekpenyong has no justifiable reason or basis for his ulterior action which is seen as counter-productive and against the overall interest of the various communities affected by the federal government project.
Sources told Nigerian Pilot that in May, the project contractor drew the attention of the works sector of the Federal Ministry of Works, Field Headquarters in Uyo, to the channeling of huge surface runoff water from a nearby automobile assembly company to the drain at Ch. 60+000.
They said the letter addressed to the office of the federal controller of works, drew the attention of the ministry to the poor and potentially consequential surface water channeling activities of the automobile company and therefore called for its intervention to get the automobile company to “directly guide its huge runoff water to the valley behind its premises.
“It was after the fact of the avoidable flooding which both the Federal Ministry of Works and Julius Berger took every reasonable, technical and administrative steps to prevent, and which Ekpenyong violently resisted and frustrated, that he is now misleading unsuspecting members of Nkim Itam community to aggressively impound the contractor’s plant and equipment, and consequently ground the ongoing Itu-Odukpani project.’’
Meanwhile, the project coordinator in Uyo, Mrs. Ukochio Ndifreke, has continued to toe the path of dialogue and peace by appealing to Ekpenyong to remove the “native charms” off Julius Berger’s equipment to let the Itu-Odukpani-Calabar road progress unhindered.