The Oyo Representative denies inflating the contract for a road project from N9 billion to N54 billion.
The member representing Oluyole Federal Constituency of Oyo State in the House of Representatives, Hon. Tolulope Akande-Sadipe, has denied reports that she inflated the contract sum of a road rehabilitation project in her constituency.
The lawmaker was reacting to reports in the media that she connived with officials of the Federal Ministry of Works to inflate a 45-kilometer road project from N9 billion to N54 billion.
The contractor handling the project, DC Engineering Limited, was quoted as having made the allegation at a public hearing organized by the House of Representatives in Abuja.
Speaking with journalists on Tuesday, Akande-Sadipe explained that the Olojuoro, Ijebu-Igbo, Ita Egba, and Owonomwen road projects in her constituency in Oyo State were awarded in 2018 with a two-year completion period, but after five years, one kilometer of the road has not been completed despite the contractor being mobilized substantially.
According to her, several petitions have been written by her constituents, prompting her to sponsor a motion calling for an investigation as the road became deplorable with serious human casualties on a daily basis due to accidents.
Her intervention, she said, was within the mandate of her office as a lawmaker in protecting the interests of her constituents; hence, she raised a motion expressing concerns over the deplorable state of the road and calling on the lower legislative chamber to investigate with documentary evidence of payments made to the contractor.
Her motion urged “the House to establish an Ad-Hoc Committee to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the consistent failure of the contractors to fulfill their contractual obligations”.
“The investigation should specifically focus on the construction and rehabilitation of the Olomi Olojuoro road, referred to as the Ijebu-Igbo Ita Egba-Owonowen Ibadan road, with the following contracts and budget allocations,” the motion added.
The lawmaker expressed disappointment that she was being blackmailed by the company, which she said failed to meet the terms of the contractual agreement to the benefit of the people of the Oluyole area.
A paper she presented at the public hearing on the road project partly read, “My attention has been drawn to a letter dated August 29, 2023, written by the solicitors to DC Engineering Limited Co. and Oba (King) Adesegun Alowonle, the Emure of Ijebu, the person believed to be the owner of the company.
“This letter accused me of total falsehood in an attempt to steer this hallowed committee away from the true situation on the ground with regards to Olojuoro, Ijebu-Igbo, Ita Egba, and Owonowen Road in Oluyole Federal Constituency.
“The letter did not address the substance of the several petitions and motions in any way, including the most recent of July 13, 2023; rather, what they went into was to disparage my person, smear my name, and engage in scandalous defamation of my character by alleging that my objective in intervening on behalf of Oluyole is to promote a particular contractor, Aereatech Nigeria Limited, to the Federal Ministry of Works.”
The lawmaker denied having any “direct or indirect relationship with the said contractor, and I am not in any way related to the said contractor. I have never introduced any such contractor and have never inflated any contract”.
She alleged that the competence of DC Engineering calls for investigation given that some parts of the road project were sub-let to other minor construction firms in contravention of the contractual terms.
Akande-Sadipe further recalled how she initiated an inspection visit to the site in 2021 with representatives of the Federal Ministry of Works, the Commissioner of Public Complaints Commission, and representatives of DC Engineering Limited, only to discover that the company was accused of collecting money from communities to fix feeder road culverts that were removed in the course of the rehabilitation work.