Alleged theft at Ogbomoso Water Works: Water Corporation boss speaks, commends Ogbomoso youths
The chairman Water Corporation of Oyo state, Hon (Dr) Akinwande has given kudos to the Ogbomoso people for their vigilance which led to the apprehension of some men carting away water pipes and other items from the Ogbomoso Water Works.
Tuesday, six men were arrested in an operation led by members of Ogbomoso Community Youth Forum (OCYF), in conjunctions with members of Park Managers, evacuating the items for onward transportation to Kaduna according to the suspects.
The suspects were taken to the Soun Palace along with two articulated vehicles (trailers), a Hayab truck and a Toyota Corolla car, where they were interrogated before being handed over to the police.
Reacting to the development, the Chairman Water Corporation of Oyo state, Hon Akinwande who spoke with ogbomosoinsightonline.com on phone said he was impressed by the vigilance of Ogbomoso people in foiling the attempt noting that if communities acted in such manner the mess in which we found ourselves would have been avoided.
Going down memory lane, Akinwande informed that the project for the resuscitation of the Ogbomoso Water Works was awarded during the tenure of ex-governor Adebayo Alao-Akala (who died earlier in 2022).
He said the project involved the acquisition and subsequent burying of the pipes to boost water supply to the metropolis as well as rehabilitation of the long abandoned Eku Water Dam at Baaki but that the contractor did not deliver even though a large chunk of the project money had been paid him.
On that basis meanwhile, he posited that the pipes were not properties of the Water Corporation since the contractor had not handed over to the corporation adding that the contractor thus had some leverage on the pipes.
The former House of Representatives’ member, who represented Oyo Federal Constituency between 2003 and 2007 who was appointed chairman of the corporation two weeks ago, disclosing that he was in Ogbomoso last Friday on familiarization tour and inspection of facilities at both Oba and Eku Water Works, wondered why the projects were not completed since all these years.
He assured that he was determined to engage the state governor, Engr Seyi Makinde, on the need to facilitate the completion of the projects to improve water supply situation to the people.
“I just took over two weeks ago and I am aware that some items were culled previously, which the evacuation is ongoing but the news I heard with respect to those pipes in Ogbomoso because I was in Ogbomoso on Friday I saw those pipes, is that the pipes as at today are not the properties of Water Corporation, though Water Corporation awarded that contract the contractor had not handed over to them.
“It was awarded during the Akala regime but the contractor did not complete the job neither did he hand over to the water corporation. So, it presupposes that the water corporation cannot cull it. And so the contractor still has some leverage over it. If you have not handed over to me it is not my property.
“But I am aware that there are some items that had been voided like a pick up van at the head office, some obsolete tanks, some rotted pipes, and I am aware that the water corporation cannot claim the ownership of those pipes, unless they are handed over to us.
“But we will know what to do, it is taxpayers’ money that was spent so it won’t go to waste. But let me tell you this, the problem started during the Akala regime, the governor should have made him bury those pipes. Anything that is exposed anything could happen to it. If he had done that it would not attract attention.
“Even my fear is that my staff could be in danger because anyone can just go there to say he wants to pack them forcefully. So, I cannot say 100 percent the status of those pipes. I will discuss with the governor on looking into the projects with a view to getting them completed.
“Meanwhile, I want to give kudos to the people of Ogbomoso for their vigilance. They did well, if all communities protect government’s properties like that we will not be in this mess as a country.”
He however noted that the cost of providing drinkable water is high and that people are not willing to pay for the service while assuring the narrative would change “as the government of Engr Seyi Makinde is bent on making life easy for the people.”
Further investigations by ogbomosoinsightonline.com revealed that the contractor, an Ogbomoso man (name withheld) had collected about N800m and is left with just about N5m, “Yet the project is not delivered.”
The source added, “The governor is displeased that because of N5m such laudable projects are not completed and that his administration is ready to pay the remaining N5m to get the jobs completed and handed over.”
It is also stated that since those pipes are not properties of the water corporation it is not incumbent on the government to protect them. “The concern of the government is to get the work done,” another source stressed.