Documents at www.calitown.com’s disposal reveal that the Nigerian Government has ploughed a whooping N32.08bn in the last 18 years on the dredging of the Calabar Port channel, beginning from 1996, under the Abacha regime when N3bn was first sunk into the project; the money is said to have been diverted into ghost pockets and no one held accountable for the missing funds.
Under the Obasanjo regime, two Dutch firms, Van Oord Limited and Jan-de-Nul, were awarded the contract for a princely $30m. The Dutch companies were to scoop 25 million cubic metres of sand. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line, controversy reared its head and a litigation was the painful outcome. While it is on record that work actually commenced on October 19, 2006, work stopped in December of the same year for reasons that may not be far from corruption.
Last Friday’s pronouncement and ceremony flagging off the commencement of the latest attempt at dredging the 24 kilometre channel will cost N20bn, increasing the draught of the channel from eight to 10 metres. At press time, dredgers, survey vessels, buoyage tenders, wreck removal cranes, marine crafts and several other materials have arrived the site.
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