While the contractor handling the construction of the water treatment plant in Ikom Local Government Area, Cross River Central, seems to be working according to plan, www.calitown.com investigations reveal that corner cutting and corruption are combining to deliver a killer treatment plant that will supply water to the Ikom communities of Okuni, Adijinkpor, Nde, Akparabong, Akam, Effraya, Ikom Urban and Little Agbokim.
First, for the purpose of this project, carbon steel pipelines have been employed to transport treated water but these pipelines it appears have not been subjected to the recommended surface treatment specified for jobs of this nature. Again, the contractor (LILLEKER BROS. NIG LTD.) is said to have agreed with the employer (CROSS RIVER STATE WATER BOARD LTD) to use fusion bonded epoxies to coat all steel pipes conveying portable water to Ikom and its environs but that has been ignored, going ahead to fabricate and install rusty steel pipes to convey contaminated water instead of portable water to these communities. (The fusion bonded epoxies are widely used to protect steel pipes used in pipeline construction, concrete reinforcement and on a wide variety of piping connections.)
Our investigations further point to four areas in the on-going job where the rusty pipes are being employed; the pipeline conveying treated water from the outlet of the water treatment plant filter vessel to the two 1000 cubic meter storage tanks, all the pipe network inside the treatment plant’s high lift pumping station, all distribution pipe networks around the Ekabokon hill ground reservoir storage tanks, and all stream and river crossing pipe works.
Shockingly, the job, part of an additional financing to the tune of 120 million US dollars, captured in the Second National Urban Water Sector Reform Project (2nd Urban Water) CR. 4086 (PO71391), www.calitown.com sources within government who insist on remaining anonymous say the company was paid N3, 723, 026, 186. 41 (N3.7 billion) to construct a conventional water treatment plant, but went ahead to deliver a packaged treatment plant without changing the bill of quantity to suit the far cheaper treatment plant it installed. The conventional water treatment plant involves heavy cement casting and is very durable, like the ones conveying water in Calabar, while the packaged plant is merely welded work with metal plates that all have a very short life span.
In one instance that somewhat angered the www.calitown.com reporter on the ground, Sinclair Synthetic car paint was seen being used to coat the inside of a pipe, meant to convey water to these communities, even though the manufacturers of the paint boldly wrote on the tins that the “…fast drying synthetic enamel (is to be) applied as a TOPCOAT on all kinds of cars, buses and other conventional vehicles as well as plant and machinery”.
This latter exercise and the use of the rusty pipes experts told www.calitown.com “has the capacity to deliver average lethal iron oxide doses of 200-250 miligrams which can cause haemorrhagic necrosis and genetic disorder in the communities listed. It is a process that will gradually make people sick and in large numbers”, as a doctor in the University of Calabar submits.
Representatives of the contracting firm declined comments when www.calitown.com contacted them.
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