Nigeria

Firm Tackles Sterling Bank, Edo University Over Breach of N481million Contract

A firm and contractor, Campus Alive Initiative Limited, has revealed how Sterling Bank, Asaba Branch, Delta State, and Edo State University, Iyamho, breached a N481million contract which binds them.

SaharaReporters learnt that the contract was to build a 150-room hostel on the campus, and was a joint agreement between the firm and Sterling Bank.

However, after the contract had been executed at N481,828,836.10, two other parties paid the firm N439,676,615.63, leaving a deficit of N42,152,220.47.

Apart from the unsettled claims, the firm is also alleging that some criminals, believed to have insiders in the university, stole some of its building materials, frustrating the project altogether.

Speaking with SaharaReporters, a source in the firm, said, “Campus Alive had an agreement with Sterling Bank to build a hostel for Edo University; the hostel is 90 per cent completed, but the bank handed over the hostel to the university without settling our claims as attached.

“They (the bank) broke into the hostel and forcefully took it over from the project team amidst pending issues. We have attached all the documents as evidence for you.”

Going by documents shared with SaharaReporters, the firm is therefore seeking that Sterling Bank and the university should settle its outstanding claim of N42million.

On the alleged theft, the firm noted that in a letter dated January 13, 2020, electrical materials, mechanical materials, wood and iron were stolen from the project site – an action they noted that the university could not claim ignorance of.

“We noted that all these would not happen if there was no connivance with the internal security personnel assigned to the site, knowing full well that the above items cannot be moved out of the school premises without support or knowledge of the security,” the firm’s Executive Director, Operations, Ayodeji Adegoke, had written to Sterling Bank.

On the issue of harassment and frustration of the project, the firm, Campus Alive, had in 2019 also written a petition to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the university, to report the unusual incident and violence on the site.

A copy obtained by SaharaReporters, partly reads, “Violence on site constituted by Mr Tijani Yakubu and Hassan Aigaufue – both former suppliers of sand and wood to our site.

“Prior to the order from the university management to our company to stop Mr Tijani and Mr Yakubu further access to the construction site as a result of their unruly behavior, and not being able to resolve the communal issues resulting to who supplies materials to us on site, I wish to state that Mr Tijani and Mr Hassan came to the site again at 7.30am on August 26, 2019, in company with some local vigilante members to harass our workers on the site with the procurement officer, Lanre Oyinwola, and the engineers, Toheeb and Sanya, as their targets.

“We were able to manage this through the help of the few school security officials on the ground and they left only for them to come back around 4.30am with four vehicles, and motorcycles.

“Some of them are identified to be the High Chief of Iyamho, a community leader; Alhaji, a Personal Assistant to Adams Oshiomhole’s mother (Oshiomhole is a former governor of Edo State) and the National Union of Road Transport Workers’ Chairman of Iyamho branch and a few other thugs.

“To nail the top, I, Adewale Joseph, was the first to be harassed before walking out of the scene to avoid being stabbed. Before we knew it, some of them were already having some weapons like sticks and ‘burglary iron’ while the PA to Oshiomhole’s mother was already angrily hitting Toheeb on the chest – an act he repeated more than 10 times with the other thugs.

“Our values as a professionally organised company, we understand community relations and will continue to ensure that we work harmoniously and cooperatively but with only those who are willing to be of service to the community and to Edo University, Iyamho as well as to our terms and conditions.

“Our company strongly condemned this act and would recommend the following in order to stop this constant interference from some irresponsible community members as follows; Tijani and Hassan be permanently banned from coming to the site again, let alone to supply us materials going forward as our company has resolved not to engage them anymore.”

The firm had demanded that going forward, the school should “also be urged as a matter of urgency to beef up security on site and its environs. The contractor should be allowed to decide the suppliers going forward. Our company will not hesitate to stop work and leave the site immediately if any harm is done to any of our staff members as we proceed”.

The letter was signed by the firm’s management official, Joseph Adewale, and copied to the Sterling Bank, Asaba branch.

On both petitions, it was learnt that no action had been taken so far.

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