The new administration in Rivers State has lashed out at one of the biggest businesses in the state, the BUA Group, saying its trucks were damaging roads in the state and not even doing much to give back to the state.
Two commissioners spoke out after inspections and accused BUA of not carrying out corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects in the state. Sources in BUA, however, said contacts were being made to resolve all issues.
In a statement signed by two commissioners, George-Kelly Dakorinama Alabo, commissioner for Works and Jacobson Nbina, commissioner for Transport, the state government decried what it termed the indiscriminate parking of trucks owned by BUA Group by their drivers on public roads in parts of the state.
The government said that BUA drivers were unperturbed by the continuous damage being done to the roads.
The Commissioner for Works (Alabo) and his counterpart in the Ministry of Transport (Nbina) expressed the condemnation when they conducted some newsmen to sections of roads where the trucks were parked indiscriminately.
They included the Azikiwe Road where the BUA Sugar Refinery is located in Port Harcourt Local Government Area, the Igwuruta and Igwurutali communities in Ikwerre Local Government Area where BUA has its off factory operational base and diesel yard with the grave damage seen to have been done to the entire shoulders of the roads including the lanes.
Alabo said the state government spends billions of naira yearly to provide critical road infrastructure, but that BUA Group would always damage the roads. The commissioner added that the company does not add value to the state in projects.
The works commissioner pointed out that the parked trucks took over the road, allegedly occupying about 3km length of the road and do so in disregard to extant laws that prohibit such acts. He noted that the Igwuruta Road is one major route leading to the International Airport and other states, lamenting that further damage as being witnessed will create unwholesome hardship for the people.
On his part, Transport boss (Nbina) said in February 2023, BUA Group was invited to a meeting with the Secretary to the State government (SSG), the Ministries of Transport and Urban Development where he said commitment was extracted that BUA would cease using public roads as parks but had reneged on it.
He said it was shocking to see the mindless damage being done to the roads by the company with their trucks, adding that the government will no longer tolerate such acts.
Efforts made to get BUA to respond did not yield much, but, according to a source that requested anonymity, one of the commissioners has met with representatives of all the companies involved in highway parking including BUA.
As at the time of writing this report, however, BusinessDay was yet to receive BUA’s official response to the allegations.