The Federal Executive Council presided over by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) has approved ₦38.4 billion for the completion of road projects in five states.
The road projects which were inherited from past administrations are located in Anambra, Bayelsa, Benue, Imo, and Nasarawa.
Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, disclosed this while briefing State House Correspondents at the end of Wednesday’s Council meeting.
According to Fashola, “They are not new projects, they are projects that we inherited and we are trying to complete. So essentially, they relate to cost revision because of the ages of the contracts and the prices of goods that have changed.
“So, the first one was the contract for a 13.5-kilometre spur of the road from Onitsha-Owerri Road through Okija-Ihembosi-For Ugbor to Ezinifite in Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State. That contract was awarded in 2011 but wasn’t funded until this administration came in so the contractor is asking us to revise the contract by a review of ₦488,980,891 and an additional completion period of six months and the council approved that review of price and the extended completion period.”
The Minister said Council also approved a contract for the completion of a 20-kilometre road in Bayelsa State.
He said, “The Second one is the 20-kilometre dualisation of Yenagoa road junction to Kolo and Otuoke and Bayelsa Palm in Bayelsa State. That contract was awarded in December 2014 on the eve of the tenure of the last administration and it couldn’t even take off because of militancy issues at the time and also very limited budget provisions.
“It is one of the contracts that we have since activated with the Sukuk Bond. So, the dualization is progressing but there is some additional work that needs to be done. There are also results of further investigations that support a revision of the contract by ₦7.947 billion and this was approved by the council.”
Fashola said the third contract was for the completion of a road linking Nasarawa and Benue States, Central Nigeria.
“The third one is the 74-kilometre Nasarawa to Loko Road. That is the road that was awarded, I believe, in 2006, so it’s 15 years today, 74 kilometres and it has not been completed. This road links the Loko-Oweto Bridge, which we inherited and which we have completed and that Loko-Oweto Bridge links Nasarawa to Benue, across the River Benue and also connects to the Oweto to Oshogbedo Road, which we also inherited, which we have completed.
“The complete lane from Otukpo to Nasarawa ought to be facilitated by this 74-kilometre road. The contractor has struggled with just about five kilometres of it since 2006, and a small bridge.
“So, what we’ve proposed was that instead of going through the long process of termination and all of that, we proposed and Council agreed that the contractor who finished the bridge and the contractor who finished the road, because they were all awarded to different contractors before we came, should join this contractor and take up the remainder.
“So, we’ve limited the contractor who was originally awarded this road to just 10.8 kilometres, that’s all he will do. So, we’ve awarded 42 kilometres to the contractor who did the Oshogbedo-Oweto Road and we’ve then awarded 21 kilometres, which is the part joining the bridge directly, to the contractor who completed the bridge. So, all of these totalling a revised project sum of about ₦30 billion, shared amongst the three contractors,” he explained.
Fashola said the completion of the road will slash travel time for commuters, especially those travelling from Otukpo in Benue state to the FCT.
“What is instructive is that once we finish this last part of the road, although it is being used now, but is not tarred, commuters are using it because it cuts off three hours from the journey from Otukpo to Abuja.
“Motorists don’t have to go through Lafia, if you climb the Oweto Bridge across the River Benue, land in Nassarawa, you’ll be landing around Keffi. So, it’s cutting off 103 kilometres from that journey from Otukpo to Abuja, which is about three hours. It used to be six hours plus.
“This is strategic also for providing prosperity, lifting people out of poverty because if the saying that time is money is true, everybody who saves three hours has three hours’ extra productivity and also consumes three hours less fuel and travel time and so on.
“So, Council approved this memo and we hope that sometime next year we can complete that linkage, but as you know, those of you who went with me, commuters are already using the road despite that path not being complete,” he said. PUNCH