July 15, 2024

Calabar-Itu Road: FG gives contractors one-week ultimatum to mobilise to site

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Calabar-Itu Road: FG gives contractors one-week ultimatum to mobilise to site

*Senate President, Godswill Akpabio speaking at the event

Ini Billie, Uyo

The Federal Government has threatened to terminate the contracts of Julius Berger and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) over the construction of the Calabar-Itu Road.

Minister of Works, David Umahi who gave the two construction companies one week to remobilise to the site, said failure to do so would result in the termination of their contracts.

Speaking on Saturday in Uyo during a Stakeholders’ Engagement on the alignment of sections 3B and 4 of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway, Umahi gave the contractors marching orders to mobilise to the site, saying President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has released sufficient funds for the projects.

“We use this opportunity to warn CCECC, that out of 35 kilometres, they just completed 2.5 kilometres dual carriageway and 4.5 on single, that is very terrible. You talk to them; they say it is because of compensation.

“Our dear Governor (Pastor Umo Eno) has since settled the compensation issue, so we have given them marching order to mobilise to, at least, three sections of the road. Mr President has given enough money to fund the project, the same thing with Julius Berger.

“Sermatech is an indigenous contractor. Today, the company has the equipment we desire that high tech is using to lay concrete on the road. Sermatech is a local contractor but go there and see what it has done.

“The company has started using that machine to lay the concrete road because it is concrete that is sustainable on that road. No amount of asphalt you put on that road that will last.

“By the end of this coming week, if Julius Berger fails to remobilise to the site, and CCECC fails to get mobilised in, at least, three sections, the jobs will be terminated.

“The worst of the roads in the entire South-South remains this Akwa Ibom to Cross River through Itu and Udoakpan Ekpo, and the section that is being done by RCC.

“RCC has collected over N40 billion on that road, 15 kilometres of road, N156 billion inherited from the past administration, we have kept the price even though we don’t believe in it, since it has been awarded and signed, they are us playing tricks.

“We have been on them to change their minds but by the end of next week, our 14 days’ notice of termination will elapse and we will terminate the project and give it to those who have mastery in the laying of concrete to come and use concrete in doing those roads.

“We changed the design of Akwa Ibom to Cross River from asphalt to concrete, we changed the design of East-West Road, that is Eleme junction to Onne port,” he stated.

While speaking on the construction of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway, Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, urged the minister to harness the expertise of local contractors in the construction of the highway, saying some of them have proven capacity and integrity to deliver on the job.

Akpabio urged the minister to complete the East-West Road, saying the contractors handling the road project should be changed if they would not cooperate to ensure the completion of the road.

Noting that it would be impossible for the Lagos-Calabar Highway to be completed without the completion of East-West Road, Akpabio said he was committed to the completion of federal roads in Akwa Ibom.

“I came to make a special appeal that you as the governor would do everything possible to call on the youths, elders and traditional rulers to give full cooperation to the Minister of Works, a man that is tested and trusted,” he said.

To the minister, Akpabio added, “I don’t have any doubt that the high-tech construction company and yourself supervising that coastal road, at least, the 107 kilometres that would pass through Akwa Ibom would be of the highest quality.

“I expect a lot of subcontractors to come from Akwa Ibom. We have quality engineers, there is a young man that we call junior JB, HENSEK, and many other construction companies. They will help you to actualise the subcontract and all that and, a lot of surveyors that will help you do a lot of mapping.”

On his part, Governor Umo Eno of Akwa Ibom State, said he was willing to work with the Federal Government on the East-West Road, noting that he has released funds for the payment of compensation on the Calabar-Itu Road, adding that the state is doing its part to get Akwa Ibom people to cooperate with the contractors.

“We have started paying compensation on the Calabar-Itu Road. We did our evaluation with the Commissioner of Works, and we came up with far less than N1 billion from N4 billion to pay compensation, and we have since released funds, and started paying compensation and will soon finish.

“We are valuing the Aba-Ikot Ekpene Road, and we will work and pay the compensation so that we open up that corridor,” Eno said.

Eno appealed that the 13-kilometre road and bridge contract from Mbo Local Government Area in Akwa Ibom State to Hawkins Cemetery in Calabar, Cross River State awarded some years ago by the Federal Government and was abandoned, should be revisited.

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