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Ebonyi begins traders’ relocation to International Market in September

By Nnamdi Akpa, Abakaliki
20 July 2015   |   11:24 pm
BARRING any hitches, the relocation of traders from Abakpa Market to the International Market in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, will commence in September, Governor David Umahi said. Umahi, who spoke over the weekend during an inspection tour of the facility, said the priority “will be Lot 1 (of the International Market),” the remaining work on which…
Umahi

Umahi

BARRING any hitches, the relocation of traders from Abakpa Market to the International Market in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, will commence in September, Governor David Umahi said.

Umahi, who spoke over the weekend during an inspection tour of the facility, said the priority “will be Lot 1 (of the International Market),” the remaining work on which he assured would be completed in the next two months.

He also   directed that work on the re-awarded Lot 2 and all other new projects in the International Market be stopped immediately, while the contractor, COSTAIN, be invited to evaluate the work done. He further noted that the job yet undone in Lot 3 was “enormous.”

Consequently, he directed the commissioners for Land, Works and Transport, Commerce and Industry, Special Assistant on Market Development, and the Ministry of Environment to immediately set up an inter-ministerial committee (different from the existing joint committee with the traders) to evaluate the amount of work done and not done by the contractor.

“We have seen additional work to be done and when they (inter-ministerial committee) cross-checks the contract papers, they should report back to government within two weeks,” Umahi added.

However, he commended the contractor handling the external work, while directing all contractors handling different projects at the International Market to return to site and liaise with the inter-ministerial committee, just as he stopped further work on the two towers in the market.

SETRACO retakes Abakaliki/Enugu Road
Meanwhile, the state government has handed over a section of the dualised Abakaliki-Enugu Expressway, stretching from Ebonyi State University to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) secretariat to the original contractor, SETRACO, for completion.

The last administration had stopped SETRACO from completing the road, which was then re-awarded to Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC). However, Umahi, in company of other government functionaries, said that on behalf of the Federal Government, they were formally returning the road to SETRACO.

According to him, “because we no longer have funds to continue, we discussed with the Federal Government and SETRACO and the consultants. Graciously, the contractor has agreed to go back to site.

“So, on behalf of the Federal Government and the good people of Ebonyi State, we are formally handing over this section of the dualised road to SETRACO so that they can mobilise to site by tomorrow (yesterday).”

He explained that his administration had terminated the contract, which the past administration awarded to CCECC due to lack of funds, adding that after fruitful discussions with the Federal Government and the World Bank, the original contractor agreed to re-mobilise to site and complete the road.

Nevertheless, he tasked SETRACO’s Area Manager, Fouad Sarraf, to ensure that his company resumes work immediately as the road is strategic to the state, explaining that the state was not going to spend any money on it.

He further commended the House of Assembly for investigating the contract, saying that it made possible a common platform to evaluate the job already done so that no party is cheated.

Responding, Sarraf assured that the firm would continue from where it stopped and complete the work on the same quality. The N4.3 billion contract for section two of the road had been jacked up to about N6 billion.