FG revokes Itobe/Ajaokuta/Okene road contract
Worried by public concern over under-performance of SCOA Construction, the contractor handling Itobe/Ajaokuta/Okene highway in Kogi State, the Federal Government has revoked the contract, and plans to re-award it to a more competent contractor.
The Federal Controller of Works in Kogi, Kajogbola Olatunde, disclosed this at the weekend during on-the-spot assessment of the Itobe Bridge, which reportedly had structural defect.
According to him, government was displeased with the slow pace of work by SCOA, even after adequate mobilsation for the project.
He decried the actions of the contractor, who reportedly exhibited little competence to handle a job of such magnitude, adding that government, in response to the hue and cry of commuters, had no option than to re-award it to a more competent contractor.
The controller explained that the contract to reconstruct the 60km highway was signed in 2015 to SCOA, but lamented that after five years, no substantial work was done, which necessitated revocation of the contract.
Allaying the fears of the motoring public on the Itobe Bridge, he assured that the only problem with the bridge was the vandalism of the electrometric rubbers covering the expansion joints.
Olatunde added that the bridge was designed to absorb vibration and that the trending videos of its collapse was borne out of ignorance, stressing that the bridge in its presence form could last for another 100 years.
He, however, said that government was aware of the situation, and had captured it in the 2020 budget, even as contractors would be moved to the bridge for quick fixes.
Disclosing that engineers from the department of bridges had been deployed to assess the situation, he called for calm, while necessary steps were being taken to address the situation.
Government’s efforts to replace the covers of the expansion joints, according to him, were being thwarted by criminals who would immediately remove them after replacement.
Last Thursday, videos of the severed bridge went viral on the social media, which necessitated the authorities mobilising personnel to the bridge for immediate repairs.
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