Reps demands good value for Abuja–Keffi–Lafia–Makurdi road project users
In a bid to ensure the well-being of the citizenry, the House of Representatives Committee on Works has charged the Federal Ministry of Works as well as the Contractor handling the Abuja–Keffi–Lafia–Makurdi Road Project to ensure that Nigerians get good value for their money.
The Committee led by Mr Abubakar Kabir Abubakar gave the marching order yesterday while on an oversight tour on the ongoing road project that links the northern and southern parts of the country.
The Kano born lawmaker who fielded questions from journalists after the inspection on the outskirts of Lafia, the Nasarawa state capital, maintained that the project must be delivered in accordance to the stipulated timeline of April 2023.
Kabir disclosed that the project, which cost about $542 million, is counter-funded by the China Exim Bank as well as the Chinese and Nigerian Governments adding that the Chinese were contributing 85 percent of the funding, while Nigeria completed the remaining 15 percent.
The lawmaker insisted that there must be no compromise on the quality of the job that would be delivered at the end of the project, adding that the job done must be commensurate to the money spent.
He noted: “There should be no compromise in terms of quality, standard and timely delivery. I said this because we made adequate budgetary provisions for this project in the 2022 appropriation, so there should be no excuse as to why the work would be delayed any further.
“The 2023 budget will come in any moment from now, and this oversight is necessary for us to know how what was allocated last year was utilised for us to determine what’s needed and how to give approval.”
The inspection tour which took off from the Kugbo end of the 4.5km reconstruction and expansion of the A-Y-A–Nyanya and ended at the boundary between Abuja and Nasarawa State saw members of the Committee, many of whom are seasoned hands in the civil engineering profession asked critical questions regarding the design, quality of materials and the width of the lanes and shoulder, as well as the thickness of the road.
The Committee proceeded to the Keffi–Akwanga section of the project at kilometer 19 between Gudi village and Akwanga, where lawmakers reiterated the need no ensure that every kobo appropriated is well accounted for through the quality of the job to be delivered.
Members of the committee demanded explanations as to why the project was being executed piecemeal.
Engr. Henry Usor, an official from the Road Sector Development Unit of the Federal Ministry of Works assured that the project would be delivered within the stipulated time.
He explained that compensation issues were responsible for such staggering implementation adding that the Ministry only takes charge of portions on which compensations had been paid.
He assured that whatever issues and observations raised by the Committee on the job done so far would be noted and corrections ensured by the Contractor before the project is taken over by the Ministry.
According to him, the project has an entire length of 454 km and is being handled, by the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), adding that 39km of asphalt work has been achieved with a total work rate of 72 percent done.
“The job would be completed in record time, going by the progress we have achieved so far. I believe we should be able to complete it by the time we come to the end of the project duration in April 2023,” Usor stated.
“When completed, it would have a lot of advantages. If you are moving from Abuja to the southeast and southern part of the country, this would be a better option for you to take through,” he said.
He disclosed that the project was awarded in 2017 but work started in 2019, because of its engineering, procurement and construction component.