Contractors Threaten to Suspend Work on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway

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The two principal contractors working on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Messrs Julius Berger and Reynolds Construction Company (RCC), have issued the federal government notice of suspension of work due to delay in the payment of agreed contract fees on work already done, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has disclosed.

Fashola said the firms had complained of the adverse effect of the debts on their pace of work on the highway, which could in turn lead to them defaulting in meeting up with the completion deadline they agreed.

Speaking to members of the House of Representatives Investigative Committee on Breach of Privilege, Violation of Appropriation Act, in Abuja, Fashola explained that the letters from Julius Berger and RCC on this had been submitted to him. The committee had queried his utterances over the National Assembly review of the 2017 budget.

He noted in a statement from his Senior Special Adviser on Communication, Mr. Hakeem Bello, yesterday that RCC, which handles Section 11 (Shagamu-Ibadan) of the highway contract wrote to him, stating that: “In view of the irregular payment and the attendant cash flow problem, we shall be constrained to suspend further execution of work unless there is an appreciable improvement in the project’s cash flow and adequate funding arrangement is put in place for further works.”

Fashola, indicated that RCC’s letter to him was dated June 2, 2017, and signed by its Managing Director, Mr. M. Nakhla.

Similarly, the minister said he received Julius Berger’s letter on June 5, 2017, indicating that it would stop work on Section 1 (Lagos-Shagamu Dual Carriageway) of the highway.

Julius Berger, he said, wrote in the letter which was signed by the Division Manager, Mr. W. Loesser and the Commercial Division Manager, Mr. T. Meletschus: “Minister, it has become evident that the required adequate funding for the continuation of the project is not available. We trust that you will understand that therefore and as a consequence of the unacceptable financial risk to Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, we are left with no choice than to immediately commence suspension of the works on the project, as earlier notified.”

But while Julius Berger and RCC are still being owed for road works they have done, Fashola however disclosed that the government would undertake to build and repair about 107 roads and bridges across the country in the 2017 budget.

He said the government has plans to undertake construction of 44 federal highways in the budget, as well as 63 roads across the country it said needed emergency interventions ahead of the rainy season.

Fashola, stated that the 63 roads were identified and prepared for intervention during his inspection tour of roads in 34 states of the federation earlier in the year.

According to him, for the purpose of effective implementation, the government has classified the roads into critical economic routes and agricultural routes, adding that they either advance trade and commerce across the states or lead to the ports and agricultural areas across the country.

The roads which he said are spread out across the different geopolitical zones of the country include Kano-Katsina Road (Phase 1: Kano Town at Dawanau Roundabout to Katsina State Border); Sokoto-Tambuwal-Jega-Yauri Road; Ilorin-Jebba-Mokwa-Bokani Road; Ilorin-Kabba-Obajana Road (Sections 1 and 11); Ibadan-Ilorin Road; Section11 (Oyo-Ogbomosho); Lagos-Shagamu-Ibadan Dual Carriageway; and Sections 1 and11 and Lagos-Otta Road.

Also included are Apapa/Tincan Port, NNPC Depot (Atlas Cove) to Mile 2 Accessd Road; Apapa-Oshodi Road; Third Mainland Bridge; Apapa/Tincan Island Port-NNPC Depot Access Road; Benin-Ofosu-Ore Ajebandele-Shagamu Road; Obajana Junction-Benin Road Phase 2: (Sections i-iv); Sapele-Ewu Road Sections 1&11; Second Niger Bridge; Onitsha-Enugu Expressway (Amansea-Enugu State Border); Yenegoa Road Junction-Kolo-Otueke-Bayelsa Palm; and Bodo-Bonny Road with Bridge.

The minister stated that others roads and bridges in the mix are Odukpani-Itu-(Spur Ididep-Itam)-Ikot Ekpene Federal Highway Sections 1 and 11; Ikom Bridge; Enugu-Port Harcourt Dual Carriageway Sections I to IV; Calabar-Ugep-Katsina Ala Road; Vandeikya-Obudu-Obudu Cattle Ranch Road; Oshegbudu-Oweto Road; Oju/Loko-Oweto Bridge with approach roads; Nassarawa-Loko Road; Abuja-Lokoja Road Sections I and IV; Suleja-Minna Road Section 11; Kaduna Eastern Bypass; Kano-Maiduguri Road Section 1-1V; Hadejia-Nguru-Gashua-Bayamari Road; and Kano Western Bypass.

Fashola said some of the 63 roads and bridges slated for emergency interventions include construction of a bridge at KM 32 along Billiri Filiya in Taraba and the repair of Billiri-Filliya Road in Gombe; Potiskum-Agalda-Gombe State Border (S/B) and Potiskum-Kari-Bauchi S/B Road in Yobe State.

The Tella Road and Bridge 2 Abutment and Apawa-Junction-Zing-Adamawa (State Border) in Taraba State; Bauch-Darazo-Kari Road in Bauchi State; Numan-Lafia-Gombe State Border Road; Numan-Jalingo Road; Numan-Guyuk (Borno State Border) and Ngurore-Mayobelwa Road in Adamawa State,  are also in the mix, just like the Ibillo-Isu-Epinmi-Akungba Road and Owo-Akure Road in Ondo; Ilesa-Ijebu-Ijesa Road; Ijebu-Ijesa-Ekiti S/B and Ibadan-Ile-Ife-Ilesa Road; Osun S/B-Ilesa in Osun; Ibadan-Ile-Ife-Ilesa Road in Oyo; Ijebu-Ode-Epe-Ibadan Road in Ogun and Ikorodu-Shagamu in Lagos; Abakaliki-Oferekpe Road in Ebonyi; Nsukka-Adani-Anambra S/B Road in Enugu State; Umuokpor section of Ikot Ekpene-Aba Road in Abia and Ihiala-Orlu-Umuduru Road; Owerri-Okigwe, among others.

CULLED FROM thisdaylive.com