Abuja, Oct. 6, 2023: The Minister of Works Sen. David Umahi says that the ministry needs a total of N217bn to reconstruct 260 road projects and eight bridges across the country.
The Minister disclosed this while inaugurating four road transport committees on road projects on Thursday in Abuja.
He said the committees were been inaugurated not just to maintain the road but also to ensure that contractors implement the contracts signed.
The road projects the task force committees are to monitor include; Reconstruction of Benin-Warri Dual Carriageway (Section I, II and III).
Dualisation of East-West road Section III:Port Harcourt (ElemeJunction) Oone Port Junction road in Rivers State.
“The directors of this ministry met and we agreed to constitute a taskforce that will be resident in these locations for efficient supervision.
“They will redesign the road to meet the site situation and article two of the contract we signed that under section 51 of General Conditions of contract gives us the permission and legal right to redefine the project.
“Which means we can rescope the project and quality and we are leveraging on that to save our people from the hardship. We will use one foot thick concrete to rebuild the road. We are already working on the bills to redefine it.”
Umahi said the Federal Government was giving serious attention to the roads between Benin and Warri and the road between Eleme and onne port.
“Let me graciously announce that the ministry contacted me President on 260 projects that needs very immediate and quick intervention across the federation.
“The projects were from the motions of the national assembly, outcry of the public and compilations from our controllers of our states and the total cost is N217 billion.
“We have sent it to Mr president and the National Assembly is aware and he has directed that we submit at FEC for discussions” he said.
He added that the road infrastructure is one of the key factors for the revolution of the nation’s commerce, education, security and power in this country and that President Tinubu was committed to the nation’s road infrastructure.
Still on approval of funds, the former Ebonyi state governor said President had approved funds for the rehabilitation of the third mainland bridge.
He decried the failure of several in recent times on East West road .
“Last week, we had a lot of failures on our East West Road between Warri and Cross Rivers. We had twelve points that totally collapsed and if we have another flood, the entire section may collapse.
“Three bridges totally collapsed and we have to reconstruct all of those roads.
“I will also announce that Mr President has not only approved but released money for immediate attention of these twelve points and three bridges that collapsed on our East-West roads between Warri and Cross Rivers.
“Also reconstruction of Shendam-Lafia bridge and Enugu bridge that collapsed a week ago and the president has released money for the reconstruction of those two bridges.
“The projects are being worked upon so that we can allay the fears of our people. These are life threatening emergencies and we must move very fast to begin on all those roads” he said.
The Minister recalled that he and his team spent 14 hours traveling from Abuja to Benin “and that wasn’t palatable.”
He therefore called for the diversion of the road from Benin city.
“I have spoken to the governor of Edo state and we need to divert the highway and that can be done even if it is one lane.
“We also identified four sections between Benin and Warri and the situation was so terrible. We witnessed five kilometres of continuous trucks that parked and we could not find it easy to pass.”
He said the reconstruction has a time line of 18 months adding that the Nigerian Union Journalists would be part of the monitoring to ensure transparency and good reportage of the projects as part of the new policy of the administration.
“Let me also advice our contractor that no new project under my leadership will be done asphalt. We are doing all our projects on concrete. Let it be known that it is our policy.
“Any contractor that can’t cope, it is not compulsory. On ongoing projects, if you have done 80 per cent, we expect the contractors to complete it without asking for increment.
“All ongoing project has six trillion funding gap and we cannot increase our projects. We will not do any variation of price on asphalt any longer.”
Umahi said no contractor was compelled to carry on with the contracts as they had the right to terminate their contracts if it was not convenient for them but that the society demands sustainability and integrity of the roads.