Calabar-Itu Road: FG approves contract for reconstruction
The Federal Executive Council, approved N89.6 billion in contracts for award under the ministries of Works and Housing and Aviation on Wednesday.
The road project spanned the states of Cross River and Akwa Ibom.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, told State House correspondents after the council meeting, which was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, that the approval was given for the dualization of the Odukpani-Itu-Ikot Ekpene road at a cost of N79.649 billion.
Fashola was briefed alongside Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouk, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development.
The approval for his ministry, according to the Minister, was for a 26-kilometer route between Oku Iboku Power Plant and Abak.
“The Ministry of Works and Housing presented the MoU for the completion of the Odukpani-Itu-Ikot Ekpene road dualization,” he said. And this is in regard to the 26-kilometer span between Oku Iboku Power Plant and Abak.
“Council authorized the award of N79.649 billion to Messers Sematech Nigeria Ltd, to be completed over 16 months.
“As a result, this will help fill in the dualization gaps between Julius Berger’s award and CCECC’s section. When construction is completed, motorists in that area will have the choice of using the dual carriageway instead of the single road that currently exists.
“And this is in acknowledgement of the large freight that goes through that area from the south-south to the north-central, from Benue to Katsina-Ala to Abia. It is a really vital trade link for the country.”
In 2020, a portion of the road project was allocated for N54 billion.
When asked for an update on the 2020 contract award for the same project, Fashola expressed concern for the lack of transparency.
“First and foremost, it is critical that we have a common understanding of the area, which includes Nigeria’s rain forest, mangrove areas, a very high water table, and rainfall for seven to eight months of the year,” he said.
“As a result, when we awarded the first segment, from Odukpani-Itu to Julius Berger, in 2016, they were unable to move on site due to budgetary constraints.
“As a result, work in that region stalled, and they didn’t relocate to site until 2018.” The second part, from Abak to Ikot Ikot Ekpene, was granted in the previous year. Sukuku resources had to be mobilized to the region.
“You may recall that I was there visiting with the governor sometime last year, I really went twice, and we focused first on the link road from Alese Ugep area since it was a very terrible one, that one used to take like, three, four days to cover a 70-kilometer route,” says the governor.
“We now have that under control, resolved, and motorable to Odukpani in the first phase. From days to less than two hours, this has cut the travel time there in half. It’s still a work in progress, so bear with me.
“Resources continue to be a concern. When you look at the contract amounts, we have almost N54 billion that we can deploy there, as you correctly pointed out.
“Resources are still a problem for us. When you look at the contract amounts, we can mobilize around N54 billion, and as you correctly pointed out, we have about N4 billion to N5 billion in the Suku. And, if you look at this year’s budget for the entire region, parliament approved N100 million.
“So, once again, we’re expecting to be able to afford this one because we’ve submitted it for Sukuku this year. So, these are the difficulties we face.
“We were able to activate the contractors. Now is the time to ensure that they are adequately resourced and funded to complete the task, particularly during the upcoming dry season.
“So, when you hear the Minister of Finance talk about a deficit that needs to be covered through borrowing, this is largely what is being used. But it’s not enough because we’ve inherited practically everything that’s been left undone for the past two decades, and we’ve asked for and committed to complete the job.”
“As we move through the rainy season, this is the backdrop in which to situate the Lokoja-Kabba,” Fashola said of the collapse of a part of the Lokoja-Kabba road. Nature and aging are to blame for this failing. And, once again, a chance to share what we have with you. We anticipate these events, but we cannot predict where they will occur.
While acknowledging that his ministry was frequently unable to respond to such failures, he advocated for the establishment of a contingency maintenance fund with a substantial budget.
“We’ve been recommending that Nigeria have an emergency provision in the works budget, but we haven’t been successful enough,” the minister continued. Because when we have failures, as last year in Kebbi, where roads were swept away, there must be a contingency, a big money. Because we lacked the resources, we were unable to reply. FERMA, on the other hand, will be relied upon.
“Well, I guess we used to provide around 5% of our capital expenditure back in Lagos when I was governor,” says the governor.
Chief Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, who briefed on behalf of the Minister of Aviation, said the Ministry of Aviation brought the memo for the approval of contract award for the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos, the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja, the Aminu Kano International Airport in Kano, and the Katsina Airport in Katsina.
He stated that the cost of N2,817,579,271.99 was for the extension of terminal building at domestic terminal GAT in Lagos. The expansion of Katsina Airport Apron, valued at N527,353,693.12, was granted to the Katsina Airport.
According to him, the extension of the Lagos Cargo Apron Area was also awarded.
According to him, there were also the expansion of Lagos Cargo Apron Area awarded at N1,982,943,242.81, expansion of Abuja Domestic Apron Area at N795,976,947.94 and, expansion of Kano Apron Area at N1,059,120,234.37. So those are contracts awarded in the Aviation sector.
Also speaking, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs Disaster Management, Social Development counterpart, Sadiya Farouk, said the council approved a memo for the approval of the draft national policy on internally displaced persons in Nigeria.
According to him, the Lagos Cargo Apron Area was expanded for N1,982,943,242.81, the Abuja Domestic Apron Area was expanded for N795,976,947.94, and the Kano Apron Area was expanded for N1,059,120,234.37. So those are the contracts that have been awarded in the aviation industry.
Sadiya Farouk, Nigeria’s Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, said the council authorized a document for the approval of the draft national policy on internally displaced persons.
“And I must say that today is a fantastic day for the ministry as well as the government,” she said. For the purpose of these internally displaced persons, this administration has attained yet another milestone.
“The national strategy on internal displacements serves as a forum for all relevant humanitarian and development actors to come together and work toward a single goal. The policy’s overarching purpose is to develop institutional processes and frameworks for the realization of vulnerable populations’ rights, dignity, and well-being by reducing the impact of internal displacement and achieving long-term solutions in Nigeria.
“And, with today’s acceptance of this policy, a multi-sectoral structure will completely emerge, ensuring a coordinated operational and strategic response to all of our nation’s humanitarian concerns, as well as practical and tangible measures to resolve internal displacement.”
She also stated that Nigeria has roughly 2.3 million internally displaced people and that the government has spent about $3 billion in intervention money to help individuals who have been displaced in one way or another.