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Floods: FG approves N506bn for East-West road contract

…as IYC chides contractor

Abuja—The Federal Executive Council has approved the variation in the sum of the contract for East-West road project sections 1-4 from Warri to Port Harcourt, Eket, Oron, by  N260 billion, bringing the total amount required for it to N506 billion, Punch newspaper reports.

The original cost for the sections was about N246 billion.

The variation was part of the decisions reached by the council presided over by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday.

The council approved another N140 billion worth of contracts for the rehabilitation, construction and reconstruction of some other roads in different parts of the country.

According to the spokesman of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, who briefed correspondents on the issue, the variation followed a memorandum presented to the council by the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, as part of efforts to provide succour and resolve issues around the recent floods.

The presidential aide said, “He got approval for the variation order in respect of repair works on the East-West road project affected during the recent flooding occurrences in the Niger Delta.

“So, the approval was for a variation order for the East-West road project sections 1-4 from Warri to Port Harcourt, Eket, Oron, including Oron-Eket bypass in the sum of N260 billion, thereby increasing the total contract sum for the outstanding sections 1-4 of the East West road projects from the sum of formerly of N246 billion now to N506 billion. The memo was approved.”

Fashola also got FEC’s nod for the award of contracts for the urgent repairs and special general maintenance of some roads nationwide.

These included: the construction of Gogora Guru road in Yobe State in the sum of N40bn, with completion time of 36 months; the rehabilitation of the 90 kilometre Buni Gari Gulani road also in Yobe state in the sum of N4bn, with a completion period of 36 months.

Approval was also given for the urgent repairs and the reconstruction of Water Cooperation Drive at Trinity Avenue, Victoria Island, Lagos State, in the sum of N2bn with a completion period of 36 months.

Similarly,  approval was given for the award of contract for the dualisation and reconstruction of the Kano-Kwanar-Ganja-Hadejia road in Kano and Jigawa states  in the sum of N94bn, inclusive of 7.5 percent VAT, with a completion period of 24 months.

Also speaking on the memorandum approved for his ministry, the Minister of Agriculture, Mohammed Mahmood, allayed fears of food shortage in the country due to the recent ravaging floods.

He said arrangements were in place to intensify dry season farming in the country to make up for the loss of production in flood affected places and other areas that had become inaccessible due to insecurity.

Asked how food shortage could be averted, he explained: “Number one, we have in place an intensive plan for dry season farming. We have gotten funding from the African Development Bank, and we have some money also in our own provision. Also, IFAD, that is the International Fund for Agricultural Development, just donated or granted $5 million.”

Meanwhile, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has lamemted about the deplorable state of the East West road.

The IYC noted that the contractors who constructed the road undermined water channel areas just to short change the people by doing a very shabby work to gain more.

In a statement by its President, Comrade Timothy Igbifa, the group noted that the contractor only succeeded in removing the cost amount for Bridge Construction covering the number of bridges stipulated in the contract for their use without recourse to durability or repair/maintenance cost.

He charged the Federal Government to order contractors to build bridges on the highly impacted points on the East West Road while providing alternative routes to commuters to ease movement of people, goods and services putting the already deverstating humanitarian crisis in the area to minimum.

“with what I saw at the Ahoada axis of the road which is the same with Patani axis, bridges must be done on all the areas flushed by the flood as those are natural water routes that where forcefully during Earth works and finished with asphalt so as to continue the milking since the East West Road must be awarded every year without Value Addition to the Niger Delta people.

“The only solution to this wickedness is to construct bridges on all water flushed areas of the road.

“God is wise to create this region with the kind of soil and water as He provided enough Resources to make the best of this environment yet mans wickedness to man has continued to be the impediment to the actualisation of God’s vision for such a blessed region. Be warned as there’s time for everything.

“Many Thanks to President Muhammadu Buhari on the FEC approval for additional 260Billion naira to reconstruct the flood-impacted sections while calling on the Nations minister of Works to take drastic measures for quick delivery with quality adding that a dedicated joint monitoring committee to include stakeholders of the region could help, ”he said.

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