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FG Plans to Finish Benin-Lokoja Road in Six Months, Says Umahi

FG Plans to Finish Benin-Lokoja Road in Six Months, Says Umahi

David Umahi, the Minister of Works, announced on Thursday in Abuja that the Federal Government is set to complete the Benin-Lokoja road project within six months.

Umahi revealed this during a meeting with the contractors responsible for the road projects, attended by Senator Adams Oshiomole representing Edo North and Sen. Monday Okpebholo, the All Progressives Congress governorship candidate in Edo.

The project, awarded in 2012, has faced delays, but Umahi assured that the government has devised strategies to expedite its completion.

He disclosed that the government has partnered with BUA to construct 30 kilometers of the road under a tax credit scheme, after which the company will receive a tax certificate.

Additionally, three other contractors will be mobilized to handle the remaining 30 kilometers of the road.

Umahi outlined the contractors assigned to each section: CGC for the first section from Lokoja, Mother Cat for the second section, Dantata and Sawoe for the third section, and RCC for the final section.

“Let me say that this project was first awarded in 2012, later the last administration reviewed the project to N879 billion under the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) tax credit scheme.

“However, the costs of the project is different from the commitment of NNPC because NNPC’s commitment was just N122 billion and so there was a funding gap of N775 billion and I don’t see where that money is coming from.

“So all I did when we came onboard was to keep the project but review the texture of the pavement, by allowing the existing carriageway to be asphalt and then reviewed the new carriage way to be concrete.’’

Umahi said that the ministry would mobilise the contractors after signing an addendum to collect 30 per cent fund to fast track the project amounting to N9 billion each.

He however, said that the contractors would do an affidavit agreeing on the timing for completion of the project

“We are very serious about the timing of our projects; we no longer allow contractors to determine how long they stay on site.

“We have to demand for timetable and we have to work according to the timetable. So I am appealing to you contractors to be diligent and committed,,,” he said..’

Responding, Mr Kabiru Rabiu ,Group Executive Director, BUA Group ,said the company was committed to supporting the administration of President Bola Tinubu to succeed.

According to Rabiu, in Edo alone, BUA made an investment of over 2billion dollars with five lines of cement.

He said that the construction of the 30 kilometres road was also in favour of the group as well as the people of Edo.

“I want to give our commitment to take on the road project. We are committed to make the necessary investment under the tax credit scheme in return for a tax certificate.’’

Earlier, Oshiomole, commended the Tinubu led administration for responding swiftly to the needs of the people.

According to Oshiomole ,Edo state residents had been lamenting over the deplorable state of the road for the past two to three administrations.

He said that some of the contractors were not serious with the project while some totally abandoned it.

“We appealed to the previous governments, we had a lot of promises but they were not kept. So we cried to the president.

“We are happy that through the intervention of the minister, the president has given us a listening ear.

” I was shocked that within 72 hours the minister swung to action, the problem that ministers before him could not solve got a swift answer,” he said.

For his part, Okpebholo said President Tinubu succeeded in rekindling hope in the people of Edo through the road project.

“We didn’t know how we were going to campaign because of bad roads; I commend the minister for the swift action.

“If this is how Nigeria works, everybody will want to come back home. Nobody will want to leave the country.

“I am happy that this is done. It is an excellent move for Edo people. With this, we will win our election with a clean slate,’’he said

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