The Minister of Works, Senator David Umahi (CON) has reassured the people of the North and Nigerians of the commitment of the FG to the completion of the Abuja –Kaduna dual carriageway by 2024.
Umahi disclosed this while speaking to journalists during the inspection of the highway as directed by Mr. President who, according to him, is so passionate about the completion of the road as it will alleviate the suffering and travel time of commuters plying the road.
The Minister added that the road is very important to Mr. President and he is committed to finishing it by 2024, adding that he will match his words with action.
Umahi said, “Mr. President is passionate and concerned about finishing this road and many other Federal roads across the Nation and my inspection as directed is to get first hand information and examine the challenges involved in the construction of the road and other roads to be visited soon”.
The section 1 of the highway which is 165.5km is part of the 375.4 kilometer Abuja-Kaduna –Zaria-Kano project awarded to Messers Julius Berger Nigeria PLc in 2018 by the previous administration but is yet to be completee like other sections of the road due to insecurity and criminal activities.
The Minister who decried any form of wastage of funds or delay during construction work stressed that there should be a meaningful reason for any change in the approved design of a project to take place.
“Speaking further, he said, “I have observed that there is an issue with the design, I’m directing the Director of Geo-Technics Material and Quality Control of the Ministry of Works, he must come and run figures with me with the project Consultant”.
“They have to prove to me that the CPR of the sub upgrade now is more than the CPR of the existing sub grade. I don’t believe in it and if that is not the case there shouldn’t be any need to disturb the existing sub grade, we should actually build our pavement on the existing sub grade. We want to see how we can cut down cost”.
Umahi emphasised the need to quicken the approval process of payments for contractors and not make contractors go to site when payments have not been made to them.
“Again I have asked the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, (NSIA), to run me figures, let me know how much money they want to give in every month for this project because there is a limit you can push the contractor if you don’t have funding for him”.
” if you generate certificate and you cannot pay him, you can’t do more, so we are trying to look at it and if we get the figures, we will be able to insist that the contractor should start this road constructions on a number of sections”, he further said.
The Minister who acknowledged the central role of security in the progress of any nation has assured Nigerians that this administration will do everything within available means to provide security for lives and properties on the roads.
He promised that efforts will be made to provide solar light on the completed sections of the road for the safety of road users and its environs if the contingency funds are available.
The Minister encouraged the use of concrete road pavement as an alternative to the use of asphalt in road construction describing it as durable and cheaper.
He urged citizens to take responsibility for FG projects in their states by protecting them rather than looting and vandalising them as government cannot protect them.
The Director Highway Construction and Rehabilitation, Engr. Folunsho Esan and the Director Highway North Central Engr. Bola Aganaba, all promised to monitor closely from now on the progress of work going on the road and also to meet with the deadline.
Responding, the Project Manager Messers Julius Berger Nigeria Ltd, represented by Engr. Dwsdowki Finn, he expressed his gratitude to the Minister for his visit and encouragement. He stated that the project is their major project in the country and will continue to do their best to maintain the standard and deliver the project at the scheduled time.
The Minister was accompanied on the inspection by Senators Lawal Usman representative Kaduna Central and Onyekachi Nwaebonyi, representing Ebonyi North. The Federal Controller of Works in Kaduna State, Engr. Ibrahim Mmadu and Eng. Usman Yakubu were also in the entourage.
The Minister also before leaving Kaduna state paid a courtesy visit to the Governor of Kaduna state who was represented by the Deputy Governor of the state.