By Ben Agande
Abuja — The Federal Government, yesterday, said it was ready to meet Bi-Courtney Consortium whose concession of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway was terminated on Monday in court if the company resorts to legal action to challenge the termination.
The Minister of Works, Chief Mike Onolememen, who stated this said the Federal Government observed the rules of disengagement as stated in the agreement between it and the consortium, adding that the Federal Government had repeatedly drawn Bi-Courtney’s attention to remedy the situation to no avail.
The minister said: “That concession was governed by law, the agreement is the governing instrument for that concession. And the obligations of the parties were well spelt out in that agreement and at every point in time, every party was in the know as to what it was doing, either in conformity with the obligation in the agreement or in breach of those obligations.
“As a party, the government at a time had to address a letter to Bi-Courtney detailing the serial breaches it had committed on that particular concession and inviting the company to remedy those breaches given the days of grace as provided for in the agreement, failing which government did not have to invite them again to another meeting to terminate it.
“It is one of the rights given to government as a guarantor in the concession to terminate when certain things go wrong in the section prescribed in the agreement. And that is precisely what government did. So they are free to go to court and government will meet them in the law court.”
On the fears being expressed about RCC’s capability to handle the job, Onolememen said: “RCC is one of the contractors in the category that we are comfortable with. It is RCC that did most of the very important roads in this country that have continued to provide easy movement for people.
“As we speak they are engaged on the Benin-Ore-Sagamu dualisation and they are doing very well there. They are also on the Abuja-Lokoja dualisation project on Section II and they are in various parts of the country even in the Niger Delta.
“I perceive that what people may be referring to is consequent on the alignment. For example, if you move from Abuja to Lokoja, you will see pockets of FADAMA drainages where some water just sieve from the country. One of the problems I had to deal with as minister was to redo that entire alignment in terms of detailed designs and specifications.
“Because abinitio when that particular contract was awarded in 2006, it was awarded just like any other road. Nobody took into cognisance the peculiarities of that particular alignment, in fact it was one of the reasons I had to create a new department of geotechnic, material and control.”
And they have been on that alignment to identify chainages with that problem and we have come up with a new specification to guide the construction of that work.
Those chainages the reconstruction had since commenced. But as a contractor we have no doubt in our minds that RCC ia a good contractor and confident they will do the work well.”