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LAGOS-BENIN EXPRESS ROAD:Minister reads riot act to contractor

By Simon Ebegbulem
BENIN CITY—THE Federal Government, yesterday, ordered the contractor handling the Benin-Lagos Expressroad, Reynolds Construction Company, RCC, to rehabilitate the dilapidated Kilometre 95-91 Ofuso, Ondo State axis of the Lagos-Benin express road or face its wrath.

Minister of State for Works, Engr.Chris Ogienwonyi, who gave the order while inspecting the road, said the Federal Government would revoke any contract which was not executed according to specifications.

This came as the minister also noted that with the number of on going projects in the road sector and some bold decisions made in the area of security and the economy by President Goodluck Jonathan, the President was likely to emerge victorious at the end of the presidential primaries of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Ogienwonyi who expressed anger upon discovery that RCC which was awarded the contract by the Federal Road Maintenance Agency, FERMA, for the dilapidated Ondo State axis of the road, was yet to mobilize to site despite the pains being experienced by Nigerians on the road, said that President Jonathan was committed to the speedy repair of the dilapidated Federal roads.

Warning that government would not continue to tolerate lapses on the part of the contractors, the minister said: “It is very clear that this Ondo axis of the road has deteriorated these last four months so we are urging the contractor, RCC handling these projects, the Benin to Ofuso end to have two gangs. One gang working from Ofusu to Benin then one gang working from Benin to Ofusu.

The second one, the contract from Ofusu to Kilometre 92 here in Ondo State which was awarded to RCC they must mobilize to site immediately otherwise FERMA should contract the job to another contractor with the same price.

“In terms of response to these problems, I think when people start seeing the dividends of Jonathan’s administration they will marvel. I was in Benin six weeks ago and was told that there was a wash out between Auchi and Igarra and I drove straight to the site. I inspected the place and thereafter went to pay a visit to the Otaru of Auchi, where he complained about the serious erosion issues around Auchi.

“On Tuesday that week, Mr President empowered me to ask Setraco to move to site. I was there three weeks ago, that job is almost completed now. President Jonathan just said minister mobilize to Auchi now and let them move to site. And we are taking key projects. The Jedda bridge, the second Niger bridge, so we are taking all these key areas.”

But I equally assure you that some of the contracts people are complaining about, the Ministry of Works has taken an inventory of all those contractors.

“We are summoning them to the Ministry of Works, Abuja, to look at their jobs. Those contractors whose performance fall below our expectation, we will terminate. Already the issue of bulletin to terminate some of these contracts is on the drawing board. Secondly, some of the Public Private Projects, PPP, we met on ground, like the Guto Bagrana bridge, where we equally realized that the contractor is performing below expectation, we had the courage to equally terminate it.”

Ogienwonyi added: “With the numerous achievements by the President, it will be difficult for any other candidate to defeat him at the primaries. What President Jonathan is doing today is a continuation of Yar’Adua/Jonathan ticket and that ticket will run to 2015.


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