BY DAYO JOHNSON
AKURE— ONDO State Government yesterday denied insinuations from the Federal Ministry of Works that it threatened to sack the contractor handling the failed portions on the Sagamu/Benin Expressway in Ondo State.
Reacting to a statement by the Chief Press Secretary, CPS, to the Minister of Works, Mr. Taiye Akinyemi, asking the State government to hands off the repairs of the Sagamu-Ore-Benin expressway because it had awarded it to a contractor, Governor Olusegun Mimiko said at no time did his administration threaten the contractor.
Speaking through his CPS, Kolawole Olabisi, Mimiko said: “We did not threaten to sack any contractor; neither did we in any way impugn the Federal Ministry of Works.
“We only were embarrassed by the terrible stretch of road, a development which harried commuters are often heard blaming on the state government as they are not aware that it is a federal road.” We merely offered to repair it to save the nation to allow Nigerians using that road which is a major link to the Eastern and the Northern parts of the country. We are very happy by the cheery news that the federal government has offered to repair this road and that Nigerians can now heave a sigh of relief and we appreciate the Honourable Minister of Works for this laudable step.”
“We also wish to call the attention of the Minister to the fact that Ondo State is indeed being owed money for works done on behalf of federal government on its roads in the State with due consultation with relevant agencies of the Ministry and we humbly enjoin him to kindly check the records in his office as we have written letters to these effect which were duly acknowledged,” the governor said.
The Federal Works Ministry was quoted to have said that “For the records, the ministry has since awarded the contract for this road and the contractor is fully mobilized on site and currently engaged in palliative work that would make the road motorable for the remaining part of the rainy season, before executing the reconstruction work scheduled to be completed by the first week of November.”
“It would be recalled that the contractor handling the project, Messrs Reynolds Construction Company Nigeria Limited withdrew from site in September 2010 due to the kidnap of one of its expatriate staff,” the statement added.