ABUJA-The Lagos- Ibadan expressway reconstruction project got a breath of fresh air, Thursday, with the arrival of a leading multi-national construction firm, Group Five, and other partners.
The team was received by the Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen, in his office in Abuja.
Group Five is a South African multidisciplinary construction group with an established and growing international client base engaged in resources, energy and infrastructure delivery.
The Lagos-Ibadan expressway project, which was granted to Bi-Courtney Highway Services Ltd., BCHSL, under a concession agreement in 2009, will now be jointly handled with Group Five and financed by Rand Bank.
Receiving the team led by Bi-Courtney’s Chairman, Dr. Wale Babalakin, the Minister said: “It is in the interest of every Nigerian for this concession to succeed. It is a project that is very important to us in the country, considering the busy nature of the road which records about 3000 vehicles per hour.”
“We are convinced that you have the ability to realise the dream. We know one of the partners in the consortium very well, because we’ve been working together for long.”
Speaking on the occasion, Babalakin assured that the road would be delivered on schedule, stressing that work would commence as soon as the rainy season was over, adding that the consortium would complete the project in three years.
He said: “Group 5’s knowledge of toll road in Africa is legendary. It comes in with very cognate and current experience for the actualisation of the project.”
Incidentally, Group Five was formed in 1974 when the construction of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway began.
The latest move, according to the concessionaire, will ensure that Nigerians got the best in quality and complement the zeal of the Minister for quick delivery of the project.
BCHSL had been deploying huge resources towards the take-off of the project since the concession was granted.
The Minister recently called on stakeholders, including state governments to support the project in order to ensure quick delivery.
The highly-rated Group Five has a total employee headcount of almost 12 500, and some of its key contracts include the successful delivery of a range of contracts related to the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup.
Apart from being rated as one of the most empowered companies in South Africa, Group Five emerged as the winner in the Basic Industrial Sector by the Financial Mail in its Top Empowerment Companies survey in 2011.