By Samuel Oyadongha, Yenagoa
Fifteen years after its creation, the Federal Government last week, formally handed over the site for the construction of the N2.5bn Federal Secretariat in Bayelsa State to an indigenous construction firm, Trenur Nigeria Limited.
The project, sited at the prestigious Ox Bow Lake business district which is also host to the ongoing Central Bank of Nigeria complex project and other Federal and State governments projects, when completed, is expected to accommodate the over 70 Federal Government ministries, MDGs and parastatals operating in the state.
Though six Federal secretariat projects had been earmarked and one for each of geopolitical zone, Bayelsa is the only state in the South South zone without a Federal secretariat almost fifteen years after its creation making accommodation a difficult task for Federal agencies operating in the state.
Presently, most of the Federal government agencies in the state are occupying structures that were initially built as generator houses by the late Chief Melford Okilo when he was governor of old Rivers State.
While handing over the site and project document to the chairman of Trenur Nigeria Limited, King Amalate Turner, the Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Ms Ama Pepple said the Bayelsa Federal secretariat is one of such projects earmarked for the six geopolitical zones.
The minister who was represented by the Deputy Director, Architectural Design Services, Mr Paul Edozor, an engineer, said the four storey structure which is a departure from the initial eight storey designed in the 70’s which are not friendly to physically challenged persons.
According to the minister, the Federal secretariat project would provide a minimum of 498 office accommodation on completion.
The project which would be completed in 100 weeks would cater for the accommodation needs of all federal government agencies many of which have been operating under difficult condition due to shortage of accommodation space in the state.
“In the next 100 weeks we are going to have a befitting secretariat complex that would house all federal government offices. We are here to hand over the site to the contractor. Our representatives will be on ground here to ensure that the job is done to specification.
We are aware of incessant building collapse but none of our buildings have collapsed. This secretariat will be built to standard,” the minister’s representative who gave the cost of the project as N2.5bn, said.
The project the minister further explained was designed to cater for the need of physically challenged persons who are also expected to make use of the structure.
Receiving the project design and other documents from the representative of the minister, the chairman of Trenur Nigeria Limited, King Amalate Turner, expressed gratitude to the Federal Government for redeeming its promise to establish its presence in the state.
King Turner assured that the project would be completed on time to solve the accommodation problems facing federal civil servants in the state.