December 15, 2017

E-West road: FG releases N3bn to contactors – Usani

E-West road: FG releases N3bn to contactors – Usani

…Says we are not submitting name of any contractor to EFCC

By Chris Ochayi

The Federal Government, said, Friday that it has released N3 billion to the contractors handling the East West road dualization projects to enable them return to the project sites and continue with their job.

*The East-West Road … not constructed without design, due process and financial plan.

Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, who disclosed this at a media briefing to clear the air on recent media reports on the project, said the highway project would not be abandoned as the present administration was committed to completing the project.

Pastor Usani, while denying media report allegedly credited to him to the extent that names of 40 contractors handling the East West road project have been compiled for submission to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, said the report was false, vague an unfounded.

The minister explained that it was only four contractors that are handing the five sections of the East West road and that none of them was found wanting or indicted in the course of carrying out the projects.

It would be recall that some media reports had quoted the minister as saying that the Federal Government has compiled the names of 40 contractors for submission to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, over their role in the East West road project and other projects in the oil-rich Niger Delta.

The minister was also quoted to have said that the East West road project awarded in 2006 by the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the Federal Government said, was originally designed to fail.

Although the minister insisted that the engineering design of the road project was programmed from unset to fail, he however, assured the review of anomalies in agreement and faulty design on the project are being carried out by the current administration.

According to him, “Last Wednesday, after the Federal executive council, FEC, meeting, we have reasons to brief the press. Arising from that briefing, we observed that some media reports have not conveyed our exact expression. And it becomes necessary to use this opportunity to put the record in a proper perspective.

“The first is I found it on some publication that 30 to 40 contractors of East West road to be sent to EFCC. It is not correct. The East west road in the first place doesn’t have more than three or four contractors. And the sections of the road are not more than five. So, in that itself, it is a careless story with least application of information.

“Number two, the area I mentioned the East West road was to say that the conceptual design and attribution of its execution to conditions of agreement suggest that the project ab-nitio was design to fail. And this is the reason we continue spending without being able to appreciate at what point this will end.

“We did not say that the contractors are going to sent to EFCC. We said the anomalies in the agreement and design are being reviewed now and when the report is ready, we will see it.

“We have had cordial relationship with the contractors of the East West road and we have asked them to go back to work. at present, I know that we have committed a minimum of N3 billion to the contractors on the East West road to continue their work.

“And as we get releases, we will continue to fund them within the limit of appropriation. So we couldn’t have been funding them to go to site and the sometime we are sending them to the EFCC to go and face litigation. There is no basis for that.

“So, I want this corrected. They have not offended us and at no time we found them culpable to the extent we wanted them penalised. So, this story can only set us back by causing apprehension among the contractors. And I wish it can be corrected forthwith.”