By Dennis Agbo
ENUGU—GOVERNORS in the South East geopolitical zone have been scheduled to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday.
Top on the agenda of the meeting at Abuja are the issues of the second Niger bridge, the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu and the non-representation of the region in the country’s security apparatus
The governors are suggesting that 50 per cent of the contract sum should be released while the remaining 50 per cent should be secured in a bond to ensure that the project will be completed.
This was made known to newsmen, yesterday when the Director General of the South East Governors Forum, Prof Simon Ortuanya briefed newsmen on the scheduled meeting.
Ortuanya said that the meeting was essentially a consequence of the governors’ initial interaction on the dire needs of the zone which included the second Niger bridge.
Ortuanya said, “We are happy with the Federal Government which has finally awarded the second Niger bridge as we earlier said. The main contract was signed in August 2018 for N206 billion. The commencement for work on the bridge was with effect from September 2018.
“This is the first time the actual work on the second Niger bridge would commence. The Federal Government has released about N7 billion for this work, which for us does not represent up to 10 per cent of the total sum. So, we want to use this opportunity to call on the Federal Government to increase the money that they have released to the contractor.
“Fortunately, the contractor is Julius Berger and it’s a reputable company but we are urging the government to release at least 50 per cent of the contract sum so that we can have significant work on the second Nigeria bridge.
“We also feel that the contract period of 42 months is too long and we are urging the Federal Government to review the contract period so that they can bring it down to two years. There are several reasons for this.
“We are also asking that the balance of the 50 per cent should be secured by the Federal Government bond.
“Another major item on the agenda is the Akanu Ibiam International airport and we want to ask the Federal Government to use this opportunity of meeting with our governors and bring back the contractors that have abandoned work because we still know that the tarmac is still bumpy, the building that has damaged has not been repaired and we urged the federal government to please do the needful urgently.
“The contractor that abandoned the tarmac should come back and resume work to ensure that the cargo section of the airport is made functional because we know that the cargo section is still not functional.”