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By Ike Uchechukwu, CALABAR

The Federal Government has described the intrusion into the right of way and compensation impasse as a major obstacles hindering the progress in the construction activities and the dualisation of the Calabar/Itu federal highway.

Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, made the disclosure, yesterday, while inspecting progress of work on the Cross River axis of the road.

The minister, represented by Director, Construction and Rehabilitation, Folorunso Esan, noted that apart from the challenges of right of way, the ministry had no issues of funding the project as it was among critical roads funded by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, through tax credit scheme.

He, however, called on Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State, to help resolve the issue of compensations, so that the contractors can finish the dualisation work as scheduled.
The minister, who expressed satisfaction with the level of work from the Odukpani axis of the highway being handled by Julius Berger said the job would be delivered by June/July of 2023.

His words: “We are encouraged by the level and quality of work done so far by Julius Berger handling the 21.9km from Odukpani to the power plant.

“Our major and only challenge for now is that of right of ways. Government has for long paid compensation for this but I don’t know why people are still on the right of way, it’s an issue that will be resolved.

“As a matter of fact, this is delaying progress of work and we want the governor to assist in this regard since the land belongs to the State and they are his people,” he said.

At the Okuiboku/Itu power plant section being handled by Sermatech, the minister who lauded the contractor over the level of work so far, however, charged him to do more in order to deliver the project by November 2023.

On his part, Kehinde Bakare, Site Manager for Julius Berger, said no fewer than 3km of the section of the road have been asphalted while a bridge and culverts have been constructed.

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