FG Reads Riot Act To Contractors Handling Benin-Ekpoma-Auchi-Okpella-Okene-Lokoja Road


FG Reads Riot Act To Contractors Handling Benin-Ekpoma-Auchi-Okpella-Okene-Lokoja Road


The Federal Government has read the riot all the contractors handling the Benin-Ekpoma-Auchi-Okpella-Okene-Lokoja road to immediately commence accelerated work on the rehabilitation of the highway or face termination of their contracts.

The directive was handed down to the contractors by the Minister of Works,  David Umahi, during  his inspection  visit  to the various  project sites in Edo state, according to a statement in Abuja by the minister’s spokesman, Uchenna Orji.

The Minister of Works stated at the weekend that the government had released funds to the contractors handling the federal projects, warning that contractors who fail to fully mobilise and commence immediate accelerated rehabilitation works on the projects would have their  contracts terminated and their firms blacklisted.

Speaking after a meeting with the Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, the minister described as unacceptable the delay by the contractors in fully mobilizing to the site and effectively commencing rehabilitation work despite President Bola Tinubu’s prompt release of funds to them for the projects.

On the recent protest along the Jattu axis of the  Benin- Auchi highway by the residents of the area, which disrupted vehicular movement, the minister said that his meeting with the governor was to brainstorm on the drastic measures to tackle the issues affecting the progress of work in the area.

” I have had a very serious meeting with the governor here. We are concerned about what is happening between  Benin-Ekpoma-Auchi- Okpella and the axis of Kogi State. That is what we have been brainstorming on.

“ I have worked with him throughout last night to direct that the road should be unblocked, and if you see the grievances of those people you will not blame them so much, because people are dying, trucks are falling,” Umahi stated.

Umahi also inspected the Lokoja-Benin road ‘dualisation’ projects, section IV: Benin-Ehor road in Edo State handled by RCC Nig. Ltd; the section III: Ehor – Auchi in Edo State handled by Dantata & Sawoe Nig. Ltd; and section II: Auchi – Okene in Edo/Kogi States handled by Mothercat, tasking them on the best standard and timely delivery of the projects.

He further moved to the spot where the residents were blocking vehicular movements and addressed them on the efforts of the government to improve the condition of roads in the state.

” Mr. President has directed  me to go round the entire 36 states and brief him on the state of the  roads. No contractor  is being  owed a kobo from Warri down to Kogi State. We are redressing  the situation here. You will see action from Monday,” Umahi said.

Meanwhile, the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said the State Government has arranged for a meeting on Tuesday, March 12 with representatives of the federal government, Dangote Group and BUA Plc to discuss and proffer short term solutions on the deplorable condition of the Benin/Auchi road.

A statement by Obaseki’s spokesman, Crusoe Osagie, said the governor disclosed this at the weekend during a chat with journalists at the Government House in Benin City, after a closed-door meeting with Umahi.

Obaseki also appealed to the federal government to concession the road to Edo state government as a long-term solution.

“As a state, we would work with the minister and the federal government. The issue of roads can’t be left to one stakeholder alone; we all must come to work together.

“We are very concerned about the high-traffic roads like the Benin-Auchi road which is one of the main transport arteries in Edo State. Youths have protested severally about the poor condition of the road. We have appealed to them and they accepted and expect us to fulfil the promise on remedial action to reduce the carnage, accident, destructions, and delays commuters witness on that road.

“We have agreed with the minister that we would send one of our contractors immediately to go in there this next week to commence palliative work in some very bad sections of the road. We also agreed on some of the bad sections, particularly around Agbede, between Ekpoma and Irrua-axis and some other portions towards Uhunmwode LGA.

“These bad sections have been calculated and it came to about 30km and we have to bring in other stakeholders, particularly heavy users of the road. We have singled out Dangote and BUA cement companies as they are some of the largest users of the Benin/Auchi road and can’t stay aloof.

“We are summoning a meeting with representatives of these two companies, Edo State Government, and the Federal Minister for Works and Housing on Tuesday to agree on concrete steps and measures to take and make sure that the remedial works are done on the bad sections of the road to ensure rehabilitation work are done before raining season commences.

“We can’t afford to have that road in that condition this year. Things are bad enough in the country. This is the main artery moving petroleum products, and foods from the North to the South. We have no choice but to make sure that the road is open to traffic. These are short-term measures,” he stated.

While commending Umahi, Obaseki recalled that this time last year when he cried for help about the deplorable state of the roads ahead of the rainy season, he didn’t get the kind of response compared to now.

“I believe that the minister has shown enough sensitivity to our plight. He has come to us ahead of the heavy rains to see what we can do and what palliative measures can be put in place in some of these federal roads. I believe that once we take some of these steps, the situation can’t be as bad as we experienced last year.

“The minister has raised several issues. First is because of our position as a state with a unique location. We have a very large network of federal roads across the state. We are perhaps one of the few states with the largest extent of federal roads. But our citizens will always argue that they are not federal citizens but citizens of Edo and Nigeria using these roads. It’s important we come together, work together and build these roads.

“In working together, we have to remove the encumbrances which are the way we contract to build the roads, the people we used to build these roads, the materials used as well,” he added.

On the way forward, the governor said there was need to use more sustainable local materials instead of using expensive asphalt.

“We should now think of using sustainable local materials. We produce cement and steel. We have no reason why we should not begin to move towards using concrete in building our roads for it to last long.

“As part of the long-term measures, the road should be under concession. We will be discussing it with the Minister on Tuesday. Our focus is that the road must and should be under concession as we can’t continue to accept what is going on anymore.

“You have contracts for almost 20 years but we have not been able to make progress, please hand over that road to us, let us concession it to people who have the money as we have done with the Benin-Asaba Road.“We believe working with the private sector we can raise the money to ‘dualise’ the road. Before the end of this year we would push for the concession of the road and would try to achieve this before leaving office,” Obaseki added.

Separately, the minister has assured that the federal government would promote indigenous resources, skills and capacities by creating more opportunities for local contractors in the construction industry.

A statement by Orji quoted the minister as saying that this would be especially helpful in the newly introduced use of concrete technology in tough terrains across the nation.

Umahi stated this when he paid inspection visits to some flood sections along the East-west Road in Delta State undergoing remedial work by an indigenous contractor.

The minister promised to ensure value for money, wealth creation, and jobs for indigenous professionals and technicians as well as introduce engineering solutions that are more economical and discourage delays  in project delivery.

“We have about 10 different washouts, which we are providing multiple culverts in place of a decompile, which would have been much more expensive. But our solution is very economical, and it will solve the engineering problems.

“And then we’re raising the road level above the flood level. And we are also using a concrete pavement to do it. We’re also going to put solar light,” he added.

Also speaking when he inspected the ‘dualisation’ of the Sapele-Agbor road, in Delta state handled by CGC Nigeria  Ltd, he directed all controllers of works to ensure that all contractors use 70 percent stone-base aggregate with only 30 percent dust base to form the base of the road construction jobs.

The minister also inspected the rehabilitation of the Warri-Sapele road via route two, section three in Delta  State, handled by  SKECC Nigeria  Ltd, and the  Benin-Warri road rehabilitation, section two, among others.

He directed Geld Construction  Nigeria  Ltd/ Tracter Nigeria Ltd, one of the contractors handling the project to within  14 days justify the mobilisation received or have their job terminated. “After 14 days of this warning notice and nothing is happening, I will come and terminate the job,” he stressed.


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