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FG To Abuja-Lokoja-Benin Road Contractors: Sign Contract In Two Days Or Forfeit Job

Abuja-Lokoja-Benin road

The federal government has issued a deadline of Thursday, April 25, and Friday, April 26, 2024, for the construction companies involved in the Abuja-Lokoja-Benin highway project to sign a N870 billion contract. It has warned that failure to meet this deadline will lead to their removal from the project.

The minister of works, David Umahi, said that the previous 480km-long project contract, which was under the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPCL) Tax Credit Scheme, has expired, necessitating the new contract.

He however gave conditions to the signing of the contract that the contractor must work the basic rate, adhere to the timetable, deploy men and equipment on three sections of their stretch

Umahi handed down the warning on Thursday in Abuja during his meeting with the contractors handling the Abuja-Lokoja-Benin highway where expressed the government’s dissatisfaction with the contractors’ repeated delays and non-compliance with the contractual timetable, stating that Nigerian road users have suffered enough.

The contractors present at the meeting were Mothercat Nigeria Ltd, CGC Nigeria Ltd, Reynolds Construction Company (RCC), and Dantata and Sawoe Construction Company Nigeria Ltd.

The contractors in attendance at the meeting are Mothercat Nigeria Ltd, CGC Nigeria Ltd, Reynolds Construction Company (RCC) and Dantata and Sawoe Construction Company Nigeria Ltd.

The decision to issue a new contract was due to the behaviour of foreign contractors, according to Umahi, who revealed that the recently reviewed contract underwent due diligence, and the augmentation was approved.

According to him, the contractors accepted the review without objections, leading to the issuance of contract award letters, however, weeks after accepting the offer, most contractors have yet to respond, except for RCC, which raised certain concerns.

The Minister said upon assuming office, he discovered that the total contract sum for the 284km Lokoja-Benin road was initially N121b, but it was later reviewed by the last administration to over N870b, which he believed was excessive.

This led to his refusal to present the Certificate of No Objections to the Federal Executive Council (FEC), he said adding that after conducting an inspection tour of the road, he found that some sections could not support asphalt overlay.

As a result, the project was re-scoped after several months of meetings with the contractors and it was decided that concrete overlay would be used on the new lanes, while asphalt would be used on the other sections.

This led to the retention of the old cost of over N870b which the contractors signed after assuring that they could do the job, he added,  saying, “the arrogance of contractors in the country is annoying, a country where contractors are dictating what happens is insulting.

“In the Ministry of Works, we have contractors with 17 contracts who have no personnel or equipment to do the job, they are just playing politics, staying on a job for 17 years that is what is playing out.

“The position of the government is that if you are not signing the contract between today (Thursday) and tomorrow, you will forgo the jobs, you can go to court. We will not enter into any conditions for negotiations.

“This contract is over N2b per kilometre, what else do you want?
“If you are signing the contract, you sign it along the basic rates, and timetable and deploy in three sections or I will terminate the job. Enough of this insult, enough of this politics, enough of playing with the psyche of the people”.

The Minister reiterated the directive for the Ministry to profile all ongoing road projects across the country within seven days to assess the qualifications and number of contractors’ personnel and equipment on site.

He said it has become necessary to evaluate the capacity of contractors handling Federal Government road projects to ensure the successful completion of the projects.

Despite some contractors requesting additional time to review the new contract, the Minister remained firm, saying, “Sign the contract or leave the job; you don’t need to do the job”.


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