July 20, 2024

Nigerian Government Issues Ultimatum Over Lokoja, Benin-Warri Roads


Ekpoma, along Benin-Lokoja road

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By Reporter

The Nigerian government has directed contractors working on Lokoja, Benin-Warri roads to begin permanent work otherwise the contracts will be terminated after fourteen days.

According to report monitored on Voice of Nigeria, the Minister of Works, David Umahi gave the threat last yesterday, October 10, 2023, while briefing State House Correspondents on the bad state of the roads as well as the challenges the gridlock causes members of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers.

According to the Minister, the government issued the ultimatum following a warning letter he received from NUPENG members threatening to down tools due to the menace of long queues on Warri, Benin, Port Harcourt roads.

Umahi also called for the support of Nigerians on the renewed hope agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu,  on the road sector saying that the Federal Ministry of Works is ready to implement all laws concerning road infrastructure in Nigeria.

“I need the support from Nigerians on this renewed hope in our road sector. If you go from here to Lokoja to Benin to Warri, there are no roads. You will see queues. I got a warning letter from NUPENG threatening to down their services if the roads in Warri, Benin, and Port Harcourt are not fixed.  We have directed the contractors to go and start work. After 14 days as allowed in the contract, any contractor that fails to be on site doing permanent work will have his contract terminated. That’s what the law says.”

The Minister mentioned that the government has offered an alternative of concrete pavement to the contractors which according to him would also create more jobs for Nigerians.

He hinted that ten cement manufacturers have indicated interest in building cement factories in  Nigeria.

“What is the alternative? The alternative is what High Tech is doing in Lagos with Dangote. The alternative is for you to go to APAPA-Oshodi Expressway and see what they are doing on concrete.

Every day you have over 500 static loads from the wharf loaded on that road, you will not see any crack. No asphalt work, no matter who did it can sustain that.

So we are saying that concrete is very friendly with water and so we want you contractors to have an alternative.

“There is a catalyst in the use of concrete pavement. It will create jobs for our people. Everything about the construction is local. 10 manufacturers of cement have indicated interest in building cement factories. That is good for our economy. It will reduce pressure on the naira. The road is going to be much more durable. And some people say it’s more expensive. It’s not more expensive. Some people put even three binders on their road construction, I get the roads will fail.” the Minister added.

Umahi affirmed President Tinubu’s determination to reset the Nigerian road sector, he emphasized the place of well-constructed roads in the country saying that it reduces kidnapping, creates jobs and creates economic activities.

“I want Nigerians to understand what is going on and I won’t stop shouting this there is no secrecy. It is taxpayers money. And Mr. President wants to reset this country. He wants to make a difference. And we know that road is everything in this country. It reduces kidnapping, it creates jobs, it creates economic activities. It increases the GDP of the country and that of the states, it helps in agriculture and education, in everything. If you cannot interact then there is no way, So this is very important and we are going to do everything to get this done.

“And let me also announce to Nigerians that Mr. President is a listening President. All the interventions we requested in our East-West Road in Benin-Sapele road, in Lokoja, in Shandam Lafia, you know, the bridge that has broken, in the two bridges in Enugu that got broken, in Owerri-Onitsha road that got broken at two points. The third mainland bridge resurfacing and the underneath work. I can’t finish all, they have all been approved by Mr. President.

The Minister also warned foreign contractors to respect the laws and culture of Nigeria while disclosing that many of them who were already paid by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited have failed to report to the site.

“Many of the contractors that NNPC paid have not gone to the site, some got N3 billion and have not been to sites. And I want the stakeholders to know that is about our country, it’s about our children and this is very important.

 “I want to also warn contractors, that there are some contractors that are quoting for jobs and they have two equipment on site. It can no longer be the same. We have minimum requirements of equipment on site for a particular work.  And if you don’t have it you will leave the site. Nobody can hold this country to ransom.”

He advised local contractors to brace up for available opportunities saying that the government of President Tinubu will not hesitate to revoke contracts from any failing expatriate.

“I want to advise our local contractors to wake up. I didit in an Ebonyi State, every civil service became an engineer our stakeholders became an engineer. We have to do it again and again and again. But we will welcome our expatriate contractors. We want them to respect us, to respect our culture. Because what is being done here cannot be done outside this country.

“We have to respect us. They have to respect the culture of this country. They have to respect the laws of the country.” the Minister added.

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