Reps threaten to blacklist Julius Berger over slow pace of work on road projects

Posted by Olorundare Enimola, Lagos | 14 December 2019 | 992 times

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•Speaker House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila

The House of Representatives has queried the construction company, Julius Berger Nigeria PLC, over the slow pace of work on the Lagos-Ibadan and Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano highways.

The House Committee on Works, in its resolutions, expressed its disappointment when the company appeared before it alongside officials of Ministry of Works and Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) at an investigative hearing on Wednesday.

The committee, in its resolutions on the hearing, said it “questions Julius Berger’s capacity to concurrently handle big projects.”

The committee said that in view of this, “it is directing the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing to consider the option of involving other contractors to handle different sections of the road.”

The chairman of the committee, Rep. Kabir Abubakar (APC-Kano), alleged that the company had, by its actions and inactions created a situation leading to loss of lives and gridlock on the Abuja-Kano road.

The chairman expressed concern that Julius Berger might not meet up with the completion deadline as stated in the contract agreement.

The committee said that Julius Berger stood the risk of losing the contract if it failed to complete the project within the stipulated time.

Responding to questions, the Regional Technical Manager, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc., Mr Benjamin Bott, said the company was doing everything possible to complete the work as scheduled.

In view of the concern raised by federal law makers on the slow pace of work on projects handled by Julius Berger, especially the Lagos – Ibadan expressway, Saturday INDEPENDENT, sought to know the opinions of stakeholders on the fears expressed by the law makers.

In his own reaction, the sector commandant of the Federal Road Safety Corps, (FRSC), Ogun State, Clement Oladele, said, “It is not in the purview of my organisation to comment on the state of road constructions or their level of completions, as my organization is majorly concerned about controlling traffic and ensuring safety of users no matter the state of such roads. It is therefore the prerogative of the contract awarding ministry to monitor the performance of its contractors, either to review or appreciate what is being done. It is also expected of the law makers to exercise their oversight functions on such projects.”

Oladele, however agreed that his organization is always looking forward to the completion of every road project and will appreciate it as would every Nigerian.

On his part, the president of Allied Trucks Transporters Association of Nigeria, ATTAN, Mutiu Akinbode, said, “The law makers are just waking up to realities, the position expressed by them had been our position as an association for some time now. It appears the company is playing on the intelligence of road users and that of the government. Our members sometimes spend two or three days on the Lagos – Ibadan express road trying to deliver goods for clients.”

Pastor Olubode Adesakin, of the Ancient of days Parish of RCCG, Magboro town, said “The trauma suffered by members of the church attending the monthly Holy Ghost programme is orchestrated by the snail pace of work by the company. We long expected that the road would have been completed, but it appears it is being delayed by reasons many alluded to poor funding by the government.” (Saturday Independent)

Source: News Express

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