Reps order probe of slow work on N150bn Lagos-Ibadan expressway, others
The House of Representatives has ordered investigations into the slow pace of work on the N150 billion Lagos-Ibadan expressway, Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano expressway and the 2nd Niger Bridge.
It therefore, mandated the Committee on Works to investigate the level of work done on Lagos-lbadan Expressway, Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Expressway and 2nd Niger Bridge in order to determine if the amount disbursed so far has a commensurate value with the job done till date, and report the findings and recommendations back to the House in four weeks.
This was sequel to the adoption of a motion of urgent National Importance, mandating, House Committee on Works to: “Investigate Julius Berger, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, others over Contract Monopoly,’ sponsored by Chudi Momah (APGA, Anambra) during plenary on Thursday.
Presenting the motion, Momah said there was evidence of slow pace of work on these three critical projects, which has resulted in traffic congestion, fatal accidents being recorded daily and a downturn in the economy of the states bordering these projects.
He stated that the use of direct procurement in awarding these projects as against the opening of competitive bidding in section 24 of the Public Procurement Act has deprived Nigerians of transparency, due process and potential to save money
Momah expressed disappointment at the slow pace of work on the projects despite the prompt release of funds by Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).
“These critical projects were designated to be funded under the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) domiciled at Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) so as to ensure proper and prompt funding.
“As of December 2019, Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) had released the following amounts: N19, 520,949,317.16 to Section 1 of Lagos Ibadan Expressway, N80, 242,079,039.46 to the 2nd Niger Bridge, N50,856,044,301.27 to Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano road, totalling the sum of N150,619,072,657.89,” he stated.
The Anambra lawmaker also observed that there is also a potential conflict of interest in Julius Berger’s involvement in the 2nd Niger Bridge.
He said the 2nd Niger Bridge is made up of 3 sections: Phase 1 is the Bridge 2, Phase 2a is Benin to Asaba Expressway, Phase 2b is Onitsha to Enugu Expressway; Phase 1 of the job was to be awarded as Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer basis under PPP scheme, and Phase 2a and 2b were to be awarded as traditional contract.
“The same job has now been awarded to Julius Berger for N206 Billion, as against the cost of N118B valued by BPP. Julius Berger is involved in all these three critical projects and other major road projects under SUKUK. All these projects are lagging behind schedule, which brings to fore Julius Berger’s capacity to handle the projects simultaneously”, Momah added.