• Friday, July 19, 2024
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FG to complete section 1 of Lagos-Calabar highway by May 2025

FG threatens to terminate Calabar-Itu road contract over delay

The Federal government, through the Ministry of Works, has announced its target to complete the Lagos-Calabar coastal highway by May 2025.

David Umahi, the minister of works disclosed this during a meeting with contractors in Abuja on Tuesday, stating that the project has been divided into six lanes from section 2 to the end.

The Lagos-Calabar coastal highway, a 700-kilometre project passes through nine states and was awarded to Hitech Construction Company Limited. Construction of the project commenced in March 2024, beginning with the first phase of the project, which stretches 47.47 kilometres from Lagos.

Read also: Don’t be afraid we will build Lagos-Calabar coastal highway — Tinubu

The minister assured that the construction work was still ongoing as against reports of its abandonment. He added that so far, the federal government has paid about N10 billion as compensation fees to owners of properties that were destroyed in the course of the work.

“Some people have been writing that we stopped the project, no project is stopped. As we are talking now, over four kilometres of concrete road are being completed on six lanes. We had to reroute and we came back to our new alignment at kilometre 25. So the work is going, and it’s moving smoothly. We have paid a total compensation of close to N10 billion.

“The contractor is highly commended for a very beautiful job and commitment and for being very reasonable. Even when we change alignments, he didn’t not ask us to increase costs. Right now, section 3 and 4 are being finalized, but we’re going to do stakeholders’ engagements,” he said.

The minister speaking further, noted that the President Tinubu-led administration inherited a total of 2,600 ongoing projects, totaling over N15 trillion of which only N2 trillion was certified and paid for.

Says over N10bn compensation paid to property owners

He decried the poor budgetary allocations for road infrastructures in the country, adding that constituency projects account for over 90 per cent of new projects introduced by the new administration.

Read also: Tinubu arrives to flag off construction of N15trn Lagos-Calabar Coastal Road

“And yet these constituency projects are also of very poor budgetary allocation, 100 million, 200 million. In 2024 budgetary allocation, we have less than 30 projects that have over N2 billion allocation and that’s why I say that it’s a palliative budget, you can’t use that budget to achieve much. But the budget is also very useful in certain emergency works because a chain is as strong as the weakest link.

“And this is if you have a beautiful road, 100 kilometers, and the road is broken into two by flood, if you don’t fix it, you can’t use it. So that’s where the usefulness of this sort of budgetary provision is necessary for certain emergency projects.”

Speaking on the achievement of the ministry, Umahi said that the ministry under his leadership has completed over 130 projects across the country worth over N260 billion.

This is as he ordered the directors to carry out commissioning of all projects done under his leadership.

Read also: Umahi gets hands dirty with road revamp

“We have 130 projects that MMrPresident approved on an emergency basis, totalling over N260 billion. As of today, we have completed over 80 per cent of such projects. And so if we were to ask Mr. President to come over to commission it, nothing else would be done.

“And I think that a cumulative project of over N260 billion is quite a milestone achievement for this ministry and Mr. President. So I’m directing the permanent secretary to direct all the regional directors to do the commissioning of these projects throughout the nation. The commissioning will be put on social media and on television so that Nigerians will see what we are doing.

“On new projects, we’ve completed some bridges and so many other projects. And so when we present our scorecard the society will see what we have done.

“You know, in our society we are very good at comparing, you know, the best minister, the worst minister. The assignments are different, and this ministry competes with no ministry, but we are very much committed into innovative ways of thinking and doing things differently,” he said.