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Abuja–Keffi–Lafia–Makurdi Road: Reps Demand Good Value For Money, Insists On Quality, Timely Delivery Of Project+photos

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By Gloria Ikibah

The House of Representatives has assured the Federal Ministry of Works as well as the Contractor handling the Abuja–Keffi–Lafia–Makurdi Road Project that it must ensure that Nigeria and Nigerians get good value for their money.

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The Chairman House Committee on works, Hon. Abubakar Kabir Abubakar stated this when he led members of the Committee on an oversight tour to inspect the ongoing project at the weekend, even as he insisted that the job must be delivered according to the stipulated timeline of April 2023, with emphasis on quality.

The inspection tour which took off from the Kugbo end of the 4.5km reconstruction and expansion of the A-Y-A–Nyanya and ended at the boundary between Abuja and Nasarawa State saw members of the Committee, many of whom are seasoned hands in the civil engineering profession querying the design, quality of materials and the width of the lanes and shoulder, as well as the thickness of the road.

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The Committee proceeded to the Keffi–Akwanga section of the project at kilometer 19 between Gudi village and Akwanga, where lawmakers reiterated the need to ensure that every kobo appropriated is well accounted for through the quality of job to be delivered.

They made inquiry as you why the project was being done in an un-uniform manner with some sections omitted and continuing ahead.

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At this point, Engr. Henry Usor, an official from the Road Sector Development Unit of the Federal Ministry of Works explained that compensation issues were responsible for such staggered implementation.

According to him, “the Ministry only takes charge of portions on which compensations had been paid and ask the Contractor to commence work”, he added that “building and commercial facilities such as fuel stations can only be demolished after compensation issues are settled”.

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Usor therefore assured that whatever issues and observations raised by the Committee on the job done so far was noted and corrections will be duly effect by the Contractor before the project is taken over by the Ministry.

According to him, “the project has an entire length of 454 km and being handled, by the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), adding that 39km of ashfalt work has been achieved with a total work rate of 72 percent done”.

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Addressing journalists after the inspection on the outskirts of Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital, Hon. Kabir said the project, which cost about $542 million, is counter-funded by the China Exim Bank as well as the Chinese and Nigerian Governments.

He said the Chinese were contributing 85 percent of the funding, while Nigeria completed the remaining 15 percent.

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The Committee Chairman insisted that there must be no compromise on the quality of the job that would be delivered at the end of the project and that job done must be commensurate to money spent.

“There should be no compromise in terms of quality, standard and time delivery. I said this because we made adequate budgetary provisions for this project in the 2022 appropriation, so there should be no excuse as to why the work would be delayed any further.

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“The 2023 budget will come in any moment from now, and this oversight is necessary for us to know how what was allocated last year was utilised for us to determine what’s needed and how to give approval,” he said.

The Ministry of Works further assured that the project would be delivered within the stipulated time.

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“The job would be completed in record time, going by the progress we have achieved so far. I believe we should be able to complete it by the time we come to the end of the project duration in April 2023”, Usor stated.

According to him, the initial completion time given was 36 months, while the final completion time was 48 months.

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He said when completed, the road would cut down travel time and reduce accidents.

“When completed, it would have a lot of advantages.If you are moving from Abuja to the southeast and southern part of the country, this would be a better option for you to take through.

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“So you award and do the procurement and do the design and then before you start the actual physical construction,” he said.

He assured that before the road would be handed over for usage next year in good condition.

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Naijablitznews.com reports that the project was awarded in 2017 but work started in 2019, because of its engineering, procurement and construction component.

The Project Manager, Li Qaingqiang, also assured that the project would be completed in April 2023.

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He said the road when completed will greatly reduce the rate of accident and create safe travel conditions for residents along the route.

According to him, the project will create at least 3,000 jobs, which is conducive to stimulating investment and consumption along the project corridor.

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“We are targeting to complete the project by April 2023 with sufficient budget allocation next year and we would ensure the road is in proper condition before it is handed over, ” he said.

END

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Independence Day: Mimiko Expresses Hope in Nigeria’s Greatness

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The immediate past governor of Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Mimiko said he is optimistic that Nigeria will reclaim its lost glory in the comity of nations and be great again, if all begin to do the right things.
In a press statement by John Paul Akinduro, his Special Assistant on Media and Digital Communications, the former governor urged Nigerians to be steadfast in their prayers and unshaken in their conviction as the country approaches National elections in 2023.
According to him, “As the 2023 elections draw nigh, it is time for all to walk the talk and work assiduously for equity, justice and fairness in all our dealings with one another as citizens.
“Let me restate that Nigeria’s challenges are temporary and will be surmounted if Nigerians are determined to rework its charter of association and pursue justice and fairness in choosing those who will steer the ship of the country.
“We must never forget as we race towards another election year that the country is structurally defective and that we must factor the need to, as a matter of urgency, restructure to make it easier for us to develop by creating healthy competition among the federating units.”
He tasked government at all levels to prioritize the security of every Nigerian, among many other things, where they live, work and play even as he prayed for better days for the country.

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Fire service recovers two corpses, car as heavy downpour wrecks havoc in Ilorin

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By Gloria Ikibah

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The Kwara Fire Service has said that it recovered two dead bodies after a vehicle plunged into a river at Akerebiata area in Ilorin.

Head of Media and Publicity of the service, Hassan Adekunle, in a statement on Saturday in Ilorin, said that the corpses and a Toyota Yaris car with registration number: APP544E, was recovered from a river opposite Olusola Saraki Abattoir in Ilorin.

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“Rumour had it that the incident occurred during the Friday night downpour when the casualties were struggling to drive through the bridge and suddenly got stuck by the flood which pushed them into the river.

“In truth, the rescued work was like a joint operation. Because all the people in the neighbourhood gave their full support to the firemen throughout the operation”, Adekunle said.

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He, therefore, advised the general public to always avoid driving whenever there is a heavy downpour.

He added that the identities of the victims were yet to be known at the time of filling this report.

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Naijablitznews.com reports that the heavy rain, which lasted for several hours on Friday, wrecked havoc in several parts of llorin metropolis.

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Governor Bello Urges President Buhari To Declare Kogi “State Of National Disaster”

Yahaya, bello, traditional, APC
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By Gloria Ikibah

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Following the ravaging effect of flood in Kogi state and its environs, Governor of Kogi state, Yahaya Bello, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to declare Kogi a ”State of National Disaster,”.

Governor Bello who made the appeal in his Independence Day address in Lokoja, said that a lasting solution must be proffered to the yearly menace.

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Bello said that such an emergency declaration would help to unlock the nation’s latent capabilities to respond more aggressively with more men, money and materials to the harrowing situation.

“The President may wish to recall that he made such a declaration in response to the 2018 flooding – and the floods this year are projected to be much worse than anything we saw in 2018.

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“Thus, while thanking His Excellency for what the Federal agencies are already doing, I implore him to give us the help our people so desperately need at this time,” Bello said.

He asserted that the natural disaster had affected the nine local government areas of the state which were along the Rivers Niger and Benue, namely, Lokoja, Kogi-Koto, Ajaokuta, Ofu, Igalamela-Odolu, Bassa, Idah, Ibaji and Omala.

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He also noted that Ibaji LGA was almost 100 per cent under water, while the rest ranged from 30 per cent up and other inland LGAs also had some degree of flooding from smaller rivers and tributaries.

While he acknowledged that the state had a serious and humanitarian tragedy to attend to, the governor assured every person, family and community who had been affected that they were not alone and that help was around the corner.

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He stated that even before the flood, his government had activated its early response systems to make sure that succour reached those affected in a timely manner.

He narrated that flooding in Kogi happened annually which unfortunately the people had gotten used to the ritual of devastation followed by inadequate palliatives, if any.

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“As a leader, it is clear to me that I must make an attempt to break this vicious cycle, if not for all, then for as many victims as I can and I am making proposals for permanent solutions,” Bello added.

He reeled out the numerous efforts which have yielded varying degrees of success, he revealed that the most common sense and humane option left now is to clear human habitations and businesses from the banks of the Rivers Niger and Benue where possible.

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He added that his government would embark on clearing the lowlands along the entire flood-plains in the flood endemic LGAs which would allow the rivers unimpeded flow during their annual flooding.

“In Lokoja, road shoulders along the banks of the River Niger from the entrance of the city in Natako will be widened to establish a sufficient buffer zone between the city and the river.

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“Ganaja junction to Ganaja Village road has also been recently re-awarded to a more efficient contractor and we will see to it that when work commences, efforts will be made to raise the road above the water levels mentioned,” he said.

The governor also noted that lowland communities affected by the planned clearance would be relocated to higher grounds and structures which fall into the designated work areas would have to make way.

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Bello, however, assured that the government would ensure proper resettlement and rehabilitation of those who would be affected.

He added that despite the huge burdens it would place of the already strained government’s resources would be money well-spent if it brought peace of mind to the people.

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He, however, noted that although such decision would have its own effects, but anything was preferable to the annual loss of lives and livelihood while assuring that his administration would continue to work for the wellbeing of the people and posterity in the state.

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