Road projects: FG stops payments to contractors in South-East

The former Ebonyi governor said he stopped payment of RCC and Arab Contractors until they reviewed the cost of the projects and method of construction.

01:01 PM WAT, Thu September 07, 2023

The Minister of Works, Senator Dave Umahi has stopped some road construction in the Southeast pending the review of the existing and additional contracts.

Umahi gave the directive on Thursday in Enugu during the inspection of some ongoing construction/rehabilitation of federal roads across states in the South-East.

The minister expressed dismay that four bridges and three kilometers of additional work were costing N15 billion.

He said; “I have directed directors in the ministry to sit with the contractors and review it.

“I strongly believe that there is no way that the project will cost us more than three to four billion naira, and when a project is too expensive, and the budgeting process is very low, then contractors will remain on site for 10 to 15 years,” he said.

Some of the roads inspected included the Ozalla- Akpugo-Amangunze-Isu Onicha (Enugu-Onitsha) with a spur to Onunwere in Enugu State done by Arab Contractors and rehabilitation of Old Enugu- Onitsha road also done by Arab Contractors.

Others were the construction of the Nenwe-Nomeh-Mburubu -Nara road with a spur from Obeagu-Oduma road, Enugu State, Rehabilitation of Nsukka -Ikem, Eha Amufu – Nkalagu in Ebonyi State among others.

Umahi therefore commended the quality of work done on some of the roads in Enugu, adding that he stopped certain payments until contractors, and the ministry reviewed the existing contracts and additional works.

The former Ebonyi governor said he stopped payment of RCC and Arab Contractors until they all sit down to review the cost of the projects and methods of construction.

He also directed that the right-hand side of the Enugu-Onitsha expressway be done with concrete to save costs.

“I discovered something unprofessional where contractors put a binder course and leave it up to five to eight years, and within that period, the binder course fails.

“Henceforth, no contractor will leave the binder course for more than one month without covering it because the binder course admits water which affects subgrade.

“It is not healthy for contractors as they lose money for the equipment they are using to maintain the work,” he said.

Umahi further explained that Nigerian roads failed because of the bad asphalt placed on them as a result of adulterated bitumen imported into the country.