Senate Summons FCT Minister, Julius Berger Over Abuja Airport Road Project

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Former Chairman, Senate Committee on FCT

By Olusegun Emmanuel, Abuja.

Senate has summoned the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Mohammed and the firm handling lots one and two of the Airport Express Road, Messrs Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, over the state of the road.

The Minister and Julius Berger  are expected to appear before the Senate Committee on Federal Capital Territory(FCT) immediately the Upper chamber come back from easter break.

Chairman of the Committee,  Senator Smart Adeyemi, who was on oversight visit with members of the committee  expressed worries that in spite of the huge contract sum, the drainages were left open in the Capital city of Nigeria, thereby causing fatal accidents on daily basis.

It could be recalled that the contract, was categorized into lots 1 and 11 cost which was awarded at N49billion and N59.2 respectively was awarded in 2009.

While Lot 1 would be delivered in December 2014, Lot 11, which according to the Director, Engineering, Federal Capital Territory Administration, Engineer Abu Alfa, is 99.5per cent completed would be delivered this April.

On the open drainages, the engineer said the construction was based on 1991 drawing.

Adeyemi noted that though the qualty of work on the road was commendable, the contractor mdt device means of closing the draiages. He said the interface between the committee and other saeholders on the road contact would serve to fashion way forward.

He added that since the contract sum was huge and besides, contractors mare free use of raw materials, they should bear the exta cost of closing the drainage as part of their social corporate responsibilities.

“There is no city in the world where drainages are left opened; even in many states where you have projects, you are not doing open culverts; so, why in the FCT? This constitutes hazard, it is a death trap and we must sit down and talk on the likely solution.

“The total cost of construction is high,  yet, you extracted granite stone free. You must do something about it. If not, we will use our powers to compel you to do something.  It is very uncivilized.

“If this is the road design given to you, as you said it s 1991 drawing, it s obsolete and must be upgraded.

“I am not condemning the job, it is not bad. They have done a god job except for the open drainage. The summons will be around the first week of May. Whatever is to be done on the road must be done before completion of project, if not, we will withhold your payment.

“Laterite, granite and water were obtained free. You have not answered our query on these raw materials you took free. If you didn’t pay for granite here, then, you should be able to do so etching about these open culverts. We had our reservations about the cost but it is now history”, Adeyemi said.

Also speaking, Senator Nurudeen Abatemi-Usman, appraising the quality of job on the road sad:

“On the Airport expressway which is where we just looked at, there is a lot of appreciation of the work done but there is also a lot of room for improvement. Particular reference is the open drainage style which is turning out to be an un-intended death trap.

“Like you heard the Chairman said, we would want to meet with the relevant people who have authority over this design and see what we can do on behalf of the people of the nation. Something needs to be done and urgently too”.

In a related development, Senate has commenced consideration of the report of the Joint Committee on the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Finance on a Bill for an Act to establish the FCT Internal Revenue Board.

The Bill seeks, among other functions, to set up the FCT Internal Revenue Board for the collection and administration of revenue generated within Abuja.