By Henry Ojelu
The Chairman of Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law, NBA-SPIDEL, Dr. Monday Ubani has drawn the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari to the abandoned Umuahia(Ikwuano)/Ikot-Ekpene road project.
In a letter dated October 1, 2021 and addressed to the president, Ubani said that the contractors of the project, Messrs Hartland Nigeria Limited/Raycon Company Nigeria Ltd, which were awarded in 2019 with a 48 month completion target, have since abandoned the project over alleged non-release of funds by the federal government.
A copy of the letter was also forwarded to Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, Senator T.A. Orji, Hon. Sam Onuigbo, House of Representative Member representing Ikwuano/Umuahia North/South Federal Constituency. Hon Sam Onuigbo is the member who attracted the project. He also copied the Director in Charge of the Road, Ministry of Works and Housing.
According to Ubani, many communities and travellers who use the Umuahia(Ikwuano)/Ikot Ekpene road now suffer untold hardship due to the deplorable condition of the road.
Appealing to the President to urgently cause funds to be released for the completion of the project, Ubani said: We do not want to believe that this present government awarded the road construction for the purpose of punishing the people.
“We appeal to Your Exellency to cause the release of funds for the continuation of the work of the contract on the said road and ensure a maximum supervision of the quality of work that is being carried out on that road that has socio-economic advantages to the entire nation.
“The people of Ikwuano in Abia has suffered enough concerning this road which every government has failed, refused and neglected to correct.
“We believe that your government will not join other governments that failed to fix this very important road that is critical to the survival of the indigenes of Ikwuano in Abia State.” This is a road that connects Abia to Akwa Ibom, Cross River State and as far as Cameroon in West Africa.
Ubani also raised concerns over the quality of jobs so far done by the contractor handling the project saying that is has been very poor.
He said: “The level and quality of work so far done on the Ikwuano axis of the project leaves a sour taste in the mouth. The little drainage work done at some of the places in Oboro in Ikwuano Local Government Area does not show that there is any good intention to do a thorough work that will surely stand the test of time and beneficial to the users of the road. The quality is not only below standard, it is utterly poor.”
Ubani also claimed that the real terms of the contract remains a source of concern and appealed to the President to compel the Ministry of Works to disclose the cost and scope of the project.
He said: Your Excellency, despite our joy for the award, some of us raised an initial alarm concerning the contract because of lack of specifics in the disclosure about the terms of the contract. The concerns were: Does the contract include construction, dualization or just mere rehabilitation?
“Why will such an important road be left without dualization and proper reconstruction that has good drainage system?
Ubani requested that the contractor be changed if it is found out from the initial work(the drainage system) done by them, manifests their incapacity to do a thorough job that will stand the test of time.
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