Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, weekend, read the riot act to contractors handling the construction of the Benin/Auchi/Okene highway, saying they have no reasons not to deliver on scheduledtime.
Fashola, who went tough while on an inspection of ongoing Federal Government projects in Edo State, threatened that contractors handling the various sections of the roads, who failed to execute their projects would be dealt with accordingly, adding they have all been paid.
“I have said here that we have paid all the contractors, so no contractor has the excuse to delay his work. Contractors who do not perform, we have our remedies and we will pursue our remedies.
“What is important to understand is that they have worked in the first 47 kilometers. From there, we have another contractor and beyond that, we have another contractor until the roads end, because our roads are long.
“We will try as much as possible to break the work between different contractors. I think we have Dantata Asawo on the other section, we have also Mother Cat at the other section. All of them have received money under the Suku, so they will be on their sites,” he said.
The Minister said when the roads are completed, they would be of more economic value to Nigerians plying the routes, adding that that was the reason, President Muhammadu Buhari in his New Year media broadcast, said he was going to commit more resources to the infrastructural development of the nation to improving the lifestyle of its citizenry.
“This is what Mr. President is committed to in his January 1st address that you will see this government busy with infrastructure, trying to lay a critical foundation that will really lead to economic rebirth and growth and it is infrastructure that does it.
“This is what will determine how much fuel you burn, how much time you waste on bad roads and how that affect the cost of goods and services, including foods.
“As this road moves, we expect shorter journey time, we expect to see more fuel efficiently used, that is money being saved in commuters’ pockets, so we expect to see more competitive food prices and services. That is our economic journey we will deliver,” he said.
He therefore urged the contractor handling the Ehor axis of the road and others to increase the pace of their work and also ensure that whether rain or sunshine, the roads are motorable.
“It is a 47-kilometer road, starting from around Ramart Square inside Benin City. They have finished about 15 or there about kilometres already and now in use. The remaining will be concluded sometime late this year.
“But what is important now is that, I have extracted the commitment from the contractor and we are going to bring him again to make that commitment for the people who use this road to connect Kogi, to Lokoja that whatever time of the year, whether it rains or there is sunshine, the road will be motorable,” he said.
Responding, the Chief Engineer of RCC, Nabeel Esawi, assured the Minister that they are working assiduously to make the road motorable all through the seasons.
“By the grace of God, we will ensure our section, section 4 from here to Ehor will be motorable during the rainy season and the dry season.
“All the time, we are working here so that the road will be motorable for all Nigerians to pass safely and freely,” he said.