From Aidoghie Paulinus, Onitsha/Awka
The Federal Government yesterday gave a marching order to the contractor handling the construction of the late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe Mausoleum in Onitsha, Anambra State. Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, gave the order when he inspected the Zik Mausoleum at the Zik’s Roundabout, Onitsha. Fashola said the contract has to be completed in October 2018, adding that failure to complete it would make him to personally remove the contractor from the site. The minister repeated the order during a courtesy visit to the governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, at the Government House in Awka. The contract being handled by Bouygues Construction Nigeria Limited, according to Fashola, was awarded in 2012 by the Goodluck Jonathan administration. But some media reports indicated that the mausoleum was awarded 22 years ago (1996) during the burial of the Owelle of Onitsha and first Nigerian President.
“I have to do some history here. That mausoleum was not awarded under this administration. It was awarded, I mean in 2012, by the previous administration.
“It was awarded at a time that oil was trading for $100 per barrel and the reason the contractor left the site was because he wasn’t paid. “At a time oil is trading for less, the Buhari government says it would finish it. Hold me to it, we will finish it.
“All of the certificates submitted by the contractor have been paid, so we are not owing the contractor.
“Between 2012 and now, the cost of items have varied, so the contractor refused to go back because the cost has changed.
“We have approved those cost variations, so contractor has no excuse not to deliver. That is why I told Engr Ameh, I think that is his name, that I met at the site today, that if he does not deliver by the end of October, I will personally come to remove him from the site,” Fashola said. He added that the Buhari government does not make promises unless it has clear intention to deliver them.
Earlier, Fashola inspected the Second Niger Bridge and said that the Federal Government has devised a strategy to sustain the funding of the ongoing work.
He said the link road of the Second Niger Bridge was yet to be awarded and was awaiting approval. “We still have not awarded the link road. Please wait until when we get approval for the link road. “We have finished the design, we are going through procurement for cost and everything.
“All I can say is that there is a commitment to fund this bridge and I am sure Mr President will be announcing that himself,” he said. Speaking earlier, Governor Obiano disclosed that the issues discussed during his closed-door meeting with Fashola, included the Second Niger Bridge, Umunya axis of the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway and refund of about N50 billion being owed the state by the Federal Government in the area of road works.
According to Obiano, other issues discussed included the super interchange work by Revenue House, Awka, to be embarked upon to ease traffic and reduce accident; and what should be done differently at the Regina Caeli Junction.
“So, I am very happy about this visit. It is very encouraging. He personally reassured me that this time around, it is going to be different and those things will work,” Obiano said.