From John Adams, Minna
Niger State Governor Abubakar Sani Bello has directed that all ongoing projects on roads, bridges and culverts connecting riverine communities across the state must be completed before the commencement of the raining season.
The governor appealed to contractors handling various township roads projects to speed up works and ensure their completion before the rain starts, and ordered the state Commissioner for Finance to make funds available.
The governor gave the directive on Monday when he inspected some ongoing roads, bridges and culverts projects across some communities in Suleja and Gurara local government areas of the state.
The governor’s first port of call was the five kilometre road rehabilitation at Kwamba, Suleja Local Government Area, where he expressed satisfaction with the progress of work and urged the contractor to ensure the project is completed within the stipulated time.
The governor explained that, though the five kilometre Maje-Kwamba road is a federal road, the people of the state are the first beneficiaries, adding that the bad condition of the road has been a source of concern to the state government.
He said the state government decided to fix the road to reduce difficulty faced by road users and allow free flow of traffic.
The governor then moved to Burum community in Izom District, Gurara Local Government Area, where he inspected the ongoing construction work on a 100 meters bridge, linking about 30 communities with Gawu Babangida, the local government headquarters where he expressed reservation over the delay in completing the project which contract was awarded since 2017.
The contract for the construction of the bridge was awarded in 2017 at the cost of N30 million by the present administration following outcry from these communities that they have been cutoff from township due to the absence of a bridge with the movement of agricultural produce to the markets and other commercial activities remained a nightmare.
The governor was told by the contractor handling the bridge project, Alhaji Mohammed Ismaila Danbaba, that the delay in completing the work was due to lack of funds.
It was at this point that the governor directed the Commissioner for Finance, also in the governor’s entourage, to immediately release funds to enable the contractor complete the projects.
He assured the contractor that funds will be made available this week for quick completion of the bridge before the rain starts, stressing that ‘the bridge must be completed because it socio-economic importance to the lives of the people.
‘You can see that the delay due to lack of payments will now cost the government double of the initial contract sum. The river has expanded it, If the project was completed on time I don’t think we will spend more than we budgeted for.
‘Now it will cost us more than we initially planned, we must complete it this year because it is a priority project. The contactor is on site and has assured me that, with the required funding, within the next two weeks there will be progress here,’ he said.
The governor appealed to the people of the communities to desist from illegal mining, saying that this has been largely responsible to the growing Insecurity in parts of the state, including environmental and health hazards.
The Magajin Garin Ijah, one of the communities cut off due to the absence of the bridge, Alhaji Musa Suleiman Ijah, told the governor that the people have been experiencing difficulty in the movement of good and services to the market, stressing that a number of lives have been lost trying to cross the water especially during raining seasons.
He thanked the governor for his determination to complete the project as it will ease the hardship being faced by the people which has affected them both socially and economically.