Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Works, Abubakar Bichi and multinational construction company, Julius Berger, are at loggerheads over the status and pace of work on the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Road.
Bichi expressed displeasure on the slow pace of work at a public hearing convened by the committee in Abuja.
In his response, Managing Director of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Dr. Lars Richter, explained that all things being equal, the company is “working on schedule, meeting and exceeding planned construction milestones and focused on delivering the project as contracted.”
On the Abuja-Kano Road project, Dr. Richter submitted that all requisite human and technical resources, even new technologies, have been mobilised and deployed along the whole length of the project corridor to ensure successful completion of the works as duly contracted.
Regardless, the Works committee chairman subsequently led his colleagues on site visits to some of the ongoing road works in the North-west geo-political zone, including the Abuja-Kano Road project.
Bichi was later quoted that, out of N155 billion, being cost for the Kano-Abuja Road, N70 billion has been released to Julius Berger, and that from Abuja to Kaduna, which is 165 kilometres, only 10 kilometers of work has been done.
Bichi also said that of the 75 kilometres project section from Kaduna to Zaria only 6kms of work has been completed; and in the 157 kilometres from Zaria to Kano, only about less than 20 kilometres has been completed; meaning that only about 10 percent of the works have been implemented.
The contractor, however, told the committee at the public hearing that work had progressed to 49 per cent and stressed that the onus of proof that only 10 percent of work had been done rested on the person(s) making the assertion.