Billy Graham Abel, Yola
The senator representing northern Adamawa, Ishaku Abbo, has expressed displeasure over shoddy the implementation of three bridges linking northern Adamawa and Borno State to the country, three years after the project was awarded and about N2.2 billion was released.
Abbo, arising from a critical meeting with the Minister of Works on Friday, made an on-the-spot assessment over the weekend of the three bridges of Kurzum, Dilchin and Wurongayandi in Michika and Madagali, and fumed over what he described as a perpetual state of disrepair that has cost the people of his constituency unbreakable losses since 2014.
The Senator, who frowned at the slow pace of work done, has together with the contractor set a new timeline of 31st December as the date for some specific noticeable level of progress on the bridges to be seen, and has called on the Federal Government to expedite the release of funds for the work in order to deliver the people of the zone from the negative impact of the Boko Haram insurgency that continues to linger with the bridges still down.
Senator Abbo made this known over the weekend while on an assessment tour of the bridges in Michika and Madagali.
“Let me lay the background to this project: this work was awarded in 2017 and, as we are all witnesses today, no appreciable progress has been made in the implementation; and let me say this specifically, this is not a personal project, it is a Federal Government project for work on roads that connect a larger part of the northeast, the northern part of Adamawa, Maiduguri and linking up to Cameroun,” the Senator said.
“After about three years, nothing has been done.
“This road has been trailed with a lot of petitions demanding for the revocation of the contract and awarded to another contractor and specifically to the army engineering corps.
“The Ministry of Works swung into action, giving the contractor a 14-day notice of revocation of contract according to the law, and the contractor replied asking for mercies and told the federal government to give them three months to justify their competence.
“As a result of which they came up with this time table of some specific plan of action on the three bridges at Kurzum, Dilchin and Wurongayandi on what they intended to deliver by 31st December, 2019.”
Abbo said, “I have seen the level of work today and, compared to how it was in August, there has been some progress but a slow one.
“If they are to meet their target, they would have to hire more staff and more equipment because after this three months of grace, we will not agree to any extension because enough is enough.
“Our people have suffered enough and it is not okey that after collecting N2.2 billion from the Federal Government that this is the only work they did.
“We are not sadists and we derive no joy from revoking anyone’s contract, but I will personally sponsor a motion to revoke this contract if they fail to deliver as promised.
“I have met with the Minister of Works, Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Director of Highways and the Comptroller of Works for Adamawa. They told me that they have finished the assessment on the work but I have to come here and see it myself because I have to see it to believe.
“The contract was revoked but the contractor has asked for grace to demonstrate his competence and that is what has been given. We will wait till that time, if he cannot deliver then I will personally raise a motion at the National Assembly and have this contract revoked and handed over to another contractor.”
A resident of Michika, Sini Kwagga, lamenting the pace of work, said: “These bridges have been giving us a tough time, we are cut off from Yola especially during raining season.
“I have been passing this road everyday and this people have not been on ground, and even this afternoon they were not here until thirty minutes ago when they heard that the Senator was coming that they mobilised.
“We want the Federal Government to revoke the contract and hand it over to a competent contractor.”
Speaking at the work site, the site engineer, Ghais Saddimme, explaining the challenges faced by his company, said: “We are here and we have all the necessary facilities to deliver on the job.
“By end of December, the Senator and the Ministry of Works will be happy with our level of performance.
“We had challenges but that is now behind us. It took the Federal Government two years to make the advance payment for the work and fourteen months to approve the working drawings to start work on the bridges, and we did not have the approval to start works on the roads and, as a contractor, I follow instructions.
“From the arrangements we had, what is left now is work, unfortunately we could not make much progress because of the rains
“The raining season has been challenging, even now there are still some water level but very soon we will resume work and do exactly and as we agreed.”
Daily Sun gathered that though the work has been slow in implementation, the Federal Government has not done credibly well as it has released only 15% of the total sum of the N14 billion for the contract.