As a result of incessant road carnage and in a bid to fast-track the haphazard construction of the 149 kilometres Asaba/Ughelli road, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State has ordered the state Ministry of Works to terminate section C of the project and re-award the contract to a competent contractor.
Blank NEWS Online investigations have revealed that the contractors who handled the affected parts of the 149 kilometre road as Section A, is Wokson Nig. Limited and Section C awarded to ULO Construction Company, a building and structural firm which also constructed parts of the Asaba Airport and the failed Mariam Babangida Way in Asaba.
The plan by the state government to terminate the contract has however disproved earlier deceptive claims by the Commissioner, Directorate of Special Infrastructure, Barr. (Mrs) Orezi Esievo, who had alleged that “the contracting firm on Sector “C” still on the relegation stage of 20 percent, was already back on site.”
But fresh insight favourable to Esievo, says she has since reneged on her earlier position to defend ULO, following the angst of the legislature and majority of Deltans who suspect certain political deals between the contractors and leaders of the ruling party.
She is recently quoted to have also expressed government’s disappointment on the unnecessary delay and slow pace of work on the road as well as shortage of personnel and equipment on site, claiming that “The pace of work on sector A and C are very slow and you know Deltans expectations are high for this road and this administration of Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan has put all that it needed to do to make sure that the contractors deliver on time and as we talk the problem of funding has been taken care of as such the contractors must obey their own part of the obligation.”
Recall also that the Delta State House of Assembly, had during the 2013 budget defence by ministries and parastatals, directed the ministry supervising the dualization of the Asaba-Ughelli road project to recover the mobilisation fee paid to the contracting firm handling Sector “A” of the project for non-performance.
It was alleged that the firm had converted the mobilisation fee paid it by Delta State Government for equipment procurement but Blank NEWS Online source disclosed that the state Ministry of Justice was already processing the documents towards the recovery of the fee.
According to a project analyst based in Asaba, “the move by the Delta State Government is not strange as it had last year announced the commencement of the process of revoking the two sections of the Ughelli-Kwale-Asaba Road dualisation project, due to what it called zero tolerance for shoddy jobs. This step is long- awaited.”
The Governor who was on an unscheduled inspection of some projects in Oshimili South, Aniocha North, Ndokwa West, Ndokwa East, Isoko South, Ughelli South and other local government areas of the state, expressed sadness that there were no sign that the contractor handling the section C of Asaba/Ughelli dual carriage way was working.
He noted that the contract for section A of the road was terminated and re-awarded and expressed satisfaction with the pace of work currently going on in sections A and B. The contractor handling the sector ‘B’ of the road is Consolidated Contract Construction (CCC) Nigeria Limited.
“We have had a lot of challenges with the contractor in section A and section C,” the Governor said, adding, “we terminated the contract for section A and re-awarded it and we are happy with the progress of work on the project.”
He stated, “we have asked the Ministry of Works to terminate the contract for section C and re-award it to another contractor,” the Governor said, noting that though the terrain is difficult as “you will have to dig about 2.5 metres to excavate and then you have to fill with sharp sand and allow it to settle.”
Dr Uduaghan expressed hope that the road will be completed before the end of his tenure in 2015 assuring that the 10.7 kilometres Ashaka- Aboh road and 13 kilometres Ashaka/Aradhe road will be ready for commissioning in March this year.
While expressing satisfaction on the quality of work done on Ashaka/Aradhe road, the Governor said, “out of the 13 kilometres, 11 kilometres have been completed,” observing that the Ashaka- Aboh road is very important because it will not only make the ancient kingdom and local government headquarter accessible, it will also, provide good link road to the Delta State Polytechnic, Aboh which is under construction.
Governor Uduaghan also, inspected the progress of work at the Wild Life Park, Ogwashi-Uku and at Ughelli, Governor Uduaghan gave traders who turned part of a major street into a market 24 hours ultimatum or face the wrath of government.