The reconstruction of the major roads in the South-West – Lagos-Sagamu, Lagos-Badagry, Sagamu-Ikorodu expressways – which began in 2010, involves a widening from four to 10 lanes for vehicles, and a new mass transit line that will operate in the median. Some of them will be completed in 2022, the House of Representatives Committee on Works has said.
Members of the committee have thus lauded the country’s leading infrastructure development partner, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, for what the lawmakers called a good work being executed by the company on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, which would be completed in May, 2022.
The committee members gave the commendation while on a tour of relevant federal capital projects as part of their oversight functions. To set the evaluative tone for the inspection visit, the House Committee Chairman, Abubakar Kabir, on arrival at the site, noted that the “Lagos-Ibadan road is the busiest road in West Africa.
This is section one of the entire length and Julius Berger is handling it. We hope the company is doing well and doing what is right because of pressure from the Executive and the National Assembly, we do not expect to hear any delay.”
Meanwhile, Hon. Kabir has pledged the commitment of the National Assembly towards adequate funding and completion of all road projects in Lagos before 2023.
According to Kabir, the state deserved more roads because of its importance to the economy of Nigeria and West Africa. He said the oversight was to address funding, technical and other issues affecting quality and fast road delivery in Lagos State.
“We are here to help President Buhari to complete all the major projects before the end of his tenure that is May 29, 2023. And as you know, Lagos is very important in Nigeria. It is the commercial and business nerve centre of the entire West Africa; Lagos is critical, Lagos is key,” he said.
He added that special attention was paid to Lagos roads because the state played host to the nation’s major ports, airports and other critical infrastructure, hence the need for more motorable roads.
Speaking on Phase 2 emergency rehabilitation of the Eko Bridge project, Kabir said the committee would ensure quality, durable construction on the bridge, adding that the contractor promised the repair would last 25 years when completed. Kabir said the committee was also able to secure the commitment of the contractor to speed up work on the expansion joints and other components.
On his part, the Director, Federal Highways, South West, Mr. Adedamola Kuti, said the delivery dates of all Lagos roads were sacrosanct. Kuti explained that the Apapa-Oshodi-Ojota- Oworonshoki Expressway reconstruction and rehabilitation project would be delivered this year, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway would be completed in 2022, adding that all other delivery dates would not change.
He assured that the Emergency repairs of the Eko Bridge (Phase 2) would begin from June 4 to August 13.
The Federal Controller of Works in Lagos State, Mr Olukayode Popoola, who gave a brief of the repairs on Eko Bridge, which included repairs of damaged expansion joints, piers and bearings, also gave technical details on the damaged airport flyover bridge, the Third Mainland Bridge, Dorman Long Bridge, Marine Beach Bridge, Apapa- Oshodi-Ojota-Oworonshoki and other projects visited.
Earlier, the committee had given the contractors handling the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway rehabilitation/reconstruction project May, 2022 ultimatum to complete both the road and bridges.
The lawmakers decried the delay in the completion of the project, which started in 2013 but promised to resolve the funding issues slowing it down. The committee insisted that the bridges added to the original road project in 2018 must also be completed by 2022.
Kabir said the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway was one of the projects funded through the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) and assured of increased funding. He also said the contractors had achieved significant progress to be able to meet the completion deadline because the Buhari administration was exploring various funding options to ensure adequate timely financing of the project.
“The contractors, the Director, Federal Highways, South West, have assured us of the timely completion of the project. “And the only challenge we have is the issue of compensations.
“We are going to discuss how we can assist the contractors and the Federal Ministry of Works to resolve the issues of compensations, relocation of services so that the contractors will finish the project before May 2022.
“We want President Buhari and the entire cabinet and the National Assembly to come here and celebrate with the people of Lagos and South West on this important project,” he said.
Adedamola Kuti, who explained to the lawmakers the reason for a flyover bridge located near Mountain of Fire Ministry, said the high population and vehicular movement around the axis required the transfer of traffic through the overpass for those going to various communities.
Kuti thanked Lagos and South West residents, as well as the entire citizens of Nigeria for their cooperation and understanding during the construction.
Recall that the committee had earlier threatened to revoke the contract for the Lagos-Badagry expressway, being handled by the CGC Nigeria Limited over what it described as lack of commitment and slow pace of work.
This was disclosed when the House of Representatives Committee visited the project as part of its five days inspection tour of projects in the South West. The committee members expressed disappointment that no staff of CGC was on site when they visited the project.
The lawmakers expressed displeasure over the alleged lack of commitment of the contractor and vowed to invite the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, and the contractor over the slow pace of work on the project. Kabir said it was heartbreaking that no single expatriate from CGC was on ground to receive the lawmakers to give explanations on construction works.
“I am highly disappointed with CGC, there is no way that members of the House of Representatives are here in Lagos and none of their expatriates is here. We have a project worth N63 billion, this is to show CGC is not taking this project seriously at all, this is number one.
“Secondly, the issue of the work we have seen here and the work on the paper, to me, this project is not commensurate with what has been paid,” he said. Kabir said no mathematical or scientific analysis could generate magical formulas to equate funding to actual construction visible and percentages of level of completion of the projects.
“And you said we have reached about 14.6 per cent completion, even on the average, you have only reached about four per cent and the money we have paid to them (CGC) now is about N6.7 billion.
“N2.2 billion 15 per cent mobilsation, N4.5 billion SUKUK money and that SUKUK money, I don’t understand, there is a problem,” he said. The chairman added that SUKUK funds were investors’ money and it is dangerous to allow inefficiency or mismanagement. He stressed that there is no commensurate construction on ground.
The lawmaker said it was dangerous for the progress of the nation to entrust projects into the hands of contractors who used COVID-19 as an excuse to stay away from the site.
“With this I have to call the minister to come to the National Assembly, the Director, Construction and Rehabilitation, Engineer Funsho Adebiyi, and CGC management to come and discuss. We need to discuss this thing critically and if the contract needs to be revoked and given to another contractor we will not hesitate to take action.
“Honestly, we are not here for joke, we are here to protect our citizens, we are here to protect taxpayers money, even the SUKUK you are claiming is people’s money, it is investors money and Nigerian government is going to pay for it in future at a higher rate,” he said.
Kabir explained that about 10 per cent of the contract sum had been paid and if CGC was not serious about the project, “let the government do something about this so that we can get some serious people