Contractors defy Niger Gov Bello’s directives to return to sites – Veloxnews

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From John Adams, MinnaContractors handling various roads projects across Niger state have defied the directives by the state governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello to return to the sites, saying that the directives of the governor does not have cash backing to enable them return to Site.The governor had during the presentation of the 2023 budget estimate, directed contractors handling various roads projects in the state go back to site since the rain was over.A number of critical roads are under construction within and outside the state capital, with some of the contracts awarded three years ago.These roads includes, Bunu –Genu road, Abbaitoir–Unguwan Biri, Former NYSC Secretariat – Masallaci Idi-Unguwan Daji roads, as well as Gogo Mailale road which are at advanced stages of completion.However contractors handling these roads have since abandoned sites, sighting lack of payment as their reason and therefore vowed not to return until they are paid.But the governor had also during the 2023 budget presentation before the House of Assembly, claimed to have expended well over N9billon in 2022 alone for the construction of some “critical roads” in the state.Hear him, “we expended over N9Billion for the construction and rehabilitation of several roads across the State. The Jubilee Road, Maje Junction to Kwamba and Suleja, Kontagora township roads, 10km Federal Highway towards Tegina road have been completed. Also, Old Alheri and Aliyu Babadoko roads, Lady of Fatima, Yusuf Kolawale and Dattijo Aliyu roads all in Tunga-Minna have been completed too”.In addition to these, the governor said “the Minna City Gate – Chanchaga Bridge, Garima –Gidan Kwanu, the Ibeto Close, Morris Junction- Fertilizer Company, Piggery and 4 other roads at London Street have all been completed”.The governor, while directing the contractors to go back to sites, said the Government is desirous of completing all the on-going road projects before the end of the administration, adding that “I therefore call on contractors to immediately mobilize back to site as the rains have receded”.Barely one month after the directives, the contractors have refused to return to sites, saying that they can not work with verbal directives without payment.Some of the contractors who spoke to our correspondent on the condition of anonymity said lack of payment forced them to vacate sites, claiming that the last time the government made any payment to them was 2021, and wondered what they will go back to Site to work with.“You can see that we have move some of our machines from the site because there is no payment. There is no way we can return to site without money, and again some of these works needs to be review due to high cost of materials in the market.“We heard of the governor’s directives but does it have cash backing. Nobody has given us any money since January this year, so how do you want us to go back to the site”, he queried.For instance, one of the most critical roads which its deplorable condition has remained a nightmare for motorists and attendant accidents, is the 83 kilometers Minna-Bida road which contract was awarded in April 2020 at the cost of 24.3billion with a completion period of 18 months.However with over two years since the award of the contract, only five percent of the work have been achieved and the contractor, Dantata and Sowoe have almost abandoned the site with only skeleton works going on at the moment.The Minna-Bida road has generated a lot of controversies in recent time over the source of funding for the project since it was awarded.While the government claimed that it has applied for $181million loan from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) to fund the road project, the state governor, in a leaked letter to the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, pleaded with the Federal Government to take over the road and included it among the critical roads intervention being handled by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation across the state.The Minna-Bida road, if completed, will remain the only legacy of this administration since it came to power 2015 but the people wondered if the project will ever see the light of the day with only six months remaining in the life of this administration, going by the pace of work.Only last month, the state House of Assembly expressly granted approval to the governor, to access N14billion loan from a commercial bank to enable the government fund “ongoing critical roads” in the state.



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