The Federal Government of Nigeria has extended the period given to the contractors to complete work on the on-going Arochukwu – Ohafia Road Project by one year. The project awarded in November 2012 has progressed at snail speed.
Under the extension granted by the Federal Ministry of Works on the 5th of December, last year, the project is now expected to end on the 6th of October 2015. The extension of the contract by another full calendar year followed the failure of the contractors handling the project, a Niger Delta Based inexperienced company Beks – Kimse Nigeria Ltd, to complete the work within the 24 months validity period of the contract.
Aro News has reported that during the last two years, the company was only able to deliver about two kilometers out 27 kilometers that represent the scope of the contract. When Aro News visited the site, early 2015, it was confirmed that the project is still at snail speed between Barracks and Agbagwu. Besides, the type of very old dilapidated equipments displayed on site, the quality and mindset of the few “frustrated” workers on site do not inspire any hope at all of any seriousness by the contractor to do anything different even in the next one year.
All efforts made by Aro News to speak with the workers on site on the future of the project yielded no dividend, as our correspondent was directed to Port Harcourt, where the workers claimed that the company has its Headquarters. The workers approached were also not ready to disclose the specific address of the company in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Aro News findings revealed that the with the extension of the contract, the scope of the project have been reduced from 27 to 16 kilometers. Although this revelation could not be immediately confirmed, inside sources claimed that the remaining part of the work would be awarded to the company if it completes the 16 kilometers within the new deadline of 6th October this year.
Our correspondent also gathered that the total cost of the project now stands at N2.2 billion naira out of which only N300 million was said to have been paid to the contractor so far. It was also further disclosed that Beks Kimse Nigeria Ltd will only be eligible for any payment if the company raises a certificate of execution of at least 5% of the volume of the total cost of the project which represents about one kilometer of job done. However, from our findings, the company has demonstrated no capacity to meet this condition set by the Federal Ministry of Works resulting in a situation where the funds allocated to the projects may have elapsed, thereby creating the more complex problem of funding.
It could be recalled that as a result of the poor performance of the contractors, the frustration, pain and anguish which Aros are exposed to as a result of poor state of the road, the EzeAro, Mazi Ogbonnaya Okoro, CFR was compelled to write a formal petition to President Goodluck Jonathan requesting for urgent Presidential Intervention to save Aro from being cut off from the rest of Nigeria. Copies of the Petition were also sent to the Minister of Works and Members of the National Assembly.
Aros believe that there is need to fast track the construction process during the dry season, failure which the coming of another rainy season could be a perfect excuse by the contractor not to complete the project on schedule.