The Hon. Minister of Works, Sen. Engr. Nweze David Umahi, has assured the host communities to the Bodo-Bonny Road & Bridge project in Rivers State that Federal Government under the Renewed Hope administration of President Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, would ensure the completion of the Bodo-Bonny Road and bridge project on record time.
The Honourable Minister gave this assurance during the courtesy visit of a delegation of Bodo–Bonny Road Peace Committee to his office at Federal Ministry of Works, Abuja on 5th December, 2023.
The Honourable Minister who described the project as a catalyst for economic revolution in the area stated that the project was awarded to Julius Berger Nigeria Plc by the previous administration and only about 84% of the project has been completed.
He noted that there was a partnership agreement in 2017 between Federal Government via Federal Ministry of Works and NLNG on modalities for the funding of the project. He wondered why the contractor; Julius Berger Nigeria PLC was no longer on site despite their commitment under their agreement to deliver within the revised date of completion.
He faulted the stand of Julius Berger PLC on variation of the project even when the company had signed a commitment to complete the project without asking for further variation. He maintained that “no equipment must be allowed to be moved out of site, they must complete that project as agreed and assigned and nothing has removed that responsibility which they willingly on their own signed. “I implore you the peace committee to report to me the progress that has been made on that road”
“Bobo-Bonny project was augmented to 199billion, I am told by the Ministry and NLNG Limited (NLNG) that there was a document signed by Julius Berger that the project cannot be varied which means that the project cost cannot be increased, the project is about 35 kilometres”
The Honourable Minister thanked the host communities for maintaining peace between them and the contractor handling the project despite the delays in handling the project and charged them to continue with their peaceful disposition to contractors handling projects in their area, noting that the Ministry would make sure that the Bobo-Bonny road project would be completed by April 2024.
“Nobody will hold this country to ransom, if they cannot do it, another person will come and do it and finish it even better but the only charge I give to you is not to allow any equipment out of sight untill they complete the project”
The Minister equally said the Federal Government will equally handle a coastal road in the area of even greater site challenges, and the cost would not be up to what Government is paying Julius Berger. “I respect them for their quality and commitment, but we shouldn’t be taking for granted” “it is a character of arrogance for them to demobilize from site.”
Earlier, on his remarks the Federal Director Bridges and Design Engr. O. O. Awosanya gave a brief history of the award and funding of the project by Julius Berger. He said the initial date of completion was supposed to be 31st December, 2023 and that the road consisted of 13 bridges “We have three main bridges and we have nine mini bridges and one bridge over the pipeline.
The project completion as of today is about 84% and the contractor has requested for a review which is against the spirit of the propagated agreement that was signed between the Federal Government, the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas and JB in 2021”
Delivering the mission statement of the delegation of the Bodo-Bonny Road Peace Committee, the Acting Chairman and leader of the delegation, Chief Dr. Charles John Jumbo thanked the President of Nigeria, His Excellency, Sen. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR for the massive intervention he is bringing to the road sub-sector and appreciated the efforts of the Ministry of Works in changing the narrative of the road infrastructure in Nigeria.
“We also take this opportunity to express our heartfelt gratitude to our dear President, His Excellency Ahmed Bola Tinubu, President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for appointing a distinguished Engineer and administrator of your calibre to oversee the crucial Federal Ministry of Works.
Your appointment has indeed sparked hope within us for the successful execution of various infrastructure projects within Nigeria, especially the Bodo-Bonny Road and Bridges Project.”
He said the delegation was in the Minister’s office to register their displeasure over the sudden demobilization from site and abandonment of the Bodo-Bonny Road and Bridge project by Julius Berger Plc despite the huge funds committed by the Federal Government through NLNG and implored the timeous intervention of Federal Government to avert the imminent hardship to be faced by the people of the area.
“We observed the seeming demobilization of the contractors, Messrs Julius Berger Nigeria Plc from the project site at about 80 per cent completion, leaving us deeply troubled as the Peace Committee and representatives of the communities directly imparted by the vital road network, we are apprehensive that the project’s discontinuation might result in yet another addition to catalogue of abandoned initiatives” He continued, “We earnestly implore your immediate attention and intervention in addressing the current state of the Bodo –Bonny Road Project. Our communities remain committed to fostering peace and progress and the successful completion of this project.