Work Minister, Dave Umahi has directed that the reconstruction work along the Eleme-Onne portion of the East-West Road in Rivers State has been immediately suspended by the federal government.
This Nigeria news platform understands that in an interview with reporters on Sunday in Port Harcourt, the Minister of Works, David Umahi, disclosed that the suspension directive was issued following the discovery that the contractor managing the project used inferior materials.
He expressed disappointment over the poor progress of construction despite the government having paid an advance of N33 billion, even though he mentioned that he had viewed the work the day before (Saturday).
The Minister clarified that the work must cease until some anomalies related to the project are fixed, stating that the contractors’ current rate of work will not allow the job to be finished in five years.
The minister said, “The project must benefit the people. The rainy season is coming in two months and the people will go ahead suffering.
“You have our (FB) N33 billion. Do you know what the interest rate is every month on the bill?
“The President had to order me in September to come here and order the payment because some people in Rivers State went to see the President and we paid you N33 billion, since that time till now.
“I saw that the sand they are using is not river sharp. What we paid for is river sharp sand.
“I’m not satisfied. The idea is that when you place the lumps, the lump would be good. But when you place the sharp sand there are some voids between the lumps.
“And so the sand will go and fill it and it becomes a compact monolithic pavement structure. When I saw that sand I wasn’t happy.
“And I took that sand and put it on my palm and poured water and I was squizzing it, and at the end of the day, there was nothing left.
“That confirmed that it was very clear. So I directed that the company should be written and they should ensure that they remove the sand.
“I was very shocked that instead of removing the sand they had continued with the sand.
“The contractor is carrying out the job, but at snail speed. If we allow him even another five years he will not finish So we are not going to allow him.”
To guarantee the project is finished, he added, a meeting with the contractor has been set up to examine the irregularities. Following that, the mistakes will be examined and a revised schedule will be provided.