The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has engaged several contractors who are currently carrying out emergency repairs at 194 locations in major roads across the Niger Delta region.
The Acting Managing Director of the Commission, Mrs Ibim Semenitari, told members of the Senate Committee on the Niger Delta that the deplorable state of the roads made it imperative to take urgent action to reduce the sufferings of road users and save the economy of many states in the region. The Senate Committee, led by its chairman, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, was on a two-day inspection of NDDC projects in Cross River State.
A list of the projects produced by the NDDC Directorate of Utility, Infrastructural Development and Waterways showed the spread of the massive intervention in the nine mandate states of the Commission.
The document, shows that the Commission was working on 18 roads in Abia State, 32 in Akwa Ibom, 14 in Bayelsa and 4 in Cross River, including the Calabar-Itu-Ikot-Ekpene-Aba Federal Highway. The other roads covered in the emergency intervention are 26 in Delta, 8 in Edo, 22 in Imo, 6 in Ondo and 64 in Rivers State.
While inspecting the on-going repairs at the Calabar-Itu Road along with the Senators, Mrs Semenitari explained that the intervention on the road had helped to check its deterioration and reduced the suffering of thousands of people commuting to Cross River State from other parts of the country.
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer noted that the work on Calabar-Itu Road covered about 75 kilometres and was awarded to four different contractors to expedite restoration work at the bad sections. According to her, section one covered Ekim Junction to Itu Bridge, while section two starts from Itu Bridge to Okuruikang Junction. She said that the third section stretched from Okuruikang Junction to Odukpani Junction while section four covered Odukpani Junction to Tinapa Junction inCalabar.
SenatorNwaoboshi commended the NDDC for undertaking the emergency repairs across the region. He said: “The emergency repairs are very good. It is a new idea so in budgeting next year, we will make provision in the budget for emergency repairs because people are disturbed about the poor conditions of our roads. As the chairman of the Senate Committee, I will insist on making provisions for emergency repairs, not only for roads but for schools and hospitals.
“We are impressed by the innovations introduced by the Acting MD of NDDC. One thing is that we keep learning every day. So, next year when we look at the budget, I will be the first person to remind the MD that he must make provisions for emergency repairs.”
The Senators also inspected the 15-kilometre Adiabo-Eseku Road in Odukpani Local Government Area, They expressed dissatisfaction with the performance of the contractor and charged the NDDC to take appropriate action to get the project on track.
Senator Nwaoboshi charged the NDDC legal department to be alive to its responsibilities. He added: ”We are not happy with your legal department. Why should a contractor, who has been mobilised, failed to do the job and nothing happened?”
The NDDC director of the Cross River State office, Arch Alex Okenwa, explained that the Adiabo-Eseku Road was abandoned by the Federal Ministry of Works in 1998, adding that the NDDC intervened because of its importance as an alternative bypass from Odukpani to Calabar.
He said the contractor had collected about N1.56 billion out of the contract sum of N4.3 billion. He stated that the contractor had only covered 4.1 kilometres of the road before abandoning it.
The Senate Committee also inspected the NDDC hostel projects at the Cross River State University of Science and Technology, CRUTECH, where the NDDC director informed them that some finishing works needed to be done before it could be handed over to the university.
The situation at the University of Calabar was different as the Senators were disappointed to learn that the contractor left the site several years ago without achieving much. Senator Nwaoboshi re-stated his call on the NDDC legal department to do its job by bringing delinquent contractors to book.