Federal Govt adds another N8.6bn to the cost of rehabilitating the dilapidated Enugu-Onitsha Highway project inherited from the Jonathan Administration.
Works Minister Babatunde Fashola said yesterday, 17 March, that government has detached a 22-kilometer stretch for re-award.
The cost of the new section was reviewed to N8.6bn and awarded to Niger Construction he said,.
The highway construction review took place at a meeting of the Federal Executive Council yesterday in Abuja, he said.
Niger Construction with operational headquarters in Warri, Delta State, is Nigerian subsidiary of the Middle East C.A.T. Group.
Fashola said the new contract for the 22-kilometer section will fast-track completion of the Enugu-Onitsha highway project.
The Minister did not however name the section of the road that was awarded to the new company.
The Jonathan Administration first awarded a contract to rehabilitate the Enugu-Onitsha highway in 2012 at a cost of N10.3bn.
The Buhari Administration formally took it over on 15 August 2018 but revised the contract sum upwards to N15.7bn, a 52 percent increase.
The increase, Fashola said at the time, was to pay for erosion control and drains along the highway.
The Minister blamed the Jonathan Administration for its “lack of appropriate budgeting and funding” which stalled the project.
He thereafter gave the contractor 42 months to deliver on the job.
In August 2020, the Anambra House of Assembly confirmed that the Umunya-Awkuzu section of the expressway had been completed.
The contractor, they said, “embarked on the Amawbia-Awkuzu section and was doing well at a very good pace until the (Covid-19) lockdown.”
On 11 March 2020, the Federal Government detached the Enugu-9th Mile section from the contract and awarded it to the same contractor for N29.4billion.
With this latest award, Enugu Metro calculates that total cost has increased five-fold since the original contract was awarded in 2012.
The exact contract sum is not public as the Ministry does not publish comprehensive records of contracts on its website.