Minister of Niger Delta Ministry, Mr. Godsday Orubebe
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Ahmed Lawal, Wednesday grilled the Minister of Niger Delta Ministry, Mr. Godsday Orubebe, and the Chief Technical Director of Setraco Construction Company, Mr. R. Chamdurai, one of the contractors handling the East-West road over the increment for the two different sections of the road.
The contract sum was initially N64 billion to N112 billion and another section of the road was awarded from N77 billion to N133 billion.
Lawal spoke during the 2013 budget defence by Dr. Christopher Kolade, led Committee on Subsidy Reinvestment Programme (SURE-P).
The minister, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr. Mohammed Bashir, stated that he could not give much details on the contract revision because he was barely few months old in the ministry, adding that the Director Engineering and Project, who was absent at the meeting would done the explanation better.
He stated that the contract for the road was awarded in 2006 using baseline studies because of the upsurge of militancy in the region at that time.
He said: “The initiation for the contract revision was made by the contractor after a new design. The ministry then made recommendation to government for approval of the upward revision.”
While defending the 100 percent upward review of the contractual sum for the two sections from N64 billion to N112billion and N77 billion to N133 billion, Chamdurai said the necessity for the review of the project design became expedient when it was discovered in the new design that the entire road fell into a swampy topography.
According to him, the intervention of SURE-P through its intervention by making available some funds has brought work to almost 60 per cent completion.
In his remarks, Senator Abdullahi Ningi, stated that it is the East-West Road has become an embarrassment to the nation, adding that is unfortunate that despite all financial support from both the Ministry and SURE-P the progress so far is unjustifiable and worrisome.
He added: “Who is the even technical consultant to the Ministry and what effort has he made to change the face of work on that road from 2006 till date.”
Also contributing, Senator Solomon Ewuga, said he was disappointed that after six years, there was nothing to write home about on the road.
Speaking earlier during presentation of the committee’s activities and operations, Kolade urged the lawmakers to appreciate the work SURE-P was embarking on as an interventionist agency.
He added that the N2.2 billion reported by some section media as expenditure on the secretariat is not true as only N325 million had been expended by the committee in running the office since it was inaugurated.
He said: “SURE-P is here to make a lot of difference in the lives of Nigerians. I want Nigerians to have trust and confidence that government is able to deliver on its promise.”