Bombed UN building in Abuja
By Muhammad Bello
More than a year after the Boko Haram sect attacked the United Nations building in Abuja, the Federal Government, in fulfilment of its pledge, has awarded the contract for the re-building and rehabilitation of the structure to Julius Berger Nigeria Plc at the cost of N5.1 billion.
This was part of the outcome of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting chaired by Vice- President Namadi Sambo, Wednesday at the State House, Abuja.
The council also approved contracts for roads construction across the country, the purchase of a new air ambulance to facilitate the operations of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the construction of a new terminal building for Bayelsa Airport.
In all, the Federal Government approved the sum of N196.109 billion for all the projects it deliberated upon during the meeting.
The breakdown, in addition to the contract sum for the re-building of the UN building and the foreign currency content of the purchase of the air ambulance was put at $23.2 million, showing that road construction would gulp N178.2 billion, Bayelsa Airport Terminal to cost N14 billion, while the local currency content of the NEMA aircraft contract stood at N909.6 million.
Explaining the decision to reconstruct the UN building, Information Minister, Labaran Maku, flanked by his counterparts in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Niger Delta, the two Ministers of Works and the Director General of NEMA, Alhaji Muhammad Sani Sidi, said prior to this development, the Federal Government had facilitated the world body by providing its different departments with office accommodation in Abuja.
Similarly, the Minister of FCT, Alhaji Bala Muhammad, said the project, scheduled to be completed in 16 months, would afford the Federal Government the opportunity to redeem the pledge made by President Goodluck Jonathan, when the building was attacked on August 26, 2011.
The FEC also approved several road projects to be executed by the Ministry of Works, Mr. Mike Onolememen, told State house Correspondents that approval was given for the augmentation of the project cost of the Kano-Maiduguri expressway, which was awarded in 2006, from N172 billion to N285 billion.
According to him, FEC also gave the nod for the construction of four sections of the Obajana-Benin road at the sum of N65.2 billion.
The breakdown shows that each section of the road will gulp N11.6 billion. The sections are: Obajana-Okene, Okene-Auchi, Auchi-Ehor and Ehor-Benin City.
Apart from this, the rehabilitation of the section 2 of the Calabar-Ugep-Ogoja-Katsina-Ala road, was also augmented, while four contracts for the construction of federal roads and bridges in Taraba, Niger and Kano states were approved.
The council also gave the nod for the purchase of a brand new air ambulance branded Cessna Citation Sovereign Aircraft fully equipped and customized with emergency medical facilities for NEMA.
The aircraft, which is expected to be delivered in 32 weeks, is a long range aircraft covering 557 miles per hour, equipped with emergency facilities, spare parts and accessory for tools. The contract for it covers cost for insurance coverage, training of pilots, engineers and paramedics.
Also, the council approved for NEMA the purchase of seven excavators, a brand new low loader with tractor head, upgrade of existing CISCO VIOP infrastructure as well as the supply and installation of digital two-way radios at the agencies headquarters and zonal offices.