By Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi
The Minister of State for Works, Power and Housing,Â Alhaji Mustapha Shehuri,Â has said thatÂ the federal government is constructing quality and affordable houses for Nigerians across the country under its National Housing Programme as part of its commitment to bridge the housing deficit in the country.
Similarly, the minister also stated thatÂ the federal government has renewed its commitment to the construction of new roads and the maintenance of existing road infrastructure across the country towards boosting economic activities and eliminate carnage on the roads.
The minister, who spokeÂ TuesdayÂ while inspecting 80 units of the houses being constructed in Bauchi State, saidÂ that the federal government’s housing programme would empower the people, develop indigenous capacity in housing delivery, provide decent accommodation for Nigerians and create millions of jobs across the country.
Shehuri explainedÂ that 20 indigenous contractors were working on the building construction site in the state, reiterating that the programme would “empower the people, develop indigenous capacity in housing delivery, provide decent accommodation for Nigerians and create millions of jobs across the country”.
The Federal Controller of Works/Engineers, Bauchi State, Mr. Charles C. Ezike, said the houses consisting of one, two and three bedroom bungalows are at different completion stages.
Mr. Mohammed Adamu, the Federal Controller in charge of Housing in the ministry, said the various housing projects nationwide would assist the youths to be gainfully engaged and empower local traders where the building materials were sourced.
According to him, “Each contractor is handling two blocks(four housing units), and in addition to the building works, there are three contractors handling infrastructure works, these are the roads, and drainages, external electrification and water supply.”
The minister, who also inspected the construction of Burga-Dull-Mbatt-Tandum-
Gobbiya-Badagari-Gwarangar-Sum road as well as the construction of Ningi -Yadangungume-Fuskar Mata road phase III,Â stated thatÂ the federal government has renewed its commitment to the construction of new roads and the maintenance of existing road infrastructure across the country to boost economic activities and reduce carnage on Nigeria roads .
He explained that the projects were part of the infrastructural development plan designed in respect of President Muhammadu Buhariâ€™s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), stressing thatÂ the importance of roads to the economic development cannot be over-emphasised.
He commended the contractors (Triacta Nigeria Limited) for the quality of work done so far, and urged them not to compromise standard.
Briefing the minister at the project sites earlier, the Federal Controller of works, Bauchi State, Ezike, said: “The quality of work executed is good, and with adequate funding, the contractor has the capacity to complete the work within the contract period.”
Meanwhile, Shehuri has summoned the contractor handling the rehabilitation work on Bauchi-Gombe road, Enerco Nigeria Ltd., over poor performance.
Shehuri gave the order in Bauchi during an inspection of ongoing federal government projects in the North-east expressed dissatisfaction over the slow pace of work on the project, adding that Nigerians were becoming impatient with unserious contractors.
According to him, â€œWe have visited other construction sites in the state before we arrived here. While I am satisfied with the level of work by other contractors, I am disappointed with the pace of work here.
â€œI have summoned the contractor to come over to Abuja to sort out issues because if they are not ready for business they should let us know.
â€œNigerians are becoming very impatient. They need this project because apart from the road, we are also interested in the employment content and other benefits that will come with it.â€
Ezike, the Federal Controller of Works, Bauchi State, said that the 81.5 kilometres rehabilitation road project was awarded in 2017 with a completion period of 24 months.
He said that the contractor was adequately mobilised and had achieved 1.88 per cent completion after 49.72 per cent time lapse.
â€œThis to us is a dismal performance because when the contractor primed the first stone base section, they were unable to cover it with asphalt.
â€œThis resulted to deterioration on the surface that we are witnessing and the reason is that the contractorâ€™s asphalt plant is not in working condition.
â€œThey have been battling to fix it and I have severally advised that if their own cannot function well that they should buy asphalt from other company,â€ he said.
Mr. Jamil Nasser, the Project Manager, Enerco Nigeria Ltd, blamed the delay in the project on the bad state of the companyâ€™s asphalt plant.
He said efforts were being made by the management to change the plant and pledged that the new plant would be ready for work within days.