Okon Bassey in Uyo
More facts have emerged as to the cause of the delay for the completion of the controversial 25kilometer Uyo-Ikot Ekpene road the immediate past state administration awarded 2011 at the cost of over N71 billion.
While the immediate past administration publicised that the road was done up to 18 kilometers remaining only three kilometres for its completion, the current state administration strongly disputed the claim.
The Akwa Ibom State Government said the clarification became necessary following the claim by the then Governor, Godswill Akpabio that Governor Udom Emmanuel’s administration abandoned works on the road.
Works on the dual carriage road that links the state capital, Uyo with the neighbouring Abia and Imo States through Ikot Ekpene local government area is still on-going eight years after the contract was awarded and large chunk of the money paid.
The State Commissioner for Works, Akparawa Ephraim Inyang-Eyen in an interview with reporters in Uyo, said it was totally untrue for Senator Akpabio to claim that his administration completed 18 kilometres of the 25 kilometres road before leaving office.
He explained that the contract for the construction of the road was awarded to Julius Berger in 2011 at initial cost of N28, 364,575, 803.22, but on September 12, 2013, when the actual work started it was again reviewed upwards by the sum of N23, 516,228,339.00 billion.
“Again, there is what they call additional works; the contract was reviewed again on the 25th of September, 2014 with the sum of N19, 448,373,217. 67 bringing the total value to N71, 359, 177, 114.59” he said
Inyang-Eyen noted that, “the bulk of this money had been released,” and without 50 per cent of the works achieved as the road was hurriedly commissioned in the early month of May 2015 before the exit of then Governor.
“I want to, for emphasis, say that the structure that stood at Ikpe Annang that you turn to go to Essien Udim is at kilometer 15 and that building never went down until February, 2017 that this government of Governor Udom Emmanuel sourced money about N141million and paid the owner of that property to take down that property. So it is not possible for the previous government to have gotten to kilometer 18,” he stressed.
The commissioner maintained that the contract did not even take into consideration the flood, the outfall drains that were supposed to have been done on the road.
“It is this administration of Governor Emmanuel that is coming up to consider constructing drains because all the communities on that road are having flood situations.
“We are considering how to now do the outfall drains so my question would be if you say this road was abandoned at N71billion and in three years it was supposed to have been finished in December 2014 and with two monetary revisions, why was it not completed? Where did the money go to? These are very simple questions.
“The only challenge we have on that road that kept that road was that we didn’t meet any money that we were supposed to use to pay compensation.
“And these facts have to be given to the public with figures and dates because you cannot deny truth; it has to be brought out and I have chosen as having the responsibility for that construction infrastructure to bring out these details and I am determined to bring out the details of other such awards when the need arises.