The federal government has refuted some reports on social media that the contract for the ongoing Abuja-Kaduna-Kano road, costs a whopping N1.2, calling for a probe of the role of the ministry of works and housing on the project.
However, in response to THISDAY enquiries, the ministry noted that there was no truth in the rumours, stating that the contract sum was N155.47, out of which N86.9 billion had been paid the contractors.
The online report had alleged in what it described as the, “biggest scandal in Nigeria’s history”, that the road remains the most expensive repairs in the world, saying that it was not a new project and was cited on a plain landscape which made the project cost even more unreasonable.
It had further alleged that a kilometre of the road costs N2.3 billion, that it has only two lanes and has no bridges or culvert, stressing that N350 had already been expended on it and won’t be completed until 2027.
However, Special Adviser, Media, to the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Hakeem Bello, in reply to questions on the project, sent a breakdown of the cost of the project which he said was confirmed by the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).
He indicated that the project cost was not anywhere near N1.2 trillion as rumoured by the largely faceless online group.
In the response tagged: “Current Payment Status on Abuja-Kaduna-Kano Road”, he said, “contract Sum: N155, 470,626,078.07k, Project length: 376km Dual (total 752km), Total payments to date : N86,906,440,379.32. Confirmation received from the NSIA”.
Earlier , the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), had on the ministry’s official Instagram page, reiterated the commitment of the federal government to completing the reconstruction of the dual carriageway.
Fashola had said: “Mr. President is more passionate and concerned about finishing this road and many others before his constitutional term ends.”
He also said the objective of the town hall meeting was to expose the realities and explain the challenges involved in the construction of the road.
On why it was taking too long to complete the project, the minister explained that one of the reasons why work could not commence early on the road was as a result of the request made by some members of the national assembly to expand the road from two lanes to three lanes.
“Shortly after we flagged off the road, we received a letter from the senators in the national assembly asking the federal government to expand the road from two lanes to three lanes.
“That was not from us, it was from the national assembly, the senators and they wrote to the president and copied my ministry,” he explained.
He stated that based on the directive from the presidency to undertake the expansion, the ministry needed to redesign an expansion to accommodate about 40 different bridges on the road to align with the lanes.
“So if they are going to expand from two to three lanes, a new design needed to be created. The process for doing that required us to hire a design consultant. We had to follow the procurement process established by the national assembly,” he said
He added that the procurement process is a long one which entails advertising, waiting for a period of six weeks after advertisement, reviewing of tender, picking of consultant and going to the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP) among several other processes.