- Seeks review of cost
By Udora Orizu
A Civil Society Organization (CSO), the Anti-Corruption Network, has called for further scrutiny of N797billion recently awarded as the cost of reconstruction of Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Road project to determine its actual cost.
The Executive Secretary of the organization, Senator Dino Melaye, at a press briefing in Abuja, described the cost of the contract as outrageous saying the award of the 375-kilometer road at N797billion showed that a kilometer of the road would gulp a whooping N2.1billion for reconstruction.
He made reference to a report put out by World Bank which pegged the cost of constructing 1 kilometer of road at ₦238 million.
This figure, he said, is the benchmark that usually shouldn’t be surpassed regardless of several factors.
According to him, government intentionally allowed these hikes in cost of construction in order to get kickbacks from the contractors, since they can’t run the projects themselves.
He said, “On the 3rd of March 2021, the Federal Executive Council approved the reconstruction of Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Road at the cost of N797billion. The road is said to be 375 kilometers in total. This is probably the most expensive road construction on the earth at the average of US$6 million (N2.1 billion) per kilometer.
“Going down the memory lane, in 2013, the Federal Government awarded the contract for reconstruction of the 127km Lagos-Ibadan Expressway at N167 billion (US$1 billion at the time it was awarded). Interestingly, and also in 2013, a similar contract was awarded for the 1,028km Lagos-Abidjan road project and the Economic Community of West African Countries (ECOWAS) estimated this project to cost between N167 billion and N240 billion. At the projected maximum cost of N240 billion, the cost of the ECOWAS road per km will be N234 million whereas the six-lane Expressway road contract awarded by the Federal Government at N167 billion cost will be N1.3 billion per kilometer.
”In other words, the number of kilometers to be covered by the ECOWAS project is eight times higher than Nigeria’s Lagos-Ibadan Express road project; and the cost per kilometer is far lower than that of Nigeria. The question that begs for answer is why is Nigeria the costliest place to build roads in Africa? This is obliviously corrupt activity that the Anti-Corruption Network was set up to fight against. We therefore use this medium to register our displeasure over the award of road construction contract by the Federal Executive Council on the 3rd of March 2021.”