Work on many Federal Government highway projects funded by Sukuk is presently going at a very slow pace.
A check by correspondents in Yobe, Kogi, Niger and Kano states showed that most of the contractors handling the roads rehabilitation are either not on site or there is slow pace of activities where they are.
In Kogi, reports show that work is ongoing on the Sukuk funded road project which spans from bridge 1 in Kotonkarfe to Kabba Junction on the Abuja/Lokoja/Okene highway.
The contractor handling the project, Gitto Construction Company Ltd, has done the stone base and asphalt overlay of a greater percentage of the stretch of road under construction and work is currently on the drainage channels.
The secretary of the company’s workers union, Comrade Waziri Mohammed, who spoke to our correspondent, said the next stage of work was the nylon tile of the road.
Mohammed, who noted that delay in the release of fund oftentimes hampered the progress of work, however, expressed optimism that the certificate already raised by the company would soon be approved by the Federal Government to ensure quick completion and handing over of the project.
A check by our reporter in Yobe showed the dualisation of the Kano-Maiduguri road project is sub-divided into five sections. The Potiskum-Damaturu is section IV and it starts from Potiskum junction linking Mamudo, Damagum, Garin Bingel, Dogon Kuka and Ngelzarma to Damaturu.
When Daily Trust visited the site of the project in Damaturu, construction work was going on at a slow phase despite the Sukuk funding that the contractor received from the Federal Government.
An engineer supervising the section of the project told our correspondent that, initially, the project had a total of 96.240 kilometres but that the Federal Government later approved a length of 18km out of Damaturu and Potiskum bypasses to be included in the project.
“The project started in 2006 and the substantive completion date of the project was 10th December 2013 but here we are today,” he revealed.
At a recent inspection tour by the Federal Controller of Work in Yobe State, Engr Olusegun Akinmade briefed the Northeast Zonal Director of Highways, Mohammed Rufai, saying that the project, handled by CGC contractors, has reach 62.5 percent completion stage.
He said the injection of N4 billion Sukuk fund allocated to the Potiskum-Damaturu section of the dualisation project had performed wonders.
“With the N4 billion, the contractor was able to construct additional 20.5 kilometres of a single lane carriageway from start to finish,” he said.
In Kano State, the project has two phases – the dualisation of Kano to Katsina road phase one and the construction of Kano Western bypass which is being carried out by Dantata and Sawoe Construction Company while the dualization of Katsina-Kano road is handled by China Civil Engineering Company (CCEC).
At the Kano western bypass, most of the already erected overhead bridges were completed and new ones are under construction. Sources told Daily Trust that work on the road project had slowed down due to the rains. “This is a waterlogged area as you can see, and the Rijiyar Zaki area has been known for such: to our understanding, the rain has been the reason behind the slowing down of the work.
However, on Kano-Katsina road dualization, work has gone far but recently activities by the construction company had stopped. It was gathered that the dualization, which started from Dawanau International Grain Market has not gone far and the tarring has been on one lane. Sources around the area attributed the slow phase of the project to government bureaucracy in project execution.
Works on part of Minna-Suleja road covered by Sukuk facility was stalled due to rainfall.
The Sukuk facility was supposed to start from a point near Maje community in Suleja local government area and terminate close to Lambata, in Gurara local government area of Niger state.
Daily Trust recalls that works on the new carriageway was initiated by former President Good luck Jonathan in 2010 prior to the 2011 general elections but zero budgetary provision had affected its progress.
Works on the project have been at snail speed and later suspended altogether due to non-release of funds, resulting in the lay off of nearly 80 percent of the workers.
Insider sources said the contractors were owed billions of naira in debt until the current administration captioned it under Sukuk bond.
Sources said monies released for the project through the Sukuk facility into the accounts of contractors were taken over by banks which advanced facilities to fund the earlier contract thereby resulting in slow pace of works.
However, a senior manager of Salini Nigeria Limited who said he was not authorized to speak on matter, attributed the slow pace of works to rainfall.
“There was noticeable disruption of works due to the rainfall which is at its peak but despite the hiccup, we are making the road motorable pending the cessation of rain before full action will commence,” he explained.
The Federal Controller of Works in the state, Mr. Ihennacho Felix Umeh could not immediately be reached for his comment on the project.
Efforts to reach the director, Highway Construction and Rehabilitation Departments of the Federal Minister of Works, Engineer Dayyabu Mamman, was to no avail as at the time of filing this report.
Credit: Daily Trust