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Reps fume over abandoned N797bn Abuja-Kaduna-Kano road project

The House of Representatives yesterday urged the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, to direct Julius Berger Plc to immediately return to site and…

The House of Representatives yesterday urged the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, to direct Julius Berger Plc to immediately return to site and complete the reconstruction work starting with the Jere-Kaduna stretch of the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano Expressway.

The call followed a motion on matters of urgent public importance sponsored by Garba Datti Muhammad and 38 others.

The Federal Executive Council had, in March 2021, changed the existing cost of the project from the initial N155bn to N797.2bn

Fashola had then told reporters that “The memo was with respect to the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano highway, which was to change the scope of works form rehabilitation previously awarded because many parts of the pavement had deteriorated, to full reconstruction of two lanes on both sides.”

The lawmakers recalled yesterday that Fashola had announced that Julius Berger, which had initially been contracted to undertake the rehabilitation work on the road, would also be responsible for its reconstruction.

They said following concerning incessant and rampant incidents of banditry along the Abuja-Kaduna Highway, the contractor withdrew its workers for security reasons.

“At the time of the withdrawal by the contractor, at least one half of the stretch of road had been graded and covered only in laterite which after the intense rainfall of the past few months has given way to gorges and potholes that have left the road unmotorable and severely slowed down traffic such that a journey that would ordinarily last one-and-a-half hours now took three hours to complete.

“Because of the current condition of the road, it only takes for a vehicle or truck to break down on it for a few minutes and it would result in a buildup of static traffic,” they said.

The House also urged the government to deploy military personnel and material resources as well as intelligence necessary to secure the Abuja-Kaduna Expressway to enable the contractor resume work without any risk to personnel and equipment.