Umahi threatens to dissolve highway agreement between Enugu, Port Harcourt

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The contractor managing the Abia section of the Enugu-Port Harcourt Highway, which is presently undergoing rehabilitation, received a 14-day notice of termination from the Minister of Works, David Umahi, on Sunday due to non-performance.

In a statement, Olusola Abiola, the director of information, stated that the minister had ordered the notice of termination following an examination of the work being done at Ozuaku following the construction of the Imo bridge along the Enugu – Port Harcourt expressway.

The statement said, “After following all legal procedures during construction, the Minister of Works has just issued a 14-day notice of termination to Messrs China Civil Engineering Construction, which is in charge of the Enugu-Port Harcourt expressway.

“We will have to give them a termination notice if they don’t comply with our requests after 14 days.”

He clarified that the government would no longer tolerate contractors completing subpar work and threatened to impose penalties on underwhelming contractors.

“We will not put up with contractors leaving blank ranks on the job site. Additionally, by pushing back the project’s completion date, they will be raising construction costs.

“In the upcoming weeks, all non-performing contracts will be terminated and re-awarded using due process, as per our agreement in the Ministry of Works,” he revealed.

The minister underlined the necessity for the Ministry to provide Nigerians with high-quality highways, saying, “It is very important to appreciate all the efforts of Mr. President who has been providing funds for our road infrastructure projects; which is very, very good.”

Umahi continued, “So it’s kudos to Mr. President and it shows that Mr. President is very, very sensitive to our road infrastructure needs,” noting that President Bola Tinubu deserves praise for providing significant resources for our road networks despite the administration inheriting over 3,000 road projects. Therefore, we must exert every effort to support the President’s Renewed Hope Agenda, regardless of any form of coercion,” he declared.

The minister has now issued two directives since taking office. This is the most recent.

Due to complaints about the contractor’s poor work, he issued an immediate order in September of last year to halt construction work at the Kaiama section of the East-West road in Bayelsa State.

Umahi expressed his displeasure at the situation and claimed that the contractor was producing subpar work even though N71 billion had been paid.

Following the use of inferior materials by the contractor managing the project, the minister also ordered the immediate suspension of reconstruction work at the Eleme-Onne section of the East-West Road in Rivers State in January 2024. However, the suspension was later reversed twenty hours later following a meeting behind closed doors with the contractor and ministry officials.

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