The Minister of Works, Dave Umahi, on Tuesday claimed to have traveled from Abuja to Benin via Lokoja road and cried over the suffering Nigerians are going through on the federal roads.
This followed his statement that no existing federal road could last more than seven years.
He said the decision was based on his recent road testing across the country.
According to Umahi, some roads are full of potholes and have degraded into “drills”.
Umahi, who expressed displeasure over the poor work of contractors over the years, expressed disappointment at the way contractors cheated Nigerians with the materials they used to build roads domestic.
He spoke on Tuesday in Abuja while addressing businessmen from the six geopolitical zones at the ministry’s headquarters.
He said, “There is no project being constructed right now in Nigeria that is going to last for seven years.
“The question is are we going to be maintaining or reconstructing our roads every 10 years? That is what we have been doing.
“I travelled from Abuja to Benin City through Lokoja, all the stretches of the road are on contract, and ongoing, this is through the policy of the last administration but how much of the roads are motorable? I travelled through the roads myself and I shed tears for the kind of pains our people are going through.”
“I spent 14 hours on the road having started my journey at 10 am and got to Benin City at 2 pm the next day and I was very happy I experienced the pains.
“President Tinubu said I must travel through all the projects so that I could brief him on my experience and tell him the truth.
“Unless Mr. President does something about our procurement, his lofty intention to help this country may not be achieved. documents will be sent to the Bureau of Public Procurement for a no-objection certificate and it will stay for six months.
“How will the contractors do the additional job you directed them to do without backup authorisation.”
Contractors, according to the minister, have a history of raising project costs in order to cheat the country via contract variation and the use of asphalt materials, which are tied to the international price of crude oil.
The former Ebonyi governor also questioned contractors’ unapproved extra work and asked them to acquire the requisite authorization. He highlighted the importance of adequate documentation and clearance procedures, stating that no contracts would be signed until the necessary design drawings and original road blueprints were produced.
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