JOE EFFIONG, UYO
Succour may soon come to the commuters along Calabar-Itu road as President Muhammadu Buhari is said to have approved the award of contract for the reconstruction of the road to three construction companies to be completed before the end of his administration.
The road now awarded in three tranches to Julius Berger, Sermatech Engineering Construction Company and China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC), has so far been made motorable especially on the part handled by Sermatech.
Taking newsmen on a tour of the entire stretch of road on Tuesday, the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Ita Enang said the road was awarded to Julius Berger at N54b, CCECC at N52.2b to CCECC and Sermatech at N79b.
Enang who assured that the entire stretch of road has been awarded for dualization however apealed to Julius Berger to borrow a leaf from Sermatech by taking some palliative measures to make the portion of road awarded to them motorable .
In his words “From Ikot Ekpene with Spurs in Ididep- Ibiono Ibom to Mbak Ekid Itam in Itu has been awarded to CCECC, a section from Mbak Itam to Oku Iboku Junction, has been awarded to Julius Berger, from Oku Iboku Junction to Ikot Nyong by Power Plant in Odukpani, Cross River State, has been awarded to Sermatech and from Power Plant to Odukpani Junction, is still awarded to Julius Berger.
“I initiated this pproject when I was Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters. We had difficulty accessing funds for the road. But now His Excellency the President, has asked me to come and assure you that we have raised money from the Tax Credit Window granted by the Federal Inland Revenue service to the NNPC to fund critical Infrastructure.
“A great part of the N600b raised from NNPC as tax credit has been dedicated to this road. The road was awarded in three tranches, the first was at 54b to Julius Berger, the second at N52.2b to CCECC and the third was at N79b to Sermatech Engineering. I want to assure you and confirm that it is for dualization, not rehabilitating, not reconstruction.
“Remember that this road was designed for dualization since 1972 and its fulfillment is only coming during Buhari. The road is so far motorable. I want you to give a lot of cooperation and support to the construction companies”. He said, while addressing the Village Head of Ikot Abiyak in Oku Iboku who sought confirmation that the road was truly awarded for dualization.
Presidency/Construction team, the Village Head of Ikot Abiyak in Oku Iboku, Etidung Effiong Bassey Ikotidem applauded Sermatech Construction company for making the road motorable. The Royal Father however appealed to Julius Berger assist the host communities to cope by reducing the dust.
“Sermatech has been able to keep the road motorable, they water the road every two days to reduce dust, they have shown great capacity. Please help us to also appeal to Julius Berger to come to our aid. it is highly insensitive not to water the road after putting the surface cement on it. the dust on their portion of the road is killing us.
Speaking on behalf of Sermatech Engineering Construction Limited, the Site Agent, Joseph Ukpata said the company had fully mobilized to site
Ukpata who confirmed his company has so far cleared over 7kms of the 28kms awarded for dualization, hinted that the project which was earlier scheduled for a four-year duration has been reviewed to be delivered in April 2023 .
To maintain a cordial relationship with host communities, Ukpata assured that over 100 workers have been employed from the communities along the road. He assured that Sermatech Engineering has the needed expertise, equipment and manpower to deliver high quality dualized road, the four bridges and the many gulvates on its assigned portion.
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