By Magnus Effiong
The federal government has said that contrary to insinuations from some quarters that the N185 billion Calabar-Itu-Ikot Ekpene federal highway had been abandoned, construction activities on the road was indeed gathering momentum.
Speaking during the on-the-spot assessment and inspection of the progress of work on the said road, weekend, Senator Ita Enang, former Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Niger Delta Affairs, said a good part of the 28.6 kilometres project would be commissioned by the President before his exit in May next year.
Three constructing firms, Senator Enang explained, were involved in the delivery of the job, adding that they would complete at different timelines. He said the federal government has no intention of abandoning the project.
“The cost implication of the entire project is about N185 Billion; the part allotted to Sematech Construction Company is N79 billion, that of Julius Julius Berger is N54 Billion, while the part awarded to China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation Ltd.(CCECC) is 50.2 Billion; totaling N185 billion.
“Each of them has their completion periods. This is because the contracts were not signed at the same time but the Sematech has promised to deliver ahead of time and on specifications.
“A great part of it would be fully completed and we are expecting His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari to, with his hand, commission part of the road and part of the bridges before the terminal date of this government.
“I am impressed with what has been done so far and other companies have challenges of funding; the Julius Berger parts of the project is funded by Sukuk Fund, other windows funding these projects are Federal Ministry of Works budget, loans through the Sukuk fund, and then the Critical Infrastructure Fund of NNPC Tax Credit through the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). Please we haven’t abandoned this project.
“The contractors are on site, working, not minding the rain, they are doing what the rain can allow them do to get this ready as soon as practicable. Our tour today is to show our people that something is actually going on as far as this Calabar/Itu road contrition is concern,” He submitted.
Enang, who is also one of the leaders of the Legacy Project Team of the federal government, said the All Progressives Congress (APC) led federal government has done very well especially in areas of infrastructural development.
One of the site Engineers from Sematech Construction Company, Chibuzor Iheanachor, said “We have four bridge on our own part of the road, three in Cross River axis and one on the Akwa Ibom axis of the road. We also have a total of 45 culverts on the Cross River axis, and about 25 culverts have been done already while we have one culvert on the Akwa Ibom axis and it is completed.
“We at Sematech are contracted a coverage area of 11 kilometers stretch of the road between Cross River and Akwa Ibom States, out of the entire 28.6 kilometres of the road project.”
The road, which was constructed in 1975, had become a death trap and a subject of politicking in recent years.