N119.4 million Agric Min Kuje road fails months after completion

N119.4 million Agric Min Kuje road fails months after completion

The Nigeria Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, in what appears corruption that has helped undermine Nigeria’s development has constructed a substandard road at the cost of N119.4 million.

The project was constructing a 1.5-kilometre asphaltic road at Pasali 2 community Gaube farmland extension in Kuje Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory-Abuja.

The project that was awarded to Eecic Consultancy Limited as the contractor and supervised by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has begun wearing off less than a year after it was completed.

The road construction has no drainage; a development community residents say makes the road not accessible when it rains as water flows on it making it inaccessible.

The community residents accused the contractor of carrying out a poorly constructed road with substandard materials. They showed a portion of the road that has since collapsed a few months after it was put into use.

“You do not need anybody to tell you that this construction work is poorly done, take a look at the road that was just completed, it is already wearing off” Mr. Amos, one of the community residents said.

This is even as Mrs. Benedict Agyo, a community resident, said the road construction will make life easy for the community and attract businesses.

“For some of us who live and do business in Kuje, this road when constructed will make things easy for us, means of transportation will become better and more customers will come to buy our project”, Agyo said.

Mr. Ephraim Ibiam, a civil engineer, speaking on the project, said a well-constructed road has the ability to last between 25 and 30 years without any repairs done to it. He, however, pointed out that the only reason for a road that was constructed and has begun wearing off is when it was poorly carried out mainly with fake and substandard materials.

“There are standards, and that is why a well-constructed road can last for over 25 to 30 years without any maintenance. In Nigeria, many of the construction works are poorly done, and that is why roads are becoming terribly bad a few weeks after work is completed” Ibiam said.

Mr. Ibiam, who spoke in his Maitama Abuja office, pointed out that the construction of one kilometre road cost about N300 million and wondered how 1.5 kilometres road will be constructed for N119.4 million.

“Many of these contractors know the money will not do a good job, they simply collect it, go to the site, do a very terrible job, and leave,” Ibiam said.

It is unclear how the Agric Ministry which has a core mandate to ensure food security and stimulate agriculture and aid rural socio-economic development, has abandoned its mandate to road construction which is the job of Ministry of Works.

The implication of this behavior is that the Agric Ministry is not likely to deliver quality road because it has no capacity to supervise it and ensure standards are met and delivered.

Mr. Sam Ogala, a senior Lawyer at the Femi Falana Chambers, reacting to the practice of giving jobs to ministries and Agencies that are outside their mandate, says although that is not a good practice, he however, pointed out that there are no legal implications to that effect. Fulfilling the contractual obligation is what matters he said.

“Come to Lugbe and see how Nigerian Port Authority is the one installing Solar Street Light, a job that is completely outside their mandate, Nigeria is such a funny country,” Ogala said.

When community residents’ involvement in the contract award and need assessment was sought, they all denied any involvement. The locals in different accounts say they were not consulted regarding the contract award and no need for assessment was carried out.

“At first, we thought those who own farms in this area were the ones constructing the road. But we later found out that it was a government project” Mr. Usman Abu one of the locals said.

Confessional statements that show the locals were not involved in both the project need assessment and contract award.

The road will boost local economy as the local residents who are predominantly farmers, rely on it to be able to transport their farm produce to the market where they will sell them and raise income.

When MAWA sought an explanation from Agric Ministry on the contract award and selection process through the office of the Permanent Secretary, in a response letter signed by Mr. Wale Kembi, for the Legal Department, says they have no knowledge of the Eecic Consultancy Limited, a company it awarded a contract worth a huge sums of monies.

It is unclear, how the Agric Ministry awarded a contract to a company that is unknown to her. What kind of procurement process was followed and who were the officials that awarded the contract?

However, a senior official in the procurement department who does not want his identity revealed, told MAWA that many of the contracts that were awarded by the ministry happened based on vested interest and not on merit.

“Do not bother yourself about the credibility of contracts awarded by the Agric Ministry, I challenge any contractor to come forward and prove he or she got an offer based on merit. Often monies exchange hands and bribes taken” the senior official told MAWA.

Check on the authenticity of Eecic Consultancy Limited shows the company was registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) on November 19th, 2014.

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