“let me use this opportunity to debunk reports that I refused to sign certificate of contractors” —Umahi.
The Honourable Minister of Works H.E. Sen (Engr ) David Nweze Umahi while rounding off his tour of the South South Federal highways and bridges, also inspected a pilot concrete road project that was constructed by the Cross River State Government in Calabar on Friday.
The technology was borrowed from one of Works Minister’s constructed roads in Ebonyi State during his tenure as Governor of the state, the Minister also used the opportunity to highlight the huge benefits and importance of the construction of concrete roads in Nigeria.
During the inspection of the concrete road along Nyong Edem Street in Calabar South, Umahi said “this pilot project is being initiated by the Governor of Cross River State and this is what we are talking about and I want the press people to see it, in the next 50 to 60 years nobody will touch this road, it has being a pilot project from the Governor and his very hard working Commissioner, I want to encourage him to use this concrete to do all his road works and he will not have any regret weather there is rain or sun, this road will continue to remain the way it is and this is what we are talking about”, adding that “a lot of failures on our roads is because of the method of construction, so I commend the Governor for this bold initiative and I want him to expand it to all his roads”.
The Minister used the opportunity to highlight the benefits of concrete roads as follows; it lasts up to 50years, cheaper than asphalt, concrete roads contract can be determined without increase in price , It will lift the pressure on the naira as there won’t be need for bitumen importation, nothing less than 10 companies have indicated interest in opening cement factories, it will create jobs, no expatriate is doing the job but local people through direct labour, we are developing our engineering profession, allowing local content by allowing local engineers to practice what they have learnt and it will create expansion of the existing cement companies to 90% from the current 30%.
While responding to allegation of refusal to sign contract certificate, the Minister said “let me use this opportunity to debunk the report that I refuse to sign certificate of contractors and that contractors are dying.
That’s not the truth, l am signing the certificates that I am convinced that are all right but when a project is N34b and is jerked up to N120b or a project that is N44b is jerked up to N126b, I am a civil engineer I have been on this for 30years or more and I am a member of Nigeria Society of Engineers, as a professional anything you sign, you have to know and you have to take responsibility for it”.
Umahi said “I wont sign anything I cannot defend, I have told Mr President this and he is supporting me, so those whose certificates are clear and ok, I have signed. those whose roads have failed I will not sign, they have to go and fix the road back. That is the truth, they say I am signing a certificate for contractors that big men are behind, the only big man before me is God Almighty and Mr. President”.
The Governor of Cross Rivers State Senator (Prince) Bassey Otu in his remarks said to the Minister “I am so glad today that we have such an action Minister, We started this pilot project as a matter of fact we borrowed this technology from Eboyi because when we checked the cost and the durability and sustainability we came to the conclusion, we have to do something very economical but beneficial to the people, we are going to replicate this in many localities in as much as you give us your support”.
The Commissioner for Works, Cross River State, Hon. Pius Edet in his appreciation of the Minister’s visit said “Your Excellency I want to thank you very much for coming as the proponent of Modern Construction facility in Nigeria, as a proponent of concrete pavement, we felt that it will not be fair to allow you leave without seeing one of your theory being implemented. We pray that God gives you more wisdom and ideology for the success of our country”.
Press & Public Relations Unit
Federal Ministry of Works