The Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mrs Ibim Semenitari on Thursday said the commission has estimated about N2 billion to fix some bad portions on the Calabar-Itu Federal Highway.
Speaking during the inspection visit by members of the Senate Committee on NDDC Ikot Nyong, Odukpani Local Government Area of Cross River State, the NDDC boss told the Sen. Peter Nwaoboshi-led committee members that NDDC decided to intervene when some failed portions on the road posed serious challenges to commuters.
Pulse Nigeria reports that Mrs Semenitari said that the estimate covered about 75 kilometres of the road from asphalt to complete intervention.
She said the commission has also provided various projects and similar intervention in nine Niger Delta states within its mandate.
The Acting MD said that the commission engaged about four contractors to fix some dilapidated portions on the road, which required major intervention, to make it motorable.
Semenitari, who also took the committee to the 15-kilometre Adiabo-Okurikang Road, said that construction work on the road was abandoned by the contractor after collecting about N1.56 billion.
She said the contract sum for the road, which is a short cut to Calabar, was N4.3 billion, adding that the contractor only covered 4.1 kilometres of the road before abandoning it.
Semenitari said that the wish of the commission was to re-award the road contract to a “competent contractor’’.
In his responses, Sen. Nwaoboshi (Delta), commended the NDDC for its intervention on Calabar–Itu Road, aimed at reducing the burden on road users.
Nwaoboshi said, “You have done a very nice job, we commend you, but you have to do more. We are not pleased with the level of work done on Adiabo-Okurikang Road.
”But, we are not happy with your legal department. Why should a contractor, who has been mobilised, failed to do the job and nothing happened?”
He had earlier paid a courtesy visit to Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross River and told him that they were in the state for an oversight function and inspection of some projects.
Nwaoboshi said that the Senate had directed the committee to visit NDDC, the Presidential Amnesty Programme and the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and report its findings.
He said that the state government had a duty to monitor NDDC’s projects within its domain to ensure that they were properly executed.
He said the senate budgeted about N241 billion for NDDC this year, adding that the committee would conduct public hearing on the amnesty programme.
The committee chairman also called on the state government to submit its memoranda to the committee, which had fixed its sitting for Oct. 6 and Oct. 7 in Abuja.
In his responses, Ayade, who was represented by his deputy, Prof. Ivara Esu, thanked the committee members for their visit.
Ayade also commended the National Assembly members for their team work, irrespective of party affiliations, especially on matters of national interest.
He then urged the committee to consider the inclusion of members of the Bakassi Strike Force, a militant group in the state, in the presidential amnesty programme.
“Some of them are highly educated, driven by desperation and abandonment, and really needed to be engaged in more meaningful productive ventures,’’ he said.