Minister of Works, Engr. David Umahi, has threatened to revoke contracts for roads executed below specification and vowed not to sign any road contract with inflated contract sums.
Umahi spoke late Friday in Calabar during the inspection of roads constructed by the Governor Otu administration at Nyong Edem Street, Calabar South local government area of the state.
The minister stated that he won’t sign any contract certificate that is not genuine.
“I am signing certificates that I am convinced are right, where a project that is N34 billion is jacked to N144 billion, I am a civil engineer and I have been in this business for more than 30 years and also a fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers.
“If a project has been jacked up and almost stalled, let me know by the first principle, the way engineering was taught us, let us see the take-off sheet, the levels, the geo-technical reports and then I will own it if I see all those things.
“But if you think you will blackmail me to sign those certificates, I will not sign it.
“Any other person can sign and they be paid but me, I will not sign what I cannot defend. I have told Mr. President this and he is supporting me.
“Those whose certificates are okay I have signed but those whose roads have failed, I will not sign and they have to go and fix the roads,” Umahi said.
The minister lauded the Cross River State governor on the construction of the concrete road at Nyong Edem Street in Calabar, saying it was a welcome development which should be emulated by others.
Reacting, Gov. Bassey Edet Otu stated that the road was in line with President Ahmed Tinubu’s agenda of bringing succour to the people, stressing that it would be replicated across the three senatorial districts in the state.
Otu said; “We started this pilot project and as a matter of fact we borrowed this technology from Ebonyi State.
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step and we are starting here.”
The CEO and contractor , Crock Construction Company, Mr Chukwuemerie Nwaeze, said the road – a new technology which is the first of its kind in Cross River State, is an attempt to modernise the state and ensure that such structures last a very long time.
Nwaeze explained that the decision to introduce the ‘Rigid Pavement’ system was borne out of the knowledge that roads previously constructed with traditional asphalt failed and did not last, and ultimately became impassable.
The contractor said, “It has been a very difficult journey, a very tedious one, and I must commend the Governor, Prince Bassey Otu for approving this project. We are very thankful to him because this project is a reality. This project is very dear to him. For him, it has components of Community Social Responsibility. And he has promised to replicate it round the state and to be built with the same standards.”