By Agnes Nsikak
The Federal Government has ordered immediate suspension of reconstruction work on the Eleme-Onne section of the East-West Road in Rivers State.
Minister of Works, Engr. David Umahi, gave the order in Port Harcourt on Sunday, during a media chat with newsmen.
Umahi said the decision followed the use of sub-standard materials by the contractor handling the project.
The minister, who noted that he had carried out inspection of ongoing work the previous day on the projects, expressed sadness over the slow pace of work even after government made an advance payment of N33 billion to ensure that no sharp practice was recorded.
He maintained that the work has to stop pending when some irregularities concering the project were resolved.
He said: “The project must benefit the people, we don’t care. The raining season is coming in two months and the people will keep suffering. You have our N33 billion. Do you know how the interest rate is every month on the bill?
“The President had to order me in September to come here and ordered the payment because some Rivers State indigenes went to see the President and we paid you N33 billion from that time till now.
“I saw that the sand they are using, it is not river sharp. What we paid for is river sharp sand. I’m not satisfied. And so, the sand will fill it and it becomes a compact monolitic pavement structure. When I saw that sand, I wasn’t happy. And I took that sand and put it on my palm and poured water and as I was squizzing it, at the end of the day, there was nothing left.
“That confirmed that it very clear. So, I directed that the company should be written and they should ensure that they remove the sand. I was very shocked that instead of removing the sand, they had continued with the sand.
“The contractor is carrying out the job, but at snail speed. If we allow him even another five years, he will not finish it. So we are not going to allow him” Umahi said.
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