The House of Representatives’ Committee on Works has expressed disappointment over the slow pace of work on the Lagos-Badagry expressway in spite of the funds that have been released for the project.
The members of the committee complained that no member of staff of CGC Nigeria Limited, the contractor handling the Lagos-Badagry Expressway, was on site when its members visited the project.
As reported by the News Agency of Nigeria, the committee, led by its Chairman, Alhaji Abubakar Kabir, was on an oversight inspection tour of the Agbara and Seme section of the Badagry expressway.
The lawmakers condemned the lack of commitment of the contractor and agreed to invite the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, and the contractor to the House.
Kabir said no single expatriate from CGC was available to receive lawmakers to give explanations on the progress on the construction works.
He said, “I am highly disappointed with CGC; there is no way, that members of the House of Representatives coming here to Lagos and none of their expatriates are here. We have the project worth N63 billion; this is to show CGC is not taking this project seriously at all, this is number one.
“Secondly, the issue of the work we have seen here and the work on the paper, to me, this project is not commensurate with what has been paid.
“And you said we have reached about 14.6 percent completion, even on the average, you have only reached about four percent and the money we have paid to them (CGC) now is about N6.7 billion.
“N2.2 billion 15 percent mobilisation, N4.5 billion SUKUK money, and that SUKUK money, I don’t understand, there is a problem.”
The chairman said that SUKUK funds were investors’ money and it was dangerous to allow inefficiency or mismanagement, adding that, there is no commensurate construction on the ground.
He said it was dangerous for the progress of the nation to entrust projects into the hands of contractors who used COVID-19 as an excuse to stay away from the site.
“With this, I have to call the minister to come to the National Assembly, the Director, Construction and Rehabilitation, Mr. Funsho Adebiyi, and CGC management to come and discuss. We need to discuss this thing critically.
“Honestly, we are not here for a joke, we are here to protect our citizens, we are here to protect taxpayers money, even the SUKUK you are claiming is people’s money, it is investors’ money and the Nigerian government is going to pay for it in future at a higher rate,” he said.
Kabir said about 10 percent of the contract sum had been paid and if CGC was not serious about the project, “let the government do something about this so that we can get some serious people”.
“Nobody can do this thing in China, nobody; in the end, there is no place we can go apart from Nigeria, this is our country,” he said.
Earlier, the Director, Federal Highways, South-west, Mr Adedamola Kuti, said that the project was underfunded until SUKUK funding which was being disbursed based on the progress of work.
“As a Nigerian, I am not satisfied but the issue is that it is also funding. If somebody is not paid, there is little I can do, I am not going to give in my blood.
“As I mentioned to you (lawmakers), an advanced payment of about N9.6 billion was due to the contractor, even to pay N2 billion it took us almost two years, two budgetary provisions or three before the SUKUK funding came in,” he said.