There are strong indications that the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) may consider another contractor to handle the Apo-Karshi Road which has been ongoing since 2011, Aso Chronicle has gathered.
The Special Assistant to the FCT Minister on Media and Publicity, Abubakar Sani, hinted that the FCTA may revoke the road contract if more delays in completing the project were encountered.
Residents who expect the completion of the road soon so that it can ease the Nyanya-Mararaba traffic jam, expressed disappointment over the slow pace of work.
Some Karshi residents who spoke with our reporters expressed dissatisfaction over the way the road project was being handled, saying it is taking longer than expected even as they said their hope of reaching the city centre faster wanes.
Due to the ongoing construction work, motorcyclists charge N500 to take passengers from Karshi to Apo while residents coming from Apo pay more because most motorcyclists dread the road.
They said the FCT minister’s visit to the road late last year, where he said it was a shame that indigenous contractors were not working to expectation, has failed to spur the contractors to work.
Residents said the construction company resumed work on the road about five months ago after a long break but that work was slow and nothing meaningful has been achieved since.
Malam Umaru Bako, one of the residents, said that though the work has been ongoing for the past five months, there is no significant progress, saying the workers come to work inconsistently.
“The road project is more than the company can handle,” he said.
He said that the only major work the company has done since the beginning of the contract was the culvert built at Kuphayi few kilometres from Karshi town but when our reporters went there, the culvert was yet to be covered.
Saheed Yunusa, another resident, said although construction work is ongoing on the road, the government should ensure that whatever is delaying the project is addressed.
He said due to the uncompleted project, only Sport Utility Vehicles or trucks can ply the road, “And look at most people here, how many of us have such vehicles?”
Abel Andrew resides in Orozo but works in Garki. He said if the road is completed, about two hours would have been saved from his time, adding that little money from his meager salary as an office assistant would be spent on transport fare.
Andrew said he goes to work daily from Jikwoyi to Nyanya from where he takes a vehicle to Area 1. The journey takes two hours or more especially during heavy downpour or shortage of vehicles.
“That stress would be greatly reduced because it is a few kilometres from here to Karshi and from Apo, I can easily get to Area 1,” he said, while longing for the road to be completed.
There are thousands of people like Andrew who reside in Karshi, Orozo, Gidan Mangoro, Kurudu, Wasa, Kyami, Takushara, and other communities, who would be direct beneficiaries of the road project.
Speaking further about the road project, Waziri N. Umar, another resident was pessimistic about the project saying, “They are doing nothing, and the work is beyond them. They cannot handle the work the way it is supposed to be done because if the company was serious with the work, it would have completed it by now.’’
Waziri, who called on the government to monitor the activities of the company to ensure proper service delivery, raised concern about the quality of the portions of the road which have already been tarmacked.
He said most residents have lost confidence in the company handling the project.
“The government has tried, but the company is not trying at all. What they have done since February till date is not up to three kilometres because they have not been consistent on site,” he said.
The SA Media to the FCT Minister appealed to residents to be patient with the administration, adding though the project was inherited; the FCT minister is determined to complete it.
Aso Chronicle gathered that the minister had earlier on an inspection visit to the site, reiterated the commitment of FCT Administration under his stewardship to complete the ongoing and abandoned projects, especially those in satellite towns, Karshi-Apo road project inclusive.
According to our findings, Karshi-Apo road contract was awarded to Kakatar by FCDA at the sum of N6, 355, 609, 124.53, on January 19, 2011, but actual work commenced on March 23, 2011.
Further findings revealed that Kakatar has received N2,373, 619,680.99; remaining a balance of about N3. 9billion.
Sani said the road could be completed by December as a provision of N1.5bn has been made in the 2016 budget for the road. The sum he said would facilitate its completion unlike a paltry sum of N200m allocated for the road in 2015.
“If we don’t start using it by December, by first quarter of 2017 people should start using the road,” he said, adding that the government is not tied to the contractor.
He said should the contractor fail to deliver, government may consider an alternative.
“If at the appropriate time it is observed that he is not moving at the pace that the administration desires, then the administration will take the appropriate measures,” he said.
He said the government would not be held back by the shortcomings of any contractor since the government is at liberty to either retain the contractor or look for an alternative.
He said the delay could be due to a 50 metres high hill that has to be brought down and some engineering design in Karshi handled by another construction company.
“A substantial part of the road has already been completed. What is happening is that there is about 200 metres not completed because there is a hill of about 50metres high which has to be chopped off otherwise vehicles won’t be able to use the road,” he said.
“This other issue has nothing to do with the FCT Administration, it is his personal and company’s issue and we believe he will be able to sort it out,” Sani said.
When our reporters went to The Clan Place, Plot 1386, Tigris Crescent, Maitama, Abuja, office of Kakatar Construction and Engineering Limited to get the company’s reaction, they were told the person who’s authorised to speak to them was not available.