FG orders Julius Berger back to site on N199bn Bodo-Bonny road project

The Minister of Works Sen. David Umahi has ordered Julius Berger PLC, the contractor handling the 35-kilometer Bodo-Bonny road and bridge project in Rivers State, to return to the site and ensure its timely completion.
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The Minister emphasised the urgency and significance of the directive, noting that the project, initially awarded to Julius Berger Nigeria Plc by the previous administration at a revised cost of N199b with a completion date of December 31, 2023, is crucial for economic transformation in the region, being approximately 84% complete.

Umahi expressed bewilderment over the contractor’s absence from the site despite their commitment under the agreement to meet the revised completion date.

He set April 2024 as the new deadline for the project’s delivery.

Hosting a delegation from the Bodo–Bonny Road Peace Committee on Monday, December 5, 2023, Umahi assured the project’s host communities that the Federal Government, under President Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Renewed Hope administration, is committed to ensuring the project’s swift completion.

As stated by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Uchenna Orji, the Minister highlighted a partnership agreement in 2017 between the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Works and Nigeria LNG (NLNG) outlining the funding modalities for the project.

He faulted the contractor’s stance on project variations, highlighting that they had previously committed to completing the project without seeking additional variations, saying, “No equipment must be allowed to be moved out of site, they must complete that project as agreed and as signed and nothing has removed that responsibility which they willingly on their own signed.

“I implore you the Peace Committee to report to me the progress that has been made on that road”

“Bobo-Bonny project was augmented to 199billion, I am told by the Ministry and NLNG Limited that there was a document signed by Julius Berger that the project cannot be varied which means that the project cost cannot be increased, the project is about 35 kilometers”.

He, however, praised the host communities for maintaining peace with the contractor despite project delays while urging them to persist in their peaceful approach towards contractors working on projects in their vicinity.

He assured the delegation that the Ministry would ensure the completion of the Bodo-Bonny road project by April 2024, saying, “Nobody will hold this country to ransom if they cannot do it, another person will come and do it and finish it even better but the only charge I give to you is not to allow any equipment out of sight until they complete the project”.

Umahi also guaranteed that the Federal Government would manage a coastal road in the same region, facing even more significant site challenges, and the cost would be less than what the government is currently paying Julius Berger.

“I respect them for their quality and commitment, but we shouldn’t be taken for granted” “It is a character of arrogance for them to demobilize from site,” he added

Federal Director Bridges and Design Engr. O. O. Awosanya gave a brief history of the award and funding of the project by Julius Berger.

According to him, the initial date of completion of the project with 13 bridges was supposed to be 31st December 2023, saying, “We have three main bridges and we have nine mini bridges and one bridge over the pipeline.

“The project completion as of today is about 84% and the contractor has requested for a review which is against the spirit of the propagated agreement that was signed between the Federal Government, the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas, and JB in 2021,” he said.

Leader leader of the delegation and acting Chairman of the Peace Committee, Chief Charles John Jumbo appreciated President Tinubu and the Minister for the massive interventions and efforts they are bringing to the road sub-sector and changing the narrative of the road infrastructure in Nigeria.

He said the delegation was in the Minister’s office to register their displeasure over the sudden demobilization from the site and abandonment of the Bodo-Bonny Road and Bridge project by Julius Berger Plc despite the huge funds committed by the Federal Government through NLNG and implored the timeous intervention of Federal Government to avert the imminent hardship to be faced by the people of the area.

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