By Lawrence Olaoye
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has jerked up the contract for the construction the Loko-Uweto bridge from N6.9 billion to N9.5 billion.
The Council also approved the contract for the construction of the National Freight Office at Jibia, Katsina State, at the cost of N551.8 million.
Briefing newsmen after the weekly FEC meeting chaired by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said the cost of the bridge linking Northern and Southern parts of the country was jerked up by N1.6 billion because the contract was awarded using 2010 rates.
Fashola said, “We had only one memorandum; and it was just a cost review memorandum really, to approve cost variations on Osegudu-Uweto road.
“That road, as you might know, links the Loko-Uweto road, which is now substantially completed. The Usegudu-Uweto road links the road to that bridge on the Benue side that helps connect Nasarawa from the Loko side to Benue.
“The importance of the Loko-Uweto road, which we have substantially now completed, is that it is the bridge that links the North and South of Nigeria.
“Unlike the old Niger Bridge and the Second Niger Bridge, which link the East and the West, and linking the bridge reduces journey time from that part of the country and the Eastern part of Nigeria, especially people who link through Makurdi, Enugu and all of that coming to Abuja. It would reduce their journey time by a couple of about few days that it currently takes.
“So, the revision for that contract was N1.6bn extra because the contract was awarded using 2010 rates and the contractor asked for review to cushion cost and naira depreciations and council approved that.”
He added that his ministry had met with officials of the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) and the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) to ensure a hitch free movement during the Yuletide.
According to him, FERMA had been mandated to carry out road repairs nationwide; while the FRSC had been urged to step up patrols of major roads to prevent raid mishaps during the festive period.
The minister added that his ministry has also put in place measures to make electricity available to the nation during the festive period.
Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, also told journalists that FEC had awarded the national freight office in Jibia for the sum of N551, 810,060 million and the contract is to last to 36 weeks.
“You know that the National Freight Office is usually located at border post.
So, the border post between Katsina and Niger Republic, is where it is located,” said Amaechi.