Rivers to spend N4bn per kilometer in new ring road

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The Network for the Actualization of Social Growth and Viable Development (NEFGAD) has slammed the Rivers State Government over its plans to construct Port Harcourt ring road project.

The group described the project as the most expensive project in the world, adding that it is insensitive to the economic plight of the people in the state.

Dax Kelly George, state commissioner of works recently explained that the road will be 50.15km of which 45km will be a dual carriageway. He added that the project will have 6 flyovers and one river crossing bridge.

Governor Siminialayi Fubara, during the agreement signing ceremony with Julius Berger on Wednesday, explained that the project would cost N195.3 billion, of which the state would pay 77 percent upfront.

“On our part as a government, we will meet our own obligations. After this event, we are paying you… The total value of the contract is N195.3 billion and we are paying you 77 per cent of it, which is about N150 billion plus,” Fubara said to Julius Berger at the ceremony.

However, NEFGAD in a statement by its Executive Secretary, Akingunola Omoniyi, said the state government is engaging in a show of shame, calling the price barbaric and outrageous.

“The 50.15km Port Harcourt Ring Road Contract awarded at the cost of N195.3b standing at approximately N4b per kilometer shows that the Rivers state government is insensitive to the economic plight of the people and engaging in a show of shame by coming to the public to sign such world’s most flamboyant and luxurious contract.

“The Anti-Corruption Group has observed with dismay that the cost of road construction in Nigeria has been consistently outrageous which now calls for serious concern and scrutiny. Going by a World Bank report, the cost of constructing 1km of road is less than half a billion Naira anywhere in the world irrespective of topographic differences. This figure is the benchmark that should not be surpassed regardless of several factors except vested interests that usually characterize public contracts in Nigeria.

“The only thing left out of the contract is for the Rivers state government to apply to the Guinness World Record (GWR) for verification and certification as the world’s most expensive contract.

“This is barbaric, outrageous, and questionable and will not go unchallenged,” he said.

Omoniyi called on relevant anti-corruption agencies to look into the procurement process and all financial details of the contract for possible remedy, failure which should compel them to engage in serious advocacy against the uneconomic practice of the Rivers state government.