From 28 billion naira to 71 billion naira: the true story behind Uyo- Ikot Ekpene road
The Uyo-Ikot Ekpene road in Akwa Ibom State has been a subject of controversy in recent times. The road which was awarded in 2011 was commissioned in 2015 by the former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Obot Akpabio but the progress of the work during commissioning was at 15kilometres as explained by the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Work, Ephraim Inyangeyen in a chat with the SUN.
According to him, the initial cost of the contract was twenty-eight billion, three hundred and sixty-four million, five hundred and seventy-five thousand, eight hundred and three naira, and twenty-two kobo which was awarded to Julius Berger in 2011 but the cost was reviewed upwards by the sum of twenty-three billion, five hundred and sixteen million, two hundred and twenty-eight, and three hundred and thirty-nine thousand in 2013.
He noted that there was another upward review on the 25th of September, 2014 with the sum of nineteen billion, four hundred and forty eight million, three hundred and seventy three thousand, two hundred and seventeen naira, sixty-seven kobo, bringing the total value to seventy-one billion, three hundred and fifty nine million, one hundred and seventy-seven thousand, one hundred and fourteen naira, fifty nine kobo.
He disclosed that the road project should have been completed in December 2014 according to the schedule but that was not done, he maintained that a question that everyone should ask “is the location of the money that was released for the project.
“I don’t want to go to projects across Ikot Ekpene senatorial district because they are so many, but I will take one particular project, and for the first time we are going to give details of what happened to Uyo-Ikot Ekpene road to further establish that what has been said about Udom’s performance or non-performance as per Ikot Ekpene senatorial district is absolutely false,” he told Daily Sun
“Uyo-Ikot Ekpene road was awarded by the previous government on the 19th of December, 2011. It was awarded at the cost of twenty-eight billion, three hundred and sixty-four million, five hundred and seventy-five thousand, eight hundred and three naira, and twenty-two kobo to Julius Berger.
“As that work started on the 12th of September, 2013, it was reviewed upwards by the sum of twenty three billion, five hundred and sixteen million, two hundred and twenty-eight, and three hundred and thirty-nine thousand. Again there is what they call additional works, it was reviewed again on the 25th of September, 2014 with the sum of nineteen billion, four hundred and forty eight million, three hundred and seventy three thousand, two hundred and seventeen naira, sixty-seven kobo, bringing the total value to seventy-one billion, three hundred and fifty nine million, one hundred and seventy-seven thousand, one hundred and fourteen naira, fifty nine kobo. And this was as at 25th September, 2014.
“Governor Udom Emmanuel became governor on the 29th of May, 2015. I want to state here very clearly that the bulk of this money had been released and they didn’t achieve 50 percent of that road construction because as at the time that road was hurriedly commissioned early April, 2015 they were at kilometre 15 and that kilometre 15 did not have the wearing course, which is the final asphalt. That final asphalt is what really holds the road firm.
“I want to; for emphasis sake, say that the structure that stood at Ikpe Annang that you turn to go to Essien Udim is at kilometre 15.16 and that building never went down until February, 2017 when this present government sourced money, one hundred and kilometers million naira and paid the owner of that property to take down that property, so it is not possible for the previous government to have gotten to kilometre 18, when you have this structure at kilometre 15. That was a major challenge.
“Also, a case in court was still standing and we were made to understand that he had gotten to kilometre 18 and that this government did only 3 kilometres. I am saying that even at kilometre 18 we couldn’t have done only 3 kilometres because we are now at kilometre 23 remaining 2 kilometres to Four Point Sheraton, so 18 minus 23 would have been at least 5 kilometres but that is not correct.
“What we have done is that since the coming of Governor Udom Emmanuel, we have done the final asphalting of kilometre zero to 15 and we are taking it from kilometre 15 to kilometre 23, that is 8 kilometres and the remaining 2 kilometres, we are paying compensation.
“And most important of all, I want to state clearly that all these did not even take into consideration the flood, the outfall drains that were supposed to have been done on that road. It is this administration that is coming up to consider constructing drains because all the communities on that road are having flood situations. We are considering how to now do the outfall drains.
“So my question would be; if you say this road was awarded at N71 billion and the duration was three years, it was supposed to have been completed in December 2014 and with two revisions, why was it not completed? Where did the money go to? These are very simple questions.
“Like I have said in my previous interviews, the only challenge we have on that road that kept the road was that there wasn’t any money in the bill one that we were supposed to use to pay compensation. And these facts have to be given to the public with figures and dates because you cannot deny the truth; it has to be brought out. I have the responsibility to bring out these details and I am determined to bring out all the details of other such awards when the need arises.
“If anybody contradicts what is on ground, just like the Ikot Ekara road in Oruk Anam, or anybody comes to deny the fact that road construction was not properly handled by Haamakop, and they want to contradict the fact that the payment for that job was not properly done, we will come out with the figures. So for the Uyo-Ikot Ekpene today, the figures are out. I want someone to contradict them,” he added.