By: Bamidele Fashube, Abuja
THE Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on Monday reacted to the controversial constituency road project awarded by the Ministry in Igarra, Akoko-Edo Federal Constituency, Edo State.
The ministry acknowledged the project but denied that contrary to popular assertions of being a 200m road, it was actually 300m. In a statement issued by the ministry, the contract was awarded through the Zonal Intervention Project as approved in the 2020 budget.
According to the ministry, the project was awarded at N45.3 million and not N360 million as claimed.
The project had raised public concerns when a resident showcased during a live video the poor quality of work done while implementing the contract. The footage revealed how the contractor constructed a drainage system with bare cement and sands without iron to fortify it.
The Edo state government also reacted to the viral video, and mandated an agency within the state to take over the project due to the shoddy job.
“The attention of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) has been brought to an online viral video of Friday 2nd July, 2021, as well as the letter dated 5th July, 2021, from the Rt. Hon. Peter O. Akpatason, mni, Deputy House Leader, House of Representatives on the ongoing construction of 200m link road and drains at Igarra Akoko-Edo Federal Constituency, Edo State domiciled in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
“The Ministry wishes to put the records straight, and as such, states that the said road construction is not a 200m but a 300m Zonal Intervention Project (ZIP) approved in the 2020 Appropriation Act and domiciled under supervision of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development,” statement from the agric ministry reads.
“The contract was awarded to Messrs. Royal Jeff Nigeria Limited in separate contract award letters based on quarterly releases in the sum of N45, 337,500.48 (Forty-five million, three hundred and thirty-seven thousand, five hundred Naira, forty-eight Kobo) between November 2020 and March 2021 with specified Bills of Engineering Measurement and Evaluation (BEME) commonly called Bill of Quantities (BOQ) through comprehensive procurement processes and not Three Hundred and Sixty Million Naira (N360,000,000) as being speculated in the social media.
“The said contractor subsequently mobilized to site after the ministry officially handed over the site to the company and commenced work. At the time of this development and currently, construction work is still ongoing at the site and work done yet to be evaluated, valued, verified and certified for payment formalities.”
“It should be noted that before the contractor will be assessed for payment upon completion of the project, proper certifications by the relevant Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDA’s) will be carried out,” it stated further.
However, the ministry applauded members of the public for raising alarm over the project. It stressed it would help hold contractors accountable
“The Government and good people of Edo State should be rest assured that this development is being closely monitored to ensure that the contractor complies with the BOQ standard and where found unsatisfactory, payment will not be processed.”