30th June, 2010
For two hours yesterday, the Lagos State House of Assembly, South-West Nigeria, grilled Engr. Ganiu Johnson, Senior Assistant on Works, to the State Governor, Raji Fashola, and the Deputy Managing Director China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC), Mr. Li Qing Yong, of over the collapsed portion of LASU-Iba Road.
Engineer Johnson while answering several questions posed by the lawmakers, also indicted the contractor of the project, when he agreed that the N9.89 billion 18 kilometer road was rushed by the contractor.
This, it is believed could be the reason why the road gave way just within two years after its construction.
The Senior Assistant, who tried to defend the company, gave several reasons for the collapse of the road.
One of such reasons he gave was that the collapse was the immediate impact of climate change on the state despite the soil test that was carried out on the road before its construction began.
He also attributed the collapse to the heavy rainfall a day before the incident.
He also mentioned that the lack of drainage after the bridge on the road could be a reason just as he said signs that the road may collapse was noticed since last year, but that it happened suddenly when he had thought that there is still time.
He described the incident as a natural disaster while adding that when it was noticed, a proposal was sent to the state governor for him to include it in the phase two of the project.
He was, however, tongue lahsed by the lawmakers who did not find his explanation convincing enough. They accused the Ministry of Works of not being futuristic enough during the evaluation of the land for the road construction as most of them told the contractor to bear the cost of the repair of the failed portion.
According to Hon. Babatunde Ogala, â€œit is an international embarrassment that a road that was commissioned barely two years ago has become a monumental failure. For me I feel this explanation does not sound convincing enough.
â€œI see the whole thing as some faulty designs, lack of due diligence and not being futuristic. If I have my way I would insist that the cost of the repairs should be borne by the contractor.â€
Hon. Adeola Olamilekan, while decrying the fact that almost N4 billion was added to the original contract sum of N6.4 billion, said since the construction started, it has been emeshed in controversy.
He said the governor was never been satisfied with the road construction and that this was the reason the state government had not commissioned the road.
â€œOne of the reasons the governor refused to commission the road is what we are witnessing today. I can tell you that there are street lights on the road but the lights have not worked for a day. The lights have been there for over a year now.
The repair should be at the cost of the contractor and not on the state government,â€ he suggested.
For Hon. Abayomi Sadiq, the CCECC are not good contractors. He sited the Okota-Itire link bridge that was constructed by the company and had just been commissioned by the state government, adding that since it was commissioned, it had been facing various repairs.
â€œRecently, part of the bridge was just repaired and for two months, we were only using one way. It is sad that this incident has exposed the incompetence of the contractor handling the project,â€ he said.
Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, questioned the pedigree of the contractors before the projects were awarded to it. He lamented that since the commencement of the project, it has faced consistent repairs, while advising that the design given to the contractor and the terms of contract should be investigated.
Hon. Razak Balogun, who faulted the result of the soil test conducted on the road complained that with the huge sum which amounts to about $900 million the project should not have been badly handled.
He demanded a technical audit of the road, adding that the life span of the road should be 25 years.
Hon Sanai Agunbiade also faulted the various projects handled by the company in the state. He mentioned the culvert on Lekki Free Trade Zone, saying that the culvert was seriously defective.
While expressing his concern over the parlous state of roads, the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, complained about the way contractors are allowed by the Ministry of Works and other concerned agencies to do shoddy jobs.
He compared some roads constructed by this dispensation with the several ones by the Lateef Jakande era and concluded that roads constructed now do not last more than three years as most of them have gone bad.