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East-West Road: FG suspends work over slow pace, substandard materials

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The Federal Government has ordered the immediate suspension of reconstruction work on the Eleme-Onne section of the East-West Road in Rivers State.

Minister of Works, David Umahi, gave the order in Port Harcourt, yesterday, during a media chat with newsmen.

The former Ebonyi State Governor said the decision followed the use of substandard materials by the contractor handling the project.

The minister, who noted that he had carried out inspection of ongoing work the previous day on the projects, expressed sadness over the slow pace of work even after government made an advance payment of N33 billion to ensure that no sharp practice was recorded.

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He maintained that the work had to stop pending when some irregularities concerning the project would be resolved.

He said: “The project must benefit the people, we don’t care. The raining season is coming in two months and the people will keep suffering. You have our N33 billion. Do you know how the interest rate is every month on the bill?”

Umahi said he was ordered by the President to pay the sum of N33 billion for the commencement of works on the road in September after some Rivers State indigenes went to see him.

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He said that he got to the location in September to discover that the sand being used by the contractors was not the recommended river sharp.

“What we paid for is river sharp sand. I’m not satisfied. When I saw that sand, I wasn’t happy,” he said.

The minister said he had directed that the sand be removed but was “very shocked that instead of removing the sand, they had continued with the sand.

“The contractor is carrying out the job, but at snail speed. If we allow him even another five years, he will not finish it. So we are not going to allow him.”

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