Hartland Nigeria Limited, the contractor handling the reconstruction of the 50-km Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene Road in Abia State, officially returned to site Thursday to resume work on the project.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the Federal Government first awarded the N13.2 billion contract to the company in 2019 but the job was stalled by the paucity of funds.
The Federal Executive Council, in 2021, re-approved the project for funding by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) through the Road Tax Credit Scheme.
Speaking with reporters after inspecting the site, the company’s Managing Director, Fayez Khalaf, said the company had started mobilising equipment to the site.
He said the federal government had released the fund, including the outstanding, to enable the company to expedite action on the project.
Mr Khalaf said that their immediate focus was to rehabilitate the deplorable 10-km Umuahia-Oboro portion of the road this dry season in order to end the sufferings of the road users.
He said the company would need to fill the failed portions, especially at the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike section.
“We are bringing in more equipment.
“We have made some big investments to increase the number of equipment and workforce on the project,” Mr Khalef said.
He stated the company’s commitment to ensure thorough rehabilitation of the single-carriage way with drainages due to be delivered by 2023.
Also, the lawmaker representing Ikwuano-Umuahia Federal Constituency, Sam Onuigbo, who facilitated the project, expressed joy over the resumption of work by the contractor.
Mr Onuigbo told reporters that the resumption of work meant that the pressures he mounted on the Federal Ministry of Works and contractor had yielded results.
He said he felt very hopeful and expectant that the project would soon be delivered to alleviate the plight of his constituents and other road users.
“During my meeting with the Minister of Works and the contractor last week, I told them the need to take advantage of the dry season to return to site,” Mr Onuigbo said.
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