The award of the 11-kilometre Ningi-Gudduba township road project at the cost of over N10.3 billion by the government of Bauchi State is generating controversy within the state.
The governor flagged off the construction of the road last Sunday. He said when the project is completed, the road will boost the state’s economy and bring development to Ningi town in particular.
The governor said the 11-kilometre road project was awarded to MotherCart Nig. Ltd at the sum of over N10.3 billion and will be completed in 18 months.
The governor said the contract was awarded given its strategic importance, as a gateway to the commercial city of Kano and other parts of northern Nigeria.
However, the cost for the construction of the road quoted by the governor is generating controversy.
One of those questioning the cost of the road is a former Kaduna senator, Shehu Sani.
Mr Sani in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, wondered at the high cost of the construction. While sharing a link to a story about the road, he asked why the construction of ”a kilometre of road cost N1 billion”.
However, some residents of Ningi faulted the former senator’s concern.
A group of Ningi indigenes, Ningi Grassroots Development Association (NGDA), in a statement, said critics of the cost of the road are ignorant of the enormity of work and compensation payment involved in the project execution.
The chairman of the association, Yusuf Yunusa, said the project includes compensations for residential buildings, commercial shops, and a filling station, as it also entails the construction of six bridges, culverts, and affected farmlands, among others.
“The (project) will provide road shoulders, people’s double walkways, pedestrian crossing, and street lights to boost the security of the area, forestalling auto-crashes that have been the phenomenon of the road for decades,” Mr Yunusa said.
Also, the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) in Bauchi State, defended the cost of the project and dismissed as misleading concerns that the cost of the road is inflated.
The NSE’s chairman in the state, Muhammad Ibrahim, told journalists in Bauchi on Monday that various factors were responsible for the high cost of the road project.
Mr Ibrahim said it’s erroneous and misleading to speculate that the state government awarded the contract for the construction of each kilometre of the 11km road at the cost of N1 billion.
“The (11-kilometre) project is not a single lane road but a dual carriage one. It is essential to understand that infrastructure projects, especially road construction, involve various factors that contribute to the overall cost.
“The cost estimation for such a project considers not only the length of the road but also the terrain, soil conditions, drainage requirements, environmental considerations, and the need for quality materials.
“Therefore, any attempt to oversimplify the cost based solely on the length of the road may not capture the full picture. Notably, every Nigerian is aware of the rising cost of everything including construction materials.
“It is important for the public to be aware that infrastructure development comes with a price, and investments in quality roads have long-term benefits for the community.
“As engineers, we understand the technical complexities involved in such projects, and we commend the government for its diligence and dedication towards ensuring that these projects are executed with precision and efficiency.
“In light of this, we commend the Bauchi State Government for prioritising infrastructure development, which undoubtedly contributes to the overall well-being of the citizens and stimulates economic growth,” Mr. Ibrahim said.
Meanwhile, the Bauchi State Commissioner of Information, Danturaki Garba, said he was not present when the governor flagged off the project.
He, however, promised to provide further details about the project and revert to this reporter.
However, after waiting for more than 24 hours he could not be reached subsequently to provide the information he promised to get.
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