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FG berates RCC’s failure to complete East-West Road despite N40bn funding

THE Federal Government has criticised Reynolds Construction Company (RCC) for failing to complete even one kilometre (km) out of the 15km East-West Road section from Eleme Junction to Onne Port Junction in Rivers State, despite the over N40 billion mobilisation funds paid to the company.

The Minister of Works, David Umahi, expressed dismay during his inspection tour of ongoing road projects in the south-south zone on Wednesday, June 19.

In a statement posted on the ministry’s website, Umahi said, “We are very sad with the manners and behaviours of this contractor, RCC. The federal government has paid over N40 billion on this project, and not even one kilometre has been completed.”

Lamenting the sufferings of road users, he expressed the intention to source funds to maintain the road for the time being pending when the company remobilises to the site.

“So, we have to see where we can search for funds and get any contractor around here to maintain the road. We need to maintain the road. We need to pity the people. It’s not acceptable what our people are passing through for an excuse from RCC that they are importing machines for the job,” the minister decried.

The east-west road has been a tale of sorrow, tears and deaths for motorists and other road users.

On April 26, 2024, a pregnant woman and four other road users were burnt to death by a tanker explosion, which occurred as a result of a collision of two trailers, whose drivers were jostling for space in the bad spots.

Over 50 trucks and tricycles, among others, were razed in the inferno, the Guardian documented in a report.

Also, on October 13, 2022, four people were killed after a 40-foot tanker lost its balance on the narrow bridge along the road pushing a moving Toyota Sienna car and Toyota Hilux from the only narrow bridge into the Aleto River.

The incident happened barely seven days after eight persons in a commercial bus from trailer park in Onne, heading to Port Harcourt died after their bus skidded off while trying to navigate through the bad spots.

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In August 2017, a teenage girl was smashed to death by a heavy-duty vehicle in an attempt to navigate through a bad spot.

Of the 338km in the east-west road covering Warri to Oron through Kaima and Ahoada, the major section said to be causing the grave pains is about 15km.

The ICIR has reported of the inordinate delay in project execution by the RCC.




     

     

    It documented how the construction of the 9th Mile – Orokam road, a 72km road contract awarded RCC at N38.03 billion in May 2017 with a completion period of 36 months was not completed more than five years later.

    The project was intended to improve transportation infrastructure and restore the nation’s road network as part of the implementation of the Federal Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, like other road projects.

    Data on the Govspend platform tracked that between 2018 and June 2022, RCC at different times received over N3.5 billion for the rehabilitation of the road.

    At the time, the then Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing, Mustapha Shehuri, directed RCC to immediately provide palliative measures to the rough portions of the road to ease the sufferings of road users.

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