Nigeria’s House of Representatives Committee on Public Petition has commended the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola for ensuring compliance with local content in the execution of road projects.
The commendation was made during the public hearing on a petition written by the Abak community on the ongoing reconstruction work of Abak Ekparakwa-Eke-Ikot – Abasi Road in Akwa Ibom State.
Chairman of the Committee, Jerry Alagboso applauded the Minister’s committment in “ensuring that contractors complied with local content as provided in the Executive Order Two for support for local content in procurement of goods and services.”
The Committee urged the Minister to henceforth engage more with the beneficiary community of any road project for them to understand what is involved in the project being executed in their community, to avoid misguided and ill informed insinuations.
Reacting to the accusation of the community for non compliance with the local content, Mr Fashola explained that the employees engaged by the company were largely indigenous people which were over 50 in number, stressing that materials such as laterite, sand and cement were also locally sourced.
Mr Fashola also presented pictorial evidence of the conditions of the road in question and explained that some sections of the road were largely motorable consequently, only rehabilitation work were necessary there.
He said that “the company was working according to specification as contained in the contract agreement which stated for reconstruction of the twenty kilometres failed part of the road and rehabilitation of the remaining motorable fifteen kilometres.”
The Minister commended the passion of the community on the project, however advised the community to consider the long term benefits of the road instead of concentrating on the short term benefits that they could get from the work.
Such benefit include easy movement of goods from their farms to market, attraction of investment and employment generation that would be derived from the completion of the project.
Mr Fashola further said that “his Ministry has a clear course of behaviour of monitoring projects closely to ensure quality control and compliance with specification as he is receiving monthly updated reports from states’ controllers of the ministry.”
The Abak community had alleged in their petition that the contractor was not working according to specification because the contract given to them was to convert the road to a dual carriage way.
They also accused the company of not ensuring local content in their work.