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Petition over Ife-Ifewara Road: RCCG Apologizes To Works and Housing Ministry

·      As Fashola says no payments were made in respect of rehabilitation of  the road between 2016 and 2019 
·      “The Ministry of Works and Housing deserves apology and I tender it unreservedly” – Petitioner
·      Minister explains that amount paid to contractor in 2011 was four years before Buhari’s administration
·      Says there is move to sanction recalcitrant contractors

The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Thursday in Abuja tendered an “unreserved apology” to the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing over its allegation of “false claims on the rehabilitation of Ife-Afewara Road in Osun State” saying it was based on a false premise.

The RCCG, in a petition to the Senate, had claimed that it had good reason to believe that the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing had paid N151.51 million to Messrs. Cartill Construzioni Nigeria Limited for the rehabilitation of Ife-Ifewara Road, a work which, according to the petitioner, was indeed carried out by the Church.

In the petition dated 24th March, 2021, Secretary to the General Overseer of the RCCG, Pastor Niyi Adebanjo, claimed that the Church, after carrying out the rehabilitation of the road, learnt that the aforementioned company, which was awarded the contract since 2010 and had abandoned the work for over six years, had been paid by the Ministry for the work praying that the Money be retrieved from the company.

But responding to the allegation at a public hearing before the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, said there was no proof to support the position of the petitioner that an unjust claim was made by Contractor or paid by the Ministry between 2016 and 2019.

Fashola, who explained that the road in question was a State Road, added that the contract for its rehabilitation was awarded by the Federal Government in 2010 as a Parliamentary Constituency Project and domiciled in the budget of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, hence the intervention by the Ministry.

Clarifying that both the award of the contract and payment of the said contract sum were made between 2010 and 2011, four years before the Buhari Administration came to being, the Minister explained further that the contract was awarded on December 21, 2010 to the contractor in the sum of N662, 760,771.75 with a commencement date of March 7, 2011 and completion date of November 7, 2011.

On the sum of N151.51 million paid to the Contractor, he explained that the payment made in two tranches, was statutorily made adding that while the first payment of N99,414,115.76, made on March 31, 2011, represented 15 percent of contract sum, the second payment of N52,094,785., made on December 29, 2011, was based on submission of an Interim Statement.

Fashola said the contractor achieved only 26.21 percent project completion before abandoning the project adding that the contract was as a result recommended for termination “for breach of contract” after warning letters were served on the Contractor first on March 5, 2014 and final warning on June 15, 2015.

Noting that before any payment was made to any contractor, there has to be actual work done, measured and certified and recommended for consideration for approval for payment, Fashola, however, added that since the contract awarded to Messrs. Cartill had not been formally terminated, there has been budgetary provision for the road since 2010, except in years when it had zero budgeting, but the budgeted sum has never been processed since 2011 following the dismal performance of the Contractor.
The Minister, who hinted on plans by the Ministry to sanction recalcitrant contractors by opening a “black book” for them based on appropriate legal advice, declared, “It is clear that contrary to the claims of RCCG, the Contractor, Cartill Nigeria Limited, did not make a claim for a refund for the cost expended on the rehabilitation of the road between 2016 and 2019”, adding that the Ministry also did not make any such payment to the Contractor.

“The Federal Ministry of Works and Housing did not certify any work done on the road by the Contractor between 2016 and 2019”, he said reiterating that the two payments made to the Contractor were made in March and December 2011 respectively, “four years before the commencement of this Administration in 2014”.

Maintaining that the Ministry did not consider or grant approval for anyone to intervene on the road, Fashola, who said the RCCG did not seek or obtain such approval further declared, “the federal Ministry of Works and Housing is not liable to make any refund to anyone in respect of the Road which is the statutory responsibility of the Osun State Government”.

The Minister explained further that although the RCCG could be commended for the work done, there are procedures and processes for such interventions be they on Federal or State Roads, adding that the Petitioner could have sought clarification either from the Ministry of any other relevant agencies of government instead of petitioning the Senate.

The Petitioner, Pastor Adebanjo, in his response expressed deep regrets for taking the matter to the Senate saying it was not, however, meant to embarrass the Minister or his Ministry but in the spirit of fighting corruption by ensuring that the money paid to the contractor was retrieved and paid to the federal Government coffers.

However, on realizing that the claims he made in his petition had no factual proof and as noted by one of the Senate Committee members who advised that he should do the needful on account of available evidence, Adebanjo said, “For the fact that the Ministry of Works deserves an apology and because the whole world is listening to us, I tender that apology unreservedly before this Senate Committee”.

In his submissions, the Chairman of the Committee commended the Minister for coming personally, “as always when we invite you” to respond to the petition and throwing more light on the whole issue adding that other officials of Government should borrow a leaf from him. 

Other members of the Committee, who spoke, also commended the Minister for his diligence and commitment to every assignment pertaining to his responsibilities. They also noted with satisfaction that there was move by the Ministry to bring recalcitrant contractors to book.

Also accompanying the Minister to the hearing were some Directors, Special Advisers and other top officials of the Ministry.

Ife-Ifewara Road Project: No Money Was Paid During My Tenure Fashola Responds To RCCG Petition “Ministry of Works and Housing deserves an apology from us and because the whole world is listening to us, I tender that apology “Unreservedly”, Petitioner The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN has clarified the issue of payment to Cartil Construction Nigeria Limited in respect of the rehabilitation of Ife-Ifewara road in Osun State even as the Redeem Christian Church of God apologized to the Ministry for its allegation that payment was made to the Contractor by the Ministry for the rehabilitation of the road which was done by the Church between 2016 and 2019. Speaking on Thursday 15 April, 2021 at the Public Hearing of the the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, the Minister clarified that no payment had been made by the current administration with respect to the rehabilitation of the road. The Minister stated that the contract was awarded to Messrs. Cartill Construction Nigeria Limited five years before the Buhari Administration and six years before he was appointed as a Minister of Works and Housing. Countering the allegation by RCCG that monies were paid to the contactor, Fashola debunked the allegation saying that the then Minister of Works only approved the mandatory 15% mobilization fee on 31st March, 2011 and another payment was made after the work had reached about 26.21% on 29th December, 2011. “These payments were all made four years before the Buhari’s administration,”, he explained. Responding further to the petition, the Minister stated that the Ministry did not make any payment to the contractor as a refund or certify any work done between 2016 and 2019, adding that the road in question was not a federal road but the contract was initiated as Parliamentary Constituency Project which was domiciled in the budget of the Ministry, hence the intervention of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing. While he thanked the Chairman and other distinguished members of the committee for its impartial and dispassionate consideration of the petition, Mr. Fashola said that there was no basis for the petition by way of facts or evidence. While commending the leadership of RCCG for intervening in the rehabilitation of the road, Fashola explained that there were procedures to be followed in intervening on Federal and State roads. Responding on behalf of RCCG, the Petitioner, Pastor Niyi Adebanjo apologized to the Minister saying that the petition was not targeted at him, but was meant to expose some perceived sharp practices.  He said that they thought that the Federal Government was to approve another payment for the road which was rehabilitated free by Pastor Encoh Adeboye as part of the church’s social corporate responsibility. He said: “The rehabilitation of the road was awarded and paid for by Pastor Enoch Adeboye, hence any further claim by any company should be seen as illegal and unjust.” “Ministry of Works and Housing deserves an apology from us and because the whole world is listening to us, I tender that apology “Unreservedly”, Petitioner On behalf of the Committee, the Chairman, Senator Patrick Akinyelure, commended the Minister for his presentation and for correcting the impression that some monies were paid during the Buhari led administration. He said that the purpose of the public hearing was to clear all grey areas regarding payments that were alleged to be paid by the Federal Ministry and not to witch-hunt anybody. While commending the RCCG for the intervention and for crying out for the perceived wrong doing, he charged them to follow due procedure and guideline in future intervention to avoid a repeat of such occurrence.  
FG Committed to Building Quality Roads - Fashola Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola SAN has reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government in providing quality road infrastructure across the nation. The Minister stated this during an inspection visit to the sections I and II of the ongoing dualisation/expansion of Abuja–Keffi– Akwanga road construction project Fashola was in company of the Honourable Minister of State for Works and Housing Engr. Abubakar Aliyu during the inspection. He said that the quality of road construction across the nation cannot be compromised as the Ministry had the manpower and the technical know-how to build good road of international standard. The Minister noted that all the nation’s highway projects are critical and strategic, describing the Akwanga-Makurdi road, linking the north central and north east as strategic and as such the Federal Government is doing all that is possible to complete it to standard and not rushing them to avoid shabby work. “The essence is to make life better for the people, ease traffic flow for the commuters and promote economic activities of the citizens" he stated Fashola explained that a lot of activities are involved in road construction, such as excavation, cutting down of trees, relocation of existing structures to have clear access for construction. He explained that during the road construction citizens' rights are highly considered and their right of ownership protected in terms of compensation and related matters “We respect human activities along the road, we have to meet them, talk to them and agree with them. We have to remove electrical installations and all that for our work to move on “he said. Earlier, the Project Consultant informed the Minister that they have made a lot of progress with an aggregate of 45.8 percent completion of work in Section I (Abuja-Keffi) and 41percent completion in section II (Keffi-Akwanga). Breaking down the work progress, the Consultant stated that, 90 percent has been achieved in the construction of culverts and drainages, 60 percent attained in bridges and 40 percent in the pavement construction. He also listed: relocation of utilities (telecom, water & electricity), compensation, Covid-19 lockdown and outstanding payment as part of their challenges. In his contribution, the Federal Controller of Works, Nasarawa State, Engr. Daikwo told the Ministers that the progress of work on the road is encouraging even as the Covid-19 lockdown had affected its progress. He informed the Ministers that the land acquisition and compensation process is at an advanced stage, while relocation of existing services away from the proposed road corridor is still pending and requires client action. The 220km Abuja- Keffi-Akwanga-Lafia- Makurdi road project is 85% funded by the Chinese Export-Import Bank and 15% counterpart fund from the Federal Government which is a budget issue. “For those who have issues with the borrowing, they can now come and see what it has done. All the people who work here would probably not have work to do if not for the borrowing" Fashola said. The Project is being implemented by the Road Sector Development Team (RSDT) Unit of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing  
*“Stop the abuse of roads”, FG appeals to road users.* The Federal Government has appealed to road users to stop the misuse of roads as it threatens their safety and leads to unnecessary loss of lives and properties. The Director of Highway Construction and Rehabilitation in the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Engineer Funsho  Adebiyi  made this appeal while speaking to some correspondents in  Abuja on the  state of federal roads. Adebiyi speaking specifically on the Enugu - Onitsha expressway complained that drivers were using  pavements of the highways which are being mistaken for a third lane while heavy duty trucks park on them sometimes for days to carry out maintenance work and change diesel thereby pouring some on the roads, a practice which he described as a threat to the safety and life span of the roads. Engineer Adebiyi said, “The Heavy duty trucks park on the shoulders of the road and carry out maintenance work thereby spoiling it. The parking on the road is a threat to the safety of our roads, in addition our people still over speed.” The Director pointed out that from the reports of the Federal Road Safety Commission reckless driving accounts for about 35% of road accidents while bad roads account for only 1.3%. Engineer Adebiyi said when the roads were bad people were clamouring for the repairs but now that they are being fixed over speeding, overloading and reckless driving have become threats to life. The Director also spoke on the misconception by some members of the public that the Umuomi  - Awka road in Anambra State  was a  3 carriageway. He explained that what makes it look like a 3 carriageway was the pavement which had been redesigned to strengthen the shoulders of the road into hard core due to heavy duty trucks plying the road. Engineer Adebiyi said “Because of the heavy duty trucks  that pass there we now redesigned the pavement so that the shoulders are now hard core.” "They are designed to carry the same weight as the 2 carriageway." He further said, “What we have in the current situation is that the drivers now run on the shoulder but as they approach the flyover, it closes down into 2 lanes, they don’t realize that what they were using was not actually a carriageway but a shoulder and erroneously conclude that the Engineers were reducing the width of the road to 2 instead of 3 carriageways.” The Director who also noted that people were complaining that the pavement was not marked said binders are not marked until pavement is completed just as a house is not painted until plastering is done. He explained further that the reason why the pavement is opened  for use even as work is yet to be completed is to ensure smooth traffic flow and test running of the under laying materials while using it so that if there is any error it would be detected and promptly corrected while the engineers were still there. He disclosed that the Ministry was taking steps to do the shoulder markings, adding that a mini speed breaker would also be put in place to check over speeding. Engineer Adebiyi  said that the Federal Ministry of Works and Housig had projects in virtually every section of the trunk A roads which run across the country with Engineers in each of the sections working simultaneously. He added that every state of the Federation had a Federal Controller of Works who reports to the Zonal Controller who in turn reports to him, adding that the structure allows  steady delivery of work.
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HDMI: RFQ, E-Portal For Private Sector Open Today

…as Works & Housing Ministry begins procurement process for highway Concessionaires

In continuation of efforts to bring private sector resources and efficiency to the development and management of federal highway corridors under its novel Highway Management and Development Initiative (HMDI), the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing has today opened the e-portal https://hdmi.worksandhousing.gov.ng for the submission of Request for Qualification (RFQ) applications.

The submission of the RFQ application for the Value-Added Concession (VAC) component of the HDMI, begins today, Monday, March 29.

The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola SAN, had last week disclosed that the portal would ensure competitiveness and guarantee transparency in the process.

He had said that no staff of the ministry would interface with the public in the management of the HDMI conceived in 2020, from procurement to implementation.

The Value-Added Concession (VAC) component of the HDMI officially advertised today seeks to concession 12 federal highways to qualified individuals and consortia for management in the first phase.

The 12 highways which were carefully chosen to cover the six-geopolitical zones include the Benin-Asaba, Abuja-Lokoja, Kano-Katsina, Onitsha-Owerri, Shagamu-Benin, Abuja-Keffi-Akwanga and Kano-Maiduguri Expressways.

The others are Lokoja-Benin, Enugu-Port Harcourt, Ilorin-Jebba, Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta and Lagos-Badagry Expressways. They amount to a total of 1,963.24 kilometres, which is 5.6 per cent of the 35,000km Federal road network.

The e-portal opened today contains all the information the public needs, including access to relevant documents, news updates, and videos.

The portal is vital for e-procurement as it allows the management of the PPP procurement process for the VAC category, and the process of approvals and permits under the Unbundled Assets Approval (UAA). In addition, it includes a Vendors Market Place for the promotion of local businesses and vendor partnerships with prospective concessionaires.

The HDMI seeks to leverage private sector investment to improve facilities and operations on the selected 12 highways, maximize the routes' revenue-generating potential, and ensure international best practices in developing and managing the nation's highways.

It is also important to note that the Federal Government is currently executing over 700 different contracts, which aggregates to the rehabilitation and reconstruction of over 13,000 km of roads and bridges across all 36 states, including the Federal Capital Territory.


Minister Of State Works And Housing Sympathizes With Traders Over Potiskum Market Fire

The Minister of State for Works and Housing, Engineer Abubakar D. Aliyu, has sympathized with traders who lost their goods at the Saturday fire that razed most parts of the Potiskum Central Market in Yobe State.

The minister, in a statement on Sunday, extended his heartfelt sympathy to all the traders affected by the fire incident, praying to Almighty Allah (SWT) to replace their monumental loss.

The Potiskum market fire occurred on March 6, 2021, and razed down shops majorly around Layin Masko, thereby destroying goods worth millions of naira, according to eye witnesses.

Engineer Aliyu said: “It is with heavy heart that I extend my sympathy to the traders of Potiskum Central Market who lost their property in the tragic fire incident that occurred Saturday night, March 6, 2021.

“I prayed to Almighty Allah (SWT) to console the traders who lost multi-million naira goods in the tragedy. I also prayed to Almighty Allah to replenish their wealth once again.” 

The minister said the tragedy has not affected only the traders who lost their property, but the entire good people of Potiskum and Yobe state in general. 

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The Highway Development Management Initiative Ministerial Notice Delivered By H.E Babatunde Raji Fashola, San At The Conference Hall Of The Ministry Of Works And Housing On Tuesday, 22nd March 2021

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our Permanent Secretary has already welcomed you all to this event, the official ministerial notice of the commencement of the Highway Development Management Initiative (HDMI).

What remains for me to do is to get on with the business of issuing the notice for the HDMI to commence the procurement process; after a few preliminary remarks.

As you all know, one of the early initiatives of the Buhari administration was to improve the ease of doing business, and it is no secret that infrastructure was going to be an important driver of this initiative.

Since 2015, the administration has made no pretence about its commitment to improve the stock of infrastructure both in qualitative and quantitative terms in many sectors from roads and bridges, to rail, airports and seaports to mention a few.

Currently the government is executing over 700 different contracts which aggregates to the rehabilitation and reconstruction of over 13,000 km of roads and bridges across all the 36 states including the Federal Capital Territory.

As a result of the size of the undertaking, there is an increasing and unsatisfied demand for funding to finance these projects to completion and to maintain them.

There is also the need to finance other complementary services like weigh bridges, rest houses, towing vehicles and road furniture which seem better suited for the commercial initiative of the private sector.

In the interim, government is constrained to borrow, offer tax credit, increase her revenue mobilization capacities in order to sustain this massive infrastructure renaissance.

This is the background to the HDMI which is another effort to mobilize private capacity, resources, and entrepreneurship into the Nigerian highway sector; and hopefully convert roads from just social assets into assets of commercial opportunities and enterprise.

The HDMI is made up of 2 categories namely the Value-added Concessions (VAC) and the Unbundled Assets Approvals (UAA).

The UAA provides opportunity for small businesses to take advantage of the commercial opportunities that are available along the ROW while under the VAC the road pavement and entire right of way is concessioned for development and management by the concessionaire .

The VAC will be rolled out in phases, and this First Phase involves 12 roads namely:

1.    BENIN – ASABA (125KM);

2.    ABUJA – LOKOJA (193KM);

3.    KANO – KATSINA (150KM);

4.    ONITSHA – OWERRI – ABA (161KM);

5.    SHAGAMU – BENIN (258KM);

6.    ABUJA – KEFFI – AKWANGA (122KM);

7.    KANO – MAIDUGURI (lot 1 Kano-Shuari 100KM ;

       lot 2 Potiskum-Damaturu 96.24KM )

8.    LOKOJA – BENIN (270KM);


10.    ILORIN – JEBBA (129KM);

11.    LAGOS – OTA – ABEOKUTA (80KM);

12.    LAGOS – BADAGRY (79KM)

These 12 roads were carefully chosen to ensure that each of the 6 (SIX) geo political zones are covered.

They aggregate in total to 1963.24 km which is 5.6% of the 35,000 km Federal road network.

The initial capital investments that we foresee is something in the order of NGN 1,134,690,048,000.76 and the employment potentials are an estimated 50,000+ direct jobs and 200,000+ indirect jobs.

The process started on the 17th June 2020 with legislative consultation to get parliamentary support and endorsement which I believe was successful and we are assured that if there is need for legislative support, the response will be reasonably swift.

It was followed by a Stakeholder consultation (webinar) which held on the 25th June, 2020 with Over 1,173 participants including critical stakeholders such as legislative representatives, representatives from the executive, prospective concessionaires, road users, media and industry experts;  a market sounding session was also held on the 31st August, 2020 with 162 participants. 

In the course of this journey, we have struck strategic partnerships with some high-profile brands who have offered their services in various aspects of the project development such as KPMG, UK NIAF, Lagos Business School etc.

We look forward to further exploring and strengthening these partnerships and the clear terms of the relationships will be notified to the public in due course as they are important to the success that we expect.

As published, not only has the right of way of the 12 roads been fully gazetted, the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) , as a regulatory body for concessions of this nature, has issued the Certificate of Compliance for the Outline Business Case that is necessary to commence the process.

On the 3rd of March 2021, the Federal Executive Council (FEC), the highest executive decision-making organ of the Nigerian Federal Government was notified about the commencement of the procurement process.

In order to ensure competitiveness and to guarantee transparency, a procurement portal has been developed to serve as the interface with the public and manage the HDMI from Procurement to Implementation.

The portal will provide:

a.    An  interface that will provide the public all the information they need to know about the Initiative. It will give access to relevant documents, news updates, videos and so on;

b.    E-procurement – The management of the PPP procurement  process of the VAC and the process of approvals and permits under the UAA;

c.    Vendor Market Place – This has specifically been included to promote local businesses and vendor partnerships with prospective concessionaires.

Therefore, let me say to all those who have been writing letters of inquiry, making offers of interest on the HDMI, offering to provide services like tolling, weigh bridge, rest houses and so on; we are sorry we cannot respond to those letters in order to maintain the integrity of this process and to keep the playing field level.

To all of you and to those who have not written or called, the day is now upon us, the venue is fixed and I have the pleasure to announce that the HDMI portal https://hdmi.worksandhousing.gov.ng/)  will open on Monday the 29th March, 2021.

The portal will be open for all HDMI related functions as earlier stated and most importantly   the RFQ application for the VAC which will be officially advertised on the same day.

Please visit the portal and I wish you all a very interactive and rewarding experience.

Let me repeat that all our transactions will be done through this portal and we will not entertain any personal inquiries to me or to any of our staff who have correspondingly been mandated not to entertain such requests.

Let me conclude by saying that we expect a vibrant process and a successful one that unleashes the commercial opportunities on Nigerian highways from paved roads, to clean and well-maintained highways, proper signage and route assurance signs, rest houses and commuter support for emergencies like vehicle towing and repairs.

We expect a splendid and safer commuting experience for all users of these roads as a result of the HDMI.

I thank all members of the Ministry and the ICRC and our partners especially KPMG and UKNIAF who worked tirelessly to bring us so far and urge them to prepare for more hard work in weeks and months ahead in order to bring this initiative to conclusion. More grease to their very hardworking elbows.

Thank you all.

Babatunde Raji Fashola SAN
Honourable Minister for Works and Housing



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Hon. Minister of Works & Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola,SAN(middle), Minister of State in the Ministry, Engr. Abubakar Aliyu(left) and Project Manager, China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC), Engr. Hussaini Shagbo(right) during the inspection of the ongoing construction work on the expansion of 5.4km Abuja - Keffi Expressway and Dualization of Keffi - Akwanga - Lafia - Makurdi Road project in Nasarawa State on Tuesday, 30th March 2021

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Hon. Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola,SAN (left), Director, Highways South – West Zone, Engr. Adedamola Kuti (right),and Federal Controller of Works in Lagos State, Engr. Olukayode Popoola (middle) during an inspection of the completed Rehabilitation of Outer Marina, Bonny Camp Road and Eko Bridge through Apongbon Bridge with Access ramps in Lagos State on Saturday, 3rd April 2021

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