FACT-CHECK: Truths, half-truths and lies of FG’s ongoing projects in S’East
In August 2018, the federal government released a list of 69 road and bridge projects it claimed were on-going in the South East after the five governors of the region condemned the perceived neglect of the region through infrastructure and developmental projects. Of the 69 reported on-going projects in the region, Ripples Nigeria’s PATRICK EGWU toured the 24 located in Enugu state, in a thorough fact-checking mission, to verify the claims and actual status of the projects – completed, on-going or abandoned.
Of all the roads in the South East region, the Enugu-Onitsha express road is perhaps, one of the worst. It has almost become impassable for road users who ply it every day. The beginning section of the road in Enugu, leading to Anambra state has become a death-trap with many accidents recorded, according to reports from the Federal Road Safety Commission.
In July 2018, a family of seven alongside their neighbour’s child, died along Onyeama Hill, leading to the Enugu-Onitsha express road after a tragic accident. This is one in many of the cases of tragic road clashes along the road for years.
From 2009 to 2014, three major road projects, for different sums of money, were awarded to different companies on the Enugu-Onitsha express road.
On April 6, 2009, the sum of N7,351,344,974.40 was budgeted for the rehabilitation of Enugu bound carriageway of the Onitsha-Enugu road, phase I of section I. The project was awarded to CCC Construction Nigeria Limited with contract number: 5929. A month later, on May 14, 2009, a similar project was budgeted for N7,251,451,515.00 for the rehabilitation of Onitsha-Enugu dual carriageway section II (Anambra State Border-Enugu) with contract number 5988 to Niger Construction Limited.
Unfortunately, the roads, ever since, have remained the same – a death trap and impassable for road users despite the huge budgetary allocations. While some minor constructions and asphalting were done on one section of the road between 2010 and 2011, it was never completed and soon, the section of the road constructed damaged because of the poor quality asphalt and lack of water ways. Also, because motorists only use the constructed lanes, it became easy for the portion of the road to damage easily.
On December 17, 2014, another budget of N24,243,308,789.82 was made for the rehabilitation of the outstanding section of the Onitsha-Enugu expressway through the Amansea-Enugu state border. The contract awarded to RCC Nigeria Limited, has 6266 as contract number. Nothing was done on the road after the contract was awarded until recently. Major construction works are currently on-going at some sections of the road – starting from Enugu and leading to Amansea, Anambra state. A part of one section of the road has been fully constructed but blocked from road users.
When this reporter visited the project sites, tractors, bulldozers and construction workers were seen steadily working on the road. Construction yards are stationed along the road where asphalt and other materials used in constructing the roads are produced. However, now that work has started on the road, one section of the road was closed down, making road users to use the “one-way” pattern – driving opposite each other. This has been one of the causes of road crashes leading to death on most occasions.
“The work is progressing gradually,” said one of the contractors at the project site who refused to give his name. “I can’t say when because this is a very long road but all I know is that very soon travellers will soon enjoy a free ride,” he said, when asked the possible time of completion of the project.
9th Mile roads are death traps
For the rehabilitation of 9th Mile Orokam road, N38,034,539,413.79 was budgeted and awarded to RCC Nigeria Limited with contract number 6290. Work had not commenced when Ripples Nigeria visited the project sites. However, gravel and sand were seen heaped along the road with some road signs.
Awarded on May 14, 2009 to CCC Construction Nigeria Limited for N9,675,139,731.00, the rehabilitation of 9th Mile-Enugu Port Harcourt dual carriageway with border to Enugu-Abia state is on-going, though at a slow pace, specifically at one section of the road. This reporter saw tractors and bulldozers moving into the construction yard along the road.
Umulumbe-Umuoka Amokwu Ikedimkpe Egede-Ojieyi Awhum road
Linking the whole of South East region to Abuja, Kogi, Benue and other northern and Middle-Belt states, the Umulumbe-Umuoka-Amokwu Ikedimkpe Egede-Ojieyi Awhum road has collapsed and is undoubtedly, the worst road in the region, filled with pot-holes, making it almost impassable for road users. Heavy duty trucks falling at intervals and causing havoc for road users are frequent. Awarded in June to IDC Construction Limited for N6, 245,100,307.91, the road has been abandoned by successive administrations.
Two years ago, the government of Enugu state embarked on a project tagged “Enugu State Intervention on Federal Roads.” The aim of the project was to fix all damaged federal roads in the state including this section of the road since the federal government and successive governments have abandoned the road. However, while the Enugu state project fixed some federal roads in the state, this section of the road was left untouched. Because of the nature of the road, users fall victim to armed robbers at night despite police presence. Despite the state government’s intervention on the federal roads with more than N25 billion, the federal government is reportedly yet to refund the money.
However, as at the time of visiting the road, IDC, the company which got the contract for the road and few construction workers were seen doing some patching and rehabilitation works in some parts of the road especially the very bad spots.
“This road has become a nightmare to us,” said Samson Ogara, a heavy duty truck driver who plies the road all the time to transport goods from the South East to the northern part of the country. “Who shall we complain to?” But you can use your power as a press man to tell the government to help us. Our vehicle is breaking down here,” he said while monitoring the mechanic fixing his truck along the high way.
Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway
On the Enugu-Port Harcourt road, works are on-going. Some parts of one section of the road have already been asphalted since last year with water ways. On December 11, 2014, N32,317,082,596.26 was budgeted for the rehabilitation of the Enugu-Port Harcourt road section III: Enugu-Lokpanta in Enugu state. The contract was awarded to CGC Nigeria Limited with contract number: 6251. On June 13, 2018, a similar budget of N13,933,953,708.62 was awarded to Setraco Nigeria Limited with contract number: 6458 for the rehabilitation of the old Enugu-Port Harcourt road all through Agbogugu-Abia Border spur to Mmaku.
When this reporter visited the project sites, works were steadily on-going with the contractors handling the projects giving directions to workers while road users were seen struggling to navigate their way through the bad sections of the other lane. Few meters away from one section of the lane were work was on-going, the construction yards of the companies handling the projects were seen with some workers going in and out of the yard while heavy duty tractors were seen moving asphalt and construction materials.
Perhaps, one of the road projects among all the 24 under investigation that has reached a high level of completion is the Oji-Achi-Mmaku-Awgu road with spur to Obeagu-Ugbo. Awarded on December 11, 2014 to Golden Construction Company for N994,661,294.55, a large section of the road has been completed. Works was on-going at the uncompleted sections especially the link road to Oji River while that of Mmaku and Awgu have almost been completed. The same goes for other road projects around the area for example, the rehabilitation of Oji-Achi-Mmaku Awgu Ndeaboh road, section 1 awarded on July 4, 2018 to Setraco Nigeria Limited for N11, 558,069,376.90.
However, this reporter observed a duplication of contract awarded for a road project in the area which had already been budgeted for. For instance, the rehabilitation of Oji-Achi-Mmaku Awgu Ndeaboh road, section 1 was listed twice in the list of projects on-going in the South East. Surprisingly, the two exact projects were budgeted for and awarded to different contractors, at different costs. While the first one received N11, 558,069,376.90 and awarded to Setraco Nigeria Limited with contract number 6476, the second duplicated project received N4, 805,288,034.75 and awarded to Masters Holdings Nigeria Limited with contract number: 6037. No reason was given for the duplication. The only difference is that one of the road has sections included in it.
Ugwueme-Nenwenta-Nkwe-Ezere Awgunta-Obeagu-Mbidi road
Similarly, another project with serious works going on at the site which is very close to the Oji-Mmaku Awgu projects is the construction of Ugwueme-Nenwenta-Nkwe-Ezere Awgunta-Obeagu-Mbidi road awarded on March 15, 2017 to IDC Construction Limited for N14,693,277,138.75 with contract number: 6293. Interestingly, these projects nearing different levels of completion are all located in Enugu west – the senatorial district of the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.
When Ripples Nigeria visited, the roads were being worked on, and are at different stages of completion. Tractors and bulldozers were seen excavating sand from a hill and dumping same at designated locations. Most parts of the road are completed and paved while the remaining parts were currently under construction with tractors and workers busy on the road.
“This section of the road was built last year while they are still working at the Oji-River section,” said Ugochukwu Nwatu, a resident in the area. “They are fast and we hope to see them complete it soon with the way they are going.”
2.2km internal roads at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka
On February, 21, 2018, N124,726,901.18 was budgeted for the rehabilitation and asphalt overlay of 2.2km internal roads at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. The project which was awarded to Qumecs Nigeria Limited, has already started with the asphalting of major link roads at the university. However, some spots at the university have not been worked on when this reporter visited sites such as the Freedom Square axis, former Student Union Building roads, University of Nigeria Secondary School road leading to the school gate and the roads at Franco area of the university housing male and postgraduate hostels. Some workers were seen working on the pedestrian part of the road. But no tractor or construction machine was spotted on the sites.
Two months ago, the first phase of work done by the company along the Senior Staff Club was damaged by rainfall as the asphalt all peeled off.
“It was a very poor work,” said a vendor in the area who preferred to remain anonymous. “How can common rainfall peel off a road that was asphalted just two weeks ago? It’s a shame.”
Following criticisms, the construction company came to re-fix the section of the road. This time around, with quality asphalting.
For the construction of Nenwe-Nomeh-Mburubu-Nara road with spur to Obeagu Oduma road, N6,437,166,957.38 was budgeted and awarded to Arab Contractors Nigeria Limited with contract number: 6317. The projected was awarded on March 22, 2017 and works have already started. Some foreign contractors and local workers were seen busy on the road as tractors were loading and dropping gravel. This project even though awarded recently, is one of those nearing completion with the speed of work at the site.
On November 2012, N11,603,191,818.53 was budgeted for the construction of Nenwe-Uduma-Uburu road section 1 (26.27km) & section 2 (14km) spur to Ishiagu Mile 2 road with boundary between Enugu-Ebonyi. With Setraco Nigeria Limited handling the project, works are currently on-going at the site.
Umana-Ndiagu-Agba Umana Ebenebe-Amansea Awka express road
Awarded on the same day – December 17, 2012, the project titled “completion of the Limited rehabilitation of Umana-Ndiagu-Agba Umana Ebenebe-Amansea Awka express road with spur from Umana Ndiagu (Agba-Ebenebe) section I, awarded to Masters Holdings Nigeria Limited for N995,369,082.81 with contract number: 6194 and the rehabilitation of Umana Ndiagu-Agba-Ebenebe-Amansea Awka with spur to Umumba road section II (Umana Ndiagu/Umumba/Nkwo Ezeagu express Obeleagu section) awarded to CGC Nigeria Limited for N10,370,810,187.53 with contract number: 6169, is a good example of an abandoned project.
While a large section of the road project has been completed with water ways, the remaining section spanning more than 10 kilometers and linking Enugu state and Anambra state has remained untouched ever since after the last batch of the road was completed about five years ago. Recently, gravel was dumped along the uncompleted section of the road but nothing has been done ever since.
Tractors meant to be used for the work have been parked at the village square without being put to use. Residents said the gravel recently dumped on the road is meant to deceive them that they (contractors) are working.
“We have never seen them since they abandoned this project until recently. They are just deceiving themselves,” said John Okozor, a farmer who was working on his farm. “Yesterday, a bus fell down while navigating here. I was part of those who pushed it out from the hole.”
Aguobu-Owa-Mgbagbu Owa-Ebenebe road
A similar project in Ezeagu local government area is the construction of Aguobu-Owa-Mgbagbu Owa-Ebenebe (Anambra state border) with spur to Awka Oyoha-Oyofo-Iwollo road. Awarded on December 13, 2012 to Coduc Nigeria Limited for N3,035,439,907.50, works on the road just started recently according to residents of the area. When this reporter visited the project site, work was on-going, though at a slow pace. One of the contractors handling the projects said their asphalt producing machine had broken down for some time and that armed robbers were vandalizing their working tools, thereby slowing the pace of their works.
“It is a 31.150km project and unlikely to be completed by December,” Kennedy Chukwuonye, one of the contractors at the site told Ripples Nigeria. “Finishing it depends on funding to a large extent. Also, vandals are taking our equipment and it has been a great challenge for us. We just started producing asphalt after fixing our machine.”
“They started the work two weeks ago and I am not sure if they can finish the project by this December. They are not fast and their equipment is not in good shape,” said Gilbert Anieke, a resident of the area who was seen monitoring the on-going projects.
Ozalla-Akpugo Amagunze-Ihuokpara-Nkomoro Isu-Onitsha (Enugu/Onitsha) road
The rehabilitation of Ozalla-Akpugo Amagunze-Ihuokpara-Nkomoro Isu-Onitsha (Enugu/Onitsha) road with spur to Onunweke is perhaps, the only road project among the 24 on-going projects in Enugu State that is 90 per cent complete. Awarded on November 10, 2010 to Arab Contractors Nigeria Limited for N6,769,939,488.99, the road is almost complete with workers doing finishing touches to the remaining section of the road. A construction worker at the site who gave his name as Peter told Ripples Nigeria the remaining sections of the road will be ready before end of December.
For the rehabilitation of Akpasha (Umuatugbuoma) – Obiji offia, Amodu road in Nkanu West LGA, Enugu state, the project was awarded to Slok Nigeria Limited for N3,278,317,359.89 with contract number: 6315. Works have been abandoned to a large extent while tractors are packed along the road.
A resident of the area who spoke to Ripples Nigeria said works was going on at a slow pace but is hopeful that the road will be completed in the nearest futsoonure.
Nsukka-Obollo-Ikem Ehamufu-Nkalagu road
In December 2009, the rehabilitation of Nsukka-Obollo-Ikem Ehamufu-Nkalagu road was awarded to Mife Construction Nigeria Limited for N6,446,051,729.71. A large section of the road was constructed last year by the handling company but stopped at Ehamufu close to Nkalagu which has a boundary with Ebonyi state.
When this reporter visited the project site, no worker was seen doing any work on the road. When this reporter proceeded to the construction yard of the company, two gatemen were seen sleeping on a wooden bench. Upon enquiry, one of them said the workers had left the project site a week before for another project site but will return soon.
Among the 24 projects listed, the construction of Ogrute-Umuida-Unadu-Akpanya-Odoru road in Enugu-Kogi boundary, is the only one without any work going on at the project sites. Awarded in 2012 to PW Nigeria Limited for N12,951,207,018.75, the roads remain bare and un-tarred with motorists struggling to navigate their way through the bad spots. Though tractors are stationed along the road and their construction yard just a few meters away, no work at all has been done on the road.
A resident said the road projects which was attracted by former Senator Ayogu Eze who is currently contesting for governorship of the state under APC, has remained bad for a very long time. Residents around the area said the construction company only come to grade some parts of the road whenever it becomes impassable for road users.
“The road has remained like this for a very long time and it is worse during the rainy season,” said Solomon Omeke Elochukwu. “They come sometimes to work on some part of the road when they see it has become bad”, he informed Ripples Nigeria.
Editor’s Note: This fact check was conducted around early October 2018 soon after the Federal Government released its list. It was completed mid-November 2018.
…This investigative project by Ripples Nigeria was conducted in partnership with the Ripples Centre for Data and Investigative Journalism.