Written by Austine ELEMUE

FCTA Minister weeps over N6.4bn Apo-Karshi road

It was a dramatic scene as the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Muhammad Bello, wept over the abandoned N6.4 billion Apo-Karshi road project awarded since 2010 by the Federal Capital Development Authority, FCDA. 

The minister, who paid an unscheduled visit to the site, last Wednesday, lampooned the authorities and engineers of the Satellite Towns Development Department, STDD, under the FCDA, for failing to ensure proper handling of the prolonged Karshi-Ara and extension of Karshi-Apo road project. 

Bello, who was visibly shocked by the appalling progress of work done by the contractors, tongue lashed the FCDA officials for obvious negligence on their part contributing to the delay in the projects which has lasted for four years with very little result to show. 

Describing the situation as a shame, the minister said the much talked about Apo-Karshi road projects, expected to ease the reoccurring traffic gridlock on the Abuja/Keffi expressway, is an abstract construction from nowhere to nowhere. 

“I’m delighted to visit and see for myself the very popular Apo–Karshi road which had generated much talk. I have seen an ‘abstract construction from nowhere to nowhere, a sign of what has been wrong with us as a people. I am very disappointed. 

“The construction of the road would be the solution to the traffic gridlock on Nyanya and Karu road, leading into the city. 

“I don’t understand how it will take the entire engineers in the FCDA and an upcoming contractor like this one up to four years to construct a 13 kilometre road. It’s an embarrassment, a shame to us all. 

“Having heard all, I weep for our situation; the contractor was initially unwilling to handle the project, the project had no design, it was not designed to Apo from Karshi initially, but was initially designed from Karshi to Wassa community," Bello stated. 

Earlier, the Executive Secretary of FCDA, Engr. Adamu Ismaila, put the blame at the doorsteps of the Satellite Towns Development Department, stating that the project was before now supervised by engineers in STDD. 

Ismaila, who was apparently uncoordinated in his speech, acknowledged that the engineers in the FCT Administration carried out the road design without specification, even as he assured the minister that FCDA will address the apparent shame of the design.

In the same vein, the villagers, who came to welcome the minister, cried that the prolonged road project has subjected them to untold hardship, while trying to gain access to the city centre. 

The villagers, who spoke through their leader, Usman Ishaku, passionately appealed to the minister to come to their aid, by doing everything possible towards the completion of the access road projects. 

Earlier, Engr. Soso Mohammed, director, STDD disclosed that the 13 kilometres project was awarded for the sum of N6.4 billion, and N2.3 billion has been paid to the contractor. 

The director, who explained that the contract was awarded since 2011, said the project was captured in the 2016 budget proposal and urged the contractor to worker harder to complete the road. 

Meanwhile, the executive director of the projects, Dakoru Atukda, attributed the abysmal state of the project to shortage of funds and hitches from issues like compensation and unforeseen hindrances in the terrain. 

Dakoru, who lamented that the company was doing the job at no profit, following the addition of Karshi-Apo extension to the original contract, however assured that with the needed cash backing, it will fast-track work on the road.

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