“The third one is the 74 kilometer Nasarawa to Loko Road – that is the road that was awarded, I believe, in 2006, so it’s 15 years today, 74 km and it has not been completed.
This road links the Loko-Oweto Bridge, which we inherited and which we have completed and that Loko-Oweto Bridge links Nasarawa to Benue, across the River Benue and also connects to the Oweto to Oshogbedo Road, which we also inherited, which we have completed.
“The complete lane from Otukpo to Nasarawa ought to be facilitated by this 74km road.
The contractor has struggled with just about five kilometers of it since 2006, and a small bridge.
“So, what we’ve proposed was that instead of going through the long process of termination and all of that, we proposed and Council agreed that the contractor who finished the bridge and the contractor who finished the road, because they were all awarded to different contractors before we came, should join this contractor and take up the remainder.
So, we’ve limited the contractor who was originally awarded this road to just 10.8, that’s all he will do.
“So, we’ve awarded 42 kilometers to the contractor who did the Oshogbedo-Oweto Road and we’ve then awarded 21km, which is the part joining the bridge directly, to the contractor who completed the bridge.
“So, all of these totaling a revised project sum of about N30 billion, shared amongst the three contractors,” he said.
The minister noted that the completion of the road would also save travel time for its users, especially those travelling from Otukpo in Benue to Abuja.
What is instructive is that once we finish this last part of the road, although it is being used now, but is not tarred, commuters are using it because it cuts off three hours from the journey from Otukpo to Abuja.
“Motorists don’t have to go through Lafia, if you climb the Oweto Bridge across the River Benue, land in Nassarawa, you’ll be landing around Keffi.
“So, it’s cutting off 103 from that journey from Otukpo to Abuja, which is about three hours. It used to be six hours plus.
“This is strategic also for providing prosperity, lifting people out of poverty because if the saying that time is money is true, everybody who saves three hours has three hours’ extra productivity and also consumes three hours less fuel and travel time and so on.
So, Council approved this memo and we hope that sometime next year we can complete that linkage.
“But as you know, those of you who went with me, commuters are already using the road in spite of that path not being complete,” he said.
Also addressing the correspondents on the outcome of the meeting, the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu disclosed that the Council approved N10.7 Million as augmentation for the completion of Middle Rima Valley Irrigation Project in Sokoto State.
“The federal Ministry of Water Resources presented a memo to council for the revised total cost of phase II of the construction of middle river valley irrigation project.
“That is the completion of the middle Rima valley irrigation project in Goronyo, Sokoto State.
This contract was started in 1999 by the military administration then, first phase was completed, comprising 873 hectares.
“The phase II was started in 2007 and that is what we have been struggling to complete. It is also an inherited project.
“The total scope of the phase II is 404,333 hectares out of which about 80 per cent of the work has been done.
So, this memo is seeking a revised cost of the project, with an augmentation of about N10.7 million so that we’ll be able to finish the project, hopefully before the expiration of this administration in 2023,” he said.
It’s expected to provide, by the time it’s completely finished, a production of 39,000 tons of rice, 195,000 tons of vegetables per annum and it will generate employment for not less than 47,000 people and their families.
“So, Council graciously approved this memo with an additional completion period of about 24 months.
“Like I said, our target is to try to complete this project by 2023. This is in line with what we’ve been doing since the inception of this administration in my ministry; to complete ongoing, inherited and abandoned projects,” he stated.
The minister said out of the government’s target of completing the 116 inherited projects, 34 had so far been completed.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Council meeting was preceded by the swearing-in of three National Commissioners of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Those sworn-in include Dr Baba Bila representing the North-East, Prof. Sani Adam, North-Central and Prof. Abdullahi Abdu, representing North-West zone.
According to Adamu, the project has a potential of generating employment for almost 50, 000 people as well as enhancing food production.