Amidst restriction on movement in the state occasioned by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, has ordered building contractors handling various projects in the state to return back to their construction sites immediately.
The governor said the call has become necessary because the contractors cannot beat the rainy season with the current pace of work.
The governor, who took time off to inspect some of the ongoing construction of township roads in Minna, the state capital, said ‘from what I have seen, we can’t beat the raining season with this pace of work.’
Governor Bello, who was not happy with the level of work achieved by some of the contractors, pointed out that the COVID-19 lockdown is not an excuse for any contractor to default.
‘Work can go on with strict observance to social distancing. Work cannot be put on hold because of coronavirus,’ the governor said.
‘For instance, at the Moris fertilizer and Tunga low-cost housing estate, four kilometres of road reconstruction on which contracts were awarded in 2017 at the cost of N2.4 billion with a completion period of 14 months, only 50 per cent of the works have been achieved.’
The governor warned that any contractor found to be defaulting in executing his work in line with specification would have such contracts terminated.
In one of the road projects, the governor specifically told the contractor that the company does not have the capacity, stressing that ‘they are just moving equipment from one place to another instead of the projects to be going on simultaneously.
‘If they don’t have the capacity to deliver, we will not hesitate to engage other contractors. I am not happy with what I have seen,’ he said.
The governor said the government would put pressure on the contractors to deliver the work on time before the rains begin.
Projects inspected by Governor Abubakar Bello include ongoing road construction at Morris Fertilizer Area and Tunga Low-Cost Road.