Its fourteen years since the Federal government awarded contract for work on the multi billion naira Kaduna Bypass road project with a three year completion period yet the project is far from being completed. In this report, Sunday Isuwa, Adah Abah and Midat Joseph interrogates the delay in completing the all-important road project.
When on 24th November, 2002, the federal government awarded contract for the construction of the Kaduna Eastern Bypass covering a distance of about 48 km, celebration took to the air among residents of Kaduna State as well as motorists across the Northern States who had often suffered growing traffic jam over the years.
“I recalled with nostalgia, the feeling we had then when government signed the contract for this much talked about byepass road. Then as now, we believed earnestly that when completed, it will address so many challenges including, expanding the growth and aesthetics of Kaduna city” Musa Mamza, a resident of Gonin Gora said.
LEADERSHIP Sunday gathered the Kaduna Eastern bypass road project has the objective facilitating a new Kaduna city and also ease traffic and congestion along the main axis of the city.
It was aimed at giving travelers from Abuja to other parts of the north- west who are passing through Kaduna an alternative route instead of getting stuck in the heavy traffic in Kaduna metropolis.
Indeed, the road is supposed to, upon completion, serve the needs of commuters from the seven north west states of Jigawa, Katsina, Kano, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kaduna and to a large extent, Kebbi, who ply it to and from Abuja.
Due to an usually high traffic in the current Byepass, which, due to the growth of the Kaduna city, has become more like a township road, commutters heaved a sigh of relief when government commited its determination to construct the new byepass road on papers.
Our correspondent reports that the news of the project was greeted with so much enthusiasm and celebration among residents.
But fourteen years, it appears the celebration has waned considerably amidst rising concerns that the project may well be left to rot like other government projects scattered all over the country.
It is on record that the construction of project was awarded on 24th November, 2002 to Eksiogullari Construction (Nig) at the initial cost of N16 billion, it was to stretch from Kakau, off Abuja-Kaduna road and link the Kaduna-Zaria road, covering a distance of about 48 km with an initial completion period of three years.
Fourteen years gone by, yet the road has not gone half way, contractor has abandoned the road.
Findings revealed that the contracting firm promised to deliver the project at three different times but failed in each of those three times.
Consequently, the date of completion was extended by five years as the contract was reviewed on December 31, 2007 with completion date of July 31, 2012 but even at that the project is now a shadow of its own.
A visit to the site by LEADERSHIP Sunday revealed that work had completely stopped.
There was no sign of construction workers or equipment except for a dusty bulldozer which is abandoned at the edge of the uncompleted road project.
The contractor has since parked out of its office in Sabon-Tasha area of Kaduna metropolis.
As should be expected, residents and motorists who have continued to bear the brunt of traffic congestion for which the new byepass road project would have eased, have been lamenting over the unneccessarily long years it is taking to complete the project.
Mr. Bulus Zamani is a commercial driver. He told our reporter that the optimism and celebratio which greeted the start of the project has waned irretrievably noting “as a matter of fact, it has been replaced with doubt and sadness”
Zamani claimed he was full of celebration when he learned about a new road to be constructed at the eastern part of Kaduna. His joy grew more when the contractor mobilized to site but “my brother, all this has changed”.
The commercial driver who told our correspondent that his celebration stemmed from the fact that the new road will provide alternatives for motorists who are always trapped into traffic gridlock by the time the project was completed, appealed to the government to urgently complete the project.
Another commercial driver, Muhktar Abubakar who claimed he frequents the road owing to the fact that he specialized in conveying travelers from Abuja to Kaduna, Zaria, Katsina State, Sokoto State and Kano State verse versa, said the delay in completing the project “is a disservice to us as we are forced to spend more man hours on the road due to traffic jam inside Kaduna town”
He said with emphasis that he could not wait to see the end of the road project with its formal commissioning.
“We are anxiously waiting for the day this project will be completed; in fact, most our my fellow drivers have been asking when will the project finish,” he said.
But what is delaying the project which has reportedly gulped over N10 billion?
When our correspondent contacted officials of the Federal ministry of works, housing and power, they declined to comment on the road.
After what passed for persistence, officiaks from the ministry directed LEADERSHIP Sunday to speak to the Federal Controller of works, Engr Saad Tukur.
Quite surprisingly, Saad declined to speak to our reporter insisting that the right persons to speak on the road are in the ministry not minding the fact that this Paper was specifically referred to Engr Saad by officials from the ministry.
However, a competent source who did not want his name mentioned, blamed the federal government for the contractor’s inability to complete the job.
Our source said the delay in completing the job was as a result of complicity on the side of government officials.
But then a document made available to our correspondent showed that it took 33 months after signing the agreement for the contractor to fully receive the 25 percent advance payment.
In fairness to the current administration, the Kaduna byepass is one of the contractual liabilities inherited by the current administration in the road construction subsector.