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Karshi–Apo Road: A Road After Bello’s Heart

By Ido Idoje (ido.2014@yahoo.com)

Ever before the Honourable Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Mohammed Musa Bello paid an on-the-spot assessment to the very rural Karshi – Apo Road in the suburb of the Federal Capital City of Abuja, he confessed he had heard a lot, albeit, mostly misinformation.

The Karshi – Apo Road, in the rural suburb of the Federal capital City of Abuja is, indeed, a road after Bello’s heart. “I am happy today to visit the very popular Karshi – Apo Road under construction which everybody has been telling me is going to be the solution to reduce the traffic gridlock on the Nyanyan – Mararaba axis,” the Honourable Minister said during his inspection visit on Tuesday, 26th January, 2016. And all the doubts, misinformation about the road project cleared.

No doubt this all-important road project, as the Honourable Minister rightly observed, is a key to unravelling the persistently pathetic gridlock experienced on the ever-busy Nyanyan – Mararaba Road for vehicular movement emptying into the city centre of Abuja.

From available facts and figures at the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), the project title is: Construction of Karshi – Ara and Extension of Karshi – Apo (F106) Road. It is over 39km in total and the total contract sum is N6,355,609,124.53. The contract was awarded to Kakatar CE by FCDA, the project’s client, on 19th January, 2011 and work commenced on the road project on 23rd March, 2011.

The scope of work for the road project includes, but not limited to: Site clearance and Earthworks; Construction of Culverts (Pipe and Box) of various sizes; Drainages; Construction of 2No. Bridges of 3-span (45m) and 5-span (75m); Rehabilitation of 1No. Bridge; Pavement and surfacing.

It is instructive to emphasise one important fact at this point which most people, too often, miss about the Karshi – Apo Road project. The road project is in two phases namely: Karshi – Ara, which is 25.60km; Karshi – Apo (13.25km). Kakatar is constructing both phases and considerable and impressive progress has been achieved on the project and work is still going on. On the entire project, the company has so far received N2,373,619,680.99; remaining a balance of over N3.9billion.

However, certain critical constraints have, over the years, hindered the speedy completion of the road project. Among others, primarily is the issue of inadequate funding, poor engineering design, and compensation – all of which the Minister, technical team from the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), and the contractor highlighted and agreed with during the visit.

The FCT Minister Bello inspected sections of the road project and asked questions which were promptly answered by personnel of both FCDA and Kakatar. Convinced Kakatar has the competence and capacity to deliver the road project, the Honourable Minister promised to ensure the speedy completion of the road project. He agreed with FCDA engineers that the major challenge/constraint of the project is inadequate funding and promised to make funding available for the project as at when due for the timely completion of the project., though the construction company is asking for variation on the contract sum.

The Managing Director of the construction company, Azibaola Robert, said that the company is driven by patriotism to deliver on the road project. “We are Nigerians and we feel compelled as Nigerians to be on the road and complete the road for the Federal Government,” he said. “We have several challenges on this road project. We are doing the road and we have not yet moved out of site, even though we bided for the road project at a lower rate.”

The challenges, though, are there. “We know the challenges people are facing. We actually need to look at the access to this road when it is completed. But it is a challenge to us if we do not get paid on time to get the project to progress to the level we want,” Robert said. He, therefore appealed to the Honourable Minister to use “his powers to get us paid as at when due and if possible to do variation on the project.”

The Honourable Minister is definitely not in doubt of the capacity, competence of Kakatar to deliver the project if properly funded, especially in the face of Federal Government financial challenges. “It is the policy of this government to enhance local capacity. Since the contractor is complaining of payment and I have looked at the figures and I have seen the outstanding payments, we will try to make payment as quickly as possible so that work can continue here,” the Honourable Minister said. “If you sit down with your engineers and decide you want to do this project we are going to give you payment.”

Impressed with the quality of work so far done by Kakatar on the Karshi – Apo Road, which is about 52% completed, the Honourable Minister is thinking of adding the portion of road not tarred between Apo Mechanic Village Road and the beginning of the Karshi-Apo Road at Takwushara Junction, through which he and his convoy assessed the road project, which was never part of the initial contract awarded to Kakatar to execute; and it is included in the 2016 budget. Then would the Karshi – Apo Road be a thoroughfare when completed for all to enjoy.




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