By Godwin Otang
As the backlash from residents over the way the Odukpani – Itu and Alesi – Ugep federal roads are being constructed, the contractor, SERMATECH Nigeria Limited, has debunked the insinuations that it has abandoned some of the road projects assigned to them.
The company, while calling on the public to verify information spread about projects handled by the firm, posits that they have not abandoned the roads, but rather working by the Federal Ministry of Works directives.
Speaking on behalf of the firm, the Public Relations Officer, Bogus Aiks, in a statement “called on the public, stakeholders and other agencies to get proper information from project stakeholders such as the Federal Ministry of Works or NNPC in order not to mislead the public.”
The indigenous firm disclosed that abandoned sections or projects under her purview are not from their end but due to a paucity of funds from the federal government.
The statement reads in parts: “In the last couple of days, we have seen on Social Media over the Calabar – Itu Federal Highway. Some stakeholders have raised eyebrows concerning the quality of jobs executed there, pointing fingers at SERMATECH.
“While we agree that citizens have a right to monitor projects being executed in their domain and express concern where they find lapses in the project’s execution, it also behooves the citizens to carry out proper investigations on the state of the projects, who is doing what and how.
“However, we are not joining issues with anybody. We wish to state categorically that SERMATECH Nigeria Limited is an indigenous Construction giant with an established track record of over 20 years in the industry, and has a track record of successfully delivering on its mandate to all clients.”
It continues: “SERMATECH has always executed all contracts awarded to it with full compliance to scope and specifications. SERMATECH has the full capacity and resources to execute any job in Nigeria. We did 67 Km from Iyamotong to Akpet 1 successfully. We are currently rehabilitating from Akpet 1 to Odukpani Junction. 25 km out of 75 km has been completed. The paucity of funds from the federal government is the cause of the delay.
“We equally wish to state that the rehabilitation of Alesi-Ugep has never been abandoned. SERMATECH mobilized to the site in 2014 and commenced works even before it was mobilized. Since we commenced work on the Odukpani-Itu Road, no section within our stretch of work has collapsed. This is because we carry out palliative work continually to ensure the free flow of traffic.
“We wish to point out that our project spans two critical swamps, namely the Okpokong swamp and the Calabar River swamp. The Okpokong swamp is 5km. This section is fully constructed with pavements work up to the binder course layer. Motorists are already enjoying the smooth road. It has survived more than two years now without issues.
“Active work is ongoing at the Calabar River swamp. The section is actively receiving adequate geotechnical treatment; subsoil drainage to lower the groundwater table, excavation and removal of unsuitable materials, hardcore filling, and sand fill to stabilize the section.
“Out of the 4 bridges in our section, we have fully constructed and completed 2 – Atan and Okpokong bridges, respectively. The third bridge, Ayadeghe, is at the capping beam level; all precast beams are completed and the two abutment walls are completed.
“The four existing old bridges have also been rehabilitated to have a new look. We state that SERMATECH’s portion of the road is about 28km and not 50km as wrongly reported and the portion being mentioned is not within SERMATECH’s purview, but rather a different company.
“We also need to point out that SERMATECH is not the only company involved in the project, SERMATECH had twice carried out palliative interventions on the portion of the road when traffic collapsed even though it is not under its purview all in a bid to ameliorate the suffering of commuters and other road users.
“Already, we have again commenced palliative work on our portion of the road to ease access for motorists and other road users as we approach the yuletide. This is in line with federal Ministry of Works directives that federal roads be made motorable this season. We call on stakeholders and other agencies to get proper information from project stakeholders such as the Federal Ministry of Works or NNPC in order not to mislead the public.”