The Nigeria Erosion Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), a World Bank funded project, has directed the contractor handling the N3.27 billion Munchongopyeng gully erosion site in Jos to speed up and complete the work on schedule.
NEWMAP Federal Project Management Unit inspection team led by Mr Ayuba Anda told the contractor in Jos, the Plateau State capital, on Monday, January 25, 2022, that the 18-month project was supposed to have ended in June 2021 but was extended because of the #End SARS protest and total lockdown because of COVID-19 pandemic.
“The government of Nigeria wrote to World Bank and told them that we cannot complete the work at the stipulated time because of COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges and they extended the time for a year.
“We know that you had some challenges that kept you away from site for 98 days (three months) and we expect you complete the work in June instead of March that you were supposed to.
“On the variation of the contract, you must know that the contract was a fixed one and was given to those that have financial and technical muscle to execute the project on schedule,” he said.
He told the contractor to redouble his efforts and work day and night if possible, to meet the target.
The team leader, however, commended the contractor for the quality of the job done so far.
The Project Coordinator, Arc Marine and Civil Contractors Ltd., Mr Charbel Tekly, told the team that they were supposed to complete the work in March but they might not because they had kidnapping issues that kept them away for 98 days.
“The site was shut down from Dec. 11, 2020 to March 2021 which was at the peak of dry season.
“Again, the prices of materials have gone up because of inflation.
“A bag of cement used to be N2,400 but it is now N5,000, a litre of diesel from N185 to N350 and blasting materials and other materials have gone up.
“Something should be done about the variation of this contract because we are not talking about a variation of five to 10 per cent but about 100 per cent on some items,” he said.
The state Project Managment Unit Coordinator, Mr Levi Gofwen, said that the unit had been having several meetings with the contractor and consultants to make sure that they adjust their programmes to to enable them to complete the project in time.
“So, basically, in areas that we have challenges, we normally discuss and provide solutions and where we have difficulty, we synergise with other states that must have passed through similar experiences.
“We have all support coming from all directions to make sure that we complete this project,” he said.
Meanwhile, members of Whitt community have commended NEWMAP for saving them from the devastation of the gully erosion.
Mr Oje Afwangs, Whitt Community Leader, said that NEWMAP was God sent.
Afwangs said that the community suffered a serious devastation to the level that some members of the community were ejected from their houses by flood.
The community leader thanked NEWMAP and the state government for rescuing them, saying that with the intervention of NEWMAP, those who left the community were returning.
Mr Victor Chollom, another member of the community, said that they were cohabiting with snakes and other dangerous animals because of flood.
Chollom said that they had not experienced such since the gully erosion project started.
He commended the Federal and Plateau governments for coming to their rescue.