The Secretary General of the Anti-Coruption Network, Senator Dino Melaye has written President Mohamodu BUHARI condemning the outrageous road construction contract awarded by the Federal Executive Council.
The letter dated10th March 2021 reads:
HE Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR,
President and Commander-in-chief
Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Three Arms Zone
Your Excellency Sir,
OUTRAGEOUS ROAD CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT AWARD BY FEDERAL EXECUTIVE COUNCIL; A CALL FOR SCRUTINY.
Anti-Corruption Network is a registered Non-governmental, Non-religious, Non-political, Non-profit oriented Organization set up to fight all forms of corruption in Nigeria.
Your Excellency Sir, we write to bring to your notice and as well register our displeasure over the recent outrageous road construction contract award by the Federal Executive Council. The Federal Executive Council had on 3rd March 2021 approved the reconstruction of Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Road at the cost of N797, 000,000,000.00 (Seven Hundred and Nine-Seven Billion Naira). Furthermore, the road is said to be 375 kilometers in total which makes it the most expensive road construction on earth at the average of US$6 million (N2.1 billion) per kilometer.
Your Excellency Sir, Anti-Corruption Network has observed with dismay that the cost of road construction in Nigeria has been consistently outrageous which now calls for serious scrutiny. If we go down the memory lane, the Federal Government in 2013 awarded the contract for reconstruction of the 127km Lagos-Ibadan Expressway at N167 billion (US$1 billion at the time it was awarded). Interestingly, and also in 2013, a similar contract was awarded for the 1,028km Lagos-Abidjan road project and the Economic Community of West African Countries (ECOWAS) estimated this project to cost between N167 billion and N240 billion. At the projected maximum cost of N240 billion, the cost of the ECOWAS road per km will be N234 million whereas the six-lane Expressway road contract awarded by the Federal Government at N167 billion costs will be N1.3 billion per kilometer. In other words, the number of kilometers to be covered by the ECOWAS project is 8 times higher than Nigeria’s Lagos-Ibadan Express road project; and the cost per kilometer is far lower than that of Nigeria.
It is worthy of note that the ECOWAS six-lane project is expected to connect five (5) major cities in the region namely Lagos, Nigeria; Cotonou, Benin Republic; Lome, Togo; Accra, Ghana and Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire.
Your Excellency Sir, according to a report put out by the apex bank of the world, World Bank, the cost of constructing 1 kilometer of road is ₦238 million. This figure is the benchmark that usually shouldn’t be surpassed regardless of several factors. We also conducted research and it was shown that in the Limpopo Province of South Africa, it will cost N33 million or US$194,000 to build one kilometer of paved road. Also in Liberia, the cost of building a kilometer road has been estimated at US$1 million (N381 million) or US$1.2 million (N457 million). But the story is obviously different in Nigeria, the most populous black nation on earth. It has become almost a norm for a kilometer of road in Nigeria to cost more than ₦1 billion to construct.
The question Anti-Corruption Network and millions of Nigerians are asking is why is Nigeria the costliest place to build roads in Africa? The answer proffered by many is that government intentionally allows these hikes in other to get kickbacks from the contractors, since they can’t run the projects themselves.
Your Excellency Sir, this is obliviously corrupt activities that you assured good people of Nigeria you are going to fight against. Nigerians voted for you because of the assurance you gave that corrupt activities such as this will not be slept under the carpet and will never be allowed in your government. We therefore call on you for a thorough scrutiny of the above contract award and have a downward review of same to a reasonable amount.
We are confident that your intervention on this matter by reviewing the contract award will restore the confidence the people have on you in the fight against corruption. Anti-Corruption Network remains committed to supporting your administration and your fight against corruption.
Your Excellency, we assure you of our warm regards and best assurances for peace and unity of Nigeria.