2nd Niger Bridge: Lawmakers reject ‘Incompetent Contractors’

Lawmakers from South-East Nigeria have rejected the award of contracts to incompetent and discredited contractors to undertake the construction of the second Niger Bridge and other Federal Government projects in the South-East Region f Nigeria. In a letter to President Goodluck Jonathan  made available to, The Anambra State National Assembly Caucus lamented that the re-award of the contracts to GITTO NIGERIA LIMITED will be a betrayal of the presidential direction to the Ministry of Works to engagea reputable consultant” for an award of contract for the project when the contract was terminated on June 16, 2010. Below is the full text of the letter to the President August 31, 2010 His ExcellencyDr. Goodluck E. Jonathan President and Commander in Chief of the Armed ForcesFederal Republic of NigeriaAbuja.  OUR REJECTION OF INCOMPETENT  CONTRACTOR FOR 2ND NIGER BRIDGE We, Members of Anambra State Caucus and the entire South East Caucus in the National Assembly write to express our displeasure over the proposed re-award of the 2nd Niger Bridge project contract to GITTO NIGERIA LIMITED. 2.                  Your Excellency will recall that the 2nd Niger Bridge was built almost fifty years ago. The Bridge is in imminent danger of collapse with the attendant risks to lives of people using the bridge daily. The economic implication of such collapse to the South East /South South/South West in particular and Nigeria in general cannot be over emphasized. 3.                  Your Excellency also will recall that the construction of the 2nd Niger Bridge was awarded to GITTO Nigeria Ltd under the government’s Public Private Partnership (PPP) Policy. The contract valued at N58.6B was flagged off by former President Obasanjo in May, 2007. 4.                  Under the PPP arrangements, GITTO Nigeria Ltd undertook to make 60% contribution for the construction of the bridge while the Federal Government would contribute 20%. Delta and Anambra State Governments were expected to contribute 10% each. GITTO NIGERIA LIMITED never mobilized to site let alone making any “contribution” for the project. 5.                 Worried by the failure of GITTO NIG LTD to execute the Project, we successfully sponsored motions in both Chambers of the National Assembly calling on the Federal Government to terminate the contract awarded and take sole responsibility for the project. 6.                  The Executive Council of the Federation under the leadership of Your Excellency graciously terminated the contract awarded to GITTO NIG LTD on June 16, 2010 and directed the Ministry of Works to “engage a reputable consultant and commence a new procurement process for an award of contract for the project”. 7.                  We are shocked to realize that GITTO Nig. Ltd is once more being considered for the re-award of the contract for the project by the Ministry of Works despite the company’s proven lack of capacity to execute a project of such complexity and magnitude. 8.                  Almost all the Federal Roads in the South East are in deplorable condition not caused by lack of provision of funds in the Budget of the Federal Government for the roads but due to fraud and incompetence on the part of the Contractors awarded the projects. 9.                   The Onitsha-Owerri Road Section II, Enugu-Umuahia Road, Enugu-Onitsha Road and Oba-Nnewi-Okigwe Road, are glaring examples of how the people of the South East suffer for the award of Federal Projects in the region to incompetent contractors. 10.             The works on these roads are going on at snails speed despite the appropriation of enormous funds for them due to lack of capacity on the part of the contractors awarded the projects. We cannot afford to make such mistake with the 2nd Niger Bridge Project. 11.             We call on Your Excellency to use your good offices to stop the re-award of the all important 2nd Niger Bridge to GITTO Nig. Ltd that has proved incompetent to handle the project.  12.             We request the project be awarded to a company with proven track record of construction of bridges of such magnitude in Nigeria and worldwide. 13.             We expect nothing less. Please, Your Excellency, accept the assurances of our highest regards and sincere best wishes.     Senator Ikechukwu Obiorah                                                  Hon. C. I. D. Maduabum, LL.MFor: Anambra State National Assembly Caucus