Ebonyi Govt vows to complete airport project amidst harsh economy

Ebonyi Govt vows to complete airport project amidst harsh economy
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Gov. Francis Nwifuru of Ebonyi state
Gov. Francis Nwifuru of Ebonyi state

By Chukwuemeka Opara

Gov. Francis Nwifuru of Ebonyi has said that his administration will conclude the Chuba Okadigbo Airport at Onueke despite harsh economic climate in the country.

Nwifuru made the declaration on Friday while inspecting renovation works on the airport’s runway as part of activities to mark his one year anniversary in office.

The governor said the airport was a monumental project captured in the people’s charter of needs mantra of his administration and would benefit the people.

“The people take the centre stage in our administration and we must do all possible to give the state the facelift it deserved.

“We are happy with the quantity and quality of asphalt being applied on the runway by the contractor as it is above what we agreed inside the contract.

“Officials of the Federal Ministry of Aviation have inspected the work and declared that it is one of the best in the country,” he said.

He noted that when the previous administration in the state commenced the airport project, its intention was to give Ebonyi, a state of the art facility which includes the runway.

“It was still the same divine mandate platform which we are still operating on and we didn’t know that concrete-pavement was not good for runways.

“When we took over, we awarded the contract for the renovation to the Infrastructure Development Company (IDC) because it had its asphalt plant in the state.

“The project has over 220, 000 square metre, 82,000 tonnes with a total coverage area of 3.1 kilometre by 75metres,” he said.

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Nwifuru noted that the state government had paid N9.6 billion out of the N13.5billion for the runway by the time the contractor sought a review of the project.

“We negotiated with the contractor which wanted a review but we rejected such because it had already generated a certificate for the project.

“We insisted that the review will be based on the balance of N4.7 billion and after the negotiations, we agreed at N17.8 billion.

“We have paid over N15 billion out of the sum and has an agreement with the contractor to pay the balance at the end of the project,” he said.

He noted that the government had paid an additional N1.4billion for the completion of the airport’s control tower and also undertaking the airport’s security lights project.

“We agreed that the project will be concluded by the end of May but surprised that the contractor is asking for an additional 10 days,” he said.

The Site Manager of the project, Mr Youseef Zhaib said the project will be completed within a fortnight and commended the governor for making funds available for the projects.

“We have nearly finished the binder cause which remains about half a line and have entered the wearing cast that is the last layer.

“We are praying that rain does not disrupt the work as the raining season is a serious issue,” he said.

Edited by Maureen Atuonwu

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