SERMATECH lacks track record to handle our roads, host communities, others tell Federal Government
By our Admin
A number of community leaders along the Odukpani/Itu Ikot Ekpene Federal High Way for which dualization contract has been awarded by the Federal Government have frowned at the choice of the construction company given the job to construct the road.
Addressing a news conference to register their displeasure and protest the award of the dualization of the Odukpani/Itu Ikot Ekpene Federal High Way to Sermatech Nig. Ltd, the stakeholders represented at the news conference in Calabar, Niger Delta Youth Movement NDYM, National Association of Cross River State Students NACRISS, Cross River South Progressive Forum, National Youth Council of Nigeria and the Host Communities on the, dualization of the Odukpani/Itu Ikot Ekpene Federal High Way, linking Cross River and Akwa Ibom states noted that the road is a major route that takes heavy traffic and should be given to a construction company that can do standard and quality job.
They called on the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the office of the Minister for Works to as a matter of urgency to revoke the said contract awarded to SERMATECH and re-award it to a more reputable construction company, on the grounds that SERMATECH lacks the necessary requisite experience in the construction of roads and Bridges in Nigeria.
Reading the text of the press conference, the State Chairman of NDYM Comrade Emefiok Inyang said sometime in 2017 it came to their attention that the contract for the entire stretch of Odukpani-Itu-Ikot Ekpene Federal Highway was awarded to Julius Berger (Nigeria) ltd; a reputable construction company with an enviable track record of performance: “this gladdened our heart and we sent words of gratitude to Mr. President. But around October this year, 2021; words filtered to us that Julius Berger will no longer be responsible for the construction of the entire stretch of the Highway and that SERMATECH has now been awarded the longest stretch of the Highway spanning from the Power Plant in Onimankiong ward of Odukpani local government area of Cross River State to Oku Iboku Junction in Itu Local government area of Akwa Ibom State; a distance with major bridges and numerous culverts in-between.”
“A very large section of the portion awarded to SERMATECH Nig Ltd is the most difficult and swampy terrain which they have no good track record, nor technical expertise for such serious construction work.”
They argued that “The only intra-city dualized road that SERMATECH Nig Ltd constructed in Cross River State is the Goodluck JonathanBy-pass from Margaret Ekpo International Airport Calabar to Parliamentary road extension. And that the entire stretch of that road failed within six months of the construction even when it is intra-city higway with very low traffic usage.”
They cited a number of other roads and jobs which they know that Sermatech and the roads did not stand the test of time.
“The Odukpani-Itu-Ikot Ekpene federal highway is too major with huge traffic usage and needs quality construction to alleviate the pains users have gone through in years”.
“We object most vehemently and vociferously to this award of contract to SERMATECH NIG. LTD and call on his Excellency, President Mohammadu Buhari, to urgently direct the Honourable minister of works and Housing, His Excellency Babatunde Raji Fashola SAN, and the federal ministry of works and Housing, to urgently revoke the said contract and re-award same to another more reputable construction company,”
“The federal intervention construction works awarded to SERMATECH have failed within three months of construction and they are known more as a company that fixes potholes and patches on roads than handling a major construction.
They only brought to site outdated, archaic decrepit and unserviceable equipments hired from other companies.
Also speaking in respond to questions from journalists the Legal adviser to the host communities, Barr. Eyo Nsa Ekpo said as much as they are aware of the bureaucracy in the award and re-awarding of contracts, their demand is honest and best for them to wait for the rewarding of the contract, rather than rush into a poorly constructed road project.
“We are ready to wait for the revoking and rewarding of the contract, we are ready to wait for the good work to be done, than to allow SERMATECH to do their usual shabby job. We don’t want to use a harsh language else we would have said, there are underlined reasons why that contract was awarded to SERMATECH”, he said.
A Traditional ruler and former Ambassador of Nigeria to Uganda, Etubom Dr. Nya Asuquo revealed that heavy duty trucks in their hundreds daily, carrying cement products, quarry stones among other loads ply that route of highway; And reiterated the importance of the road.
He appealed to the federal government to listen to their request and demands instead to expending huge funds with no attendant benefit to the people.
When contacted for responds to the allegations against Sermatech, the spokes person of the company, Mr. Joefry Egana declined giving any defends and kept demanding to know how we got his phone number.