Lagos-Ibadan Expressway: Fg Kicks Out Bi-Courtney, Engages Julius Berger, R.C.C. Nigeria

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The Federal
Government today terminated the concession of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway,
which was granted to Bi-Courtney Consortium on May 8, 2009, and handed the job
to Julius Berger Plc and R.C.C Nigeria Limited.

The Minister of Works, Mr. Mike
Onolememen, disclosed this in an interview with State House Correspondents in
Abuja.

The government said the action was
taken because of the failure of Bi-Courtney, which is owned by billionaire Wale
Babalakin, to fulfill agreements reached with it on the project.

The minister said, “Due to the
senseless carnages on this important expressway which is part of Arterial Route
A1, the Federal Government has also decided to embark on the emergency
reconstruction of the expressway.”
He said that his Ministry had engaged
Julius Berger Plc and R.C.C Nigeria Limited to commence work immediately on the
reconstruction of the expressway.
Julius Berger will handle Section 1, which is from Lagos to the Shagamu
interchange, while RCC Nigeria Limited will be responsible for Section II, from
Shagamu to Ibadan.
“The federal Government wishes to
assure that while it will continue to uphold the sanctity of contracts entered
into by the federal government, it will not shy away from implementing
provisions of the contract agreement dealing with non-performance on the part
of the contracting party.”

According to the Minister, the legal implications of terminating the contract
have been carefully considered by the Federal Ministry of Works and the Federal
Government.

Mr. Onolememen said: “If you recall
we have been on this issue for quite sometime now and we have meticulously
followed the concession agreement, the provision of relevant clauses of the
agreement. We have complied fully with the provisions of this agreement. We
have had cause even in the past to write the concessioneer to detail the
breaches which it had committed in this agreement in this particular
transaction and we have also followed the minimum and maximum number of days
the contractor was expected to remedy the situation but failing which the
Federal Government had no alternative but to take this course of action”.
He noted out that Bi-Courteny was
supposed finish the job in four years, which will come to a close in about six
months’ time, with nothing on the ground to suggest that it is capable of
fulfilling the objective.
On whether it was a mistake giving
the concession to Bi-Courteny in the first place, he said, “I would not
want to say that it was a mistake, because though I was not [the Minister] at
that time, perhaps at that time they had the most responsible bids, the details
best known to the then Minister of Works and his team that handled the project.
“But again it is not out of place to
give Nigerian companies opportunities to handle projects of this nature. This
is our country, whoever has the ability and the capacity to do projects of this
nature we believe should be encouraged”.
On the percentage of work done on the
road so far, he said: “I will leave that for those who use the road. As
far as we are concerned the terms of work have not been complied with”.

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