NSE, firm pledge support for Calabar-Itu dualisation road construction
NSE, firm pledge support for Calabar-Itu dualisation road construction

An indigenous construction company, Sermatech Nigeria Limited and the Cross Rivers State chapter of the Nigeria Society of Engineers have pledged support for the construction of the Calabar-Itu road.

The parties however accused the Cross River South Consultative Forum of misinforming the public about the dualisation of a portion of the Odukpani-Itu highway.

This was contained in a separate statement issued by the firm the state chapter of the NSE on Saturday.

The Cross River State Representative of Sermatech, Mr Ento Edako, in the statement claimed the group calling for the revocation of their contract was doing so from the standpoint of ignorance.

Late November, the Cross River South Consultative Forum appealed to the Federal Government to revoke the contract for the section of the 97-kilometre road awarded to Sermatech on claims that the firm lacked the expertise to handle a 50-kilometre stretch of the road spanning Ikot-Nyong in Onim Ankiong Ward of the Odukpani Local Government Area, Cross River State to Oku-Iboku in Itu LGA of Akwa Ibom State with five bridges.

However, contradicting the claims of the group, Edako said that Sermatech was handling only 28km stretch of the 97km Odukpani-Itu highway which cuts across Cross River and Akwa Ibom states.

He said, “The portion that was mentioned is not within the Sermatech section but rather Julius Berger’s. The portion spanning the Odukpani junction to the power plant area is under the purview of Julius Berger. The number of bridges under Sermatech is four, not five as stated by this faceless group. Out of the four bridges in our section, we have fully constructed and completed two; the Atan and Okpokong bridges, respectively.

“Sermatech has intervened on this portion twice when traffic collapsed to ameliorate the suffering of commuters. This was before Faith Plant went to do their palliatives. The Cross River South Consultative Forum should get proper information from project stakeholders such as Federal Ministry of Works or NNPC in order not to mislead the public. It should be of great interest to all to note that the particular area of concern is not under Sermatech but Julius Berger.

Similarly, the NSE, in a statement by the Calabar chapter Chairman, Dr Desmond Ewa, condemned the claims made by the group, pointing out that the contract for the stretch of road in question was awarded to Julius Berger Plc and not Sermatech.

The NSE state chairman said, “We had conducted several site inspection visits to the project to monitor progress and conformity to standards. Sermatech is doing well and should be commended.

“NSE is advising the socio-political group to desist from distracting the contractor and to allow work to progress. This road is the only link to the state capital and every well-meaning Cross Riverian should support its completion. They should rather put pressure on the Federal Government to resolve compensation issues bedevilling the project.”

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