The Federal Government has ordered the immediate suspension of reconstruction work at the Eleme-Onne section of the East-West Road in Rivers State.
The Minister of Works, David Umahi, disclosed this while speaking to newsmen in Port Harcourt on Sunday.
Umahi said the order became imperative following the use of sub-standard materials by the contractor handling the project.
While noting that he inspected the work the previous day (Saturday), he also expressed sadness over the slow pace of work even after the government had made an advance payment of N33 billion.
The Minister explained that the work has to stop pending when some irregularities concerning the project are resolved, saying with the pace of work by the contractors the work cannot be completed in five years.
“The project must benefit the people. The rainy season is coming in two months and the people will go ahead suffering.
“You have our (FB) N33 billion. Do you know what the interest rate is every month on the bill?
“The President had to order me in September to come here and order the payment because some people in Rivers State went to see the President and we paid you N33 billion, since that time till now,” he said.
He further said, ” I saw that the sand they are using is not river sharp. What we paid for is river sharp sand.
“I’m not satisfied. The idea is that when you place the lumps, the lump would be good. But when you place the sharp sand there are some voids between the lumps.
“That confirmed that it was very clear. So I directed that the company should be written and they should ensure that they remove the sand.”
Continuing, he said, “I was very shocked that instead of removing the sand they had continued with the sand.
“The contractor is carrying out the job, but at snail speed. If we allow him even another five years he will not finish So we are not going to allow him.”
He, however, said a meeting with the contractor has been scheduled to look at the anomalies after which the errors would be ex-rayed and the new timeline would be given to ensure the project is completed.