Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has challenged the Federal Ministry of Works to produce documents corroborating its claim of being responsible for the construction of the Five Junction roads and roundabout in Benin City.
The Minister of Works, Mr. Mike Onolemenmen had consistently averred that the road is being constructed by the Federal Government.
The Governor who threw the challenge yesterday while receiving members of the House of Representatives Committee on Works, led by its Chairman, Hon Ogbuefi Ora Ozombachi at the Government House in Benin City said since the State Government has the evidence of being responsible for the construction of the project and the Federal Government is also laying claims to it, then something must be wrong somewhere which would need to be investigated. According to him, “this is an opportunity to clarify an area in which we have had an unnecessary controversy, the area we call the Five Junction, which is one of those areas which over the past 15 to 20 years has been known for flooding. They call it Five Junction because there are several adjoining streets not coordinated, and because there was no drainage, five minutes of rainfall was enough to block the area.
“It was constituting a serious nightmare to motorists and our people. We had discussions with our Ministry of Works and Environment, we felt that it was worthwhile to construct a roundabout there. But anything you do which does not take into account construction of drainage is a waste of money.
“For the layman, seeing asphalt shows you that we are working but for Engineers like you, you know that if there is no drainage, it is not going to last. So we have had to create a network of drainage systems there underground to cover it up, so that those driving will not know there is a drainage underground, and water is flowing to connect from one moat to another. “It was a design that took some time to prepare and at the end, we awarded the contract to RCC which was already doing the expansion of Dawson, Urubi, Uselu roads and we also gave Hi-tec the opportunity to bid for the job and at the end RCC quotation was more competitive and we gave the job to them,” the governor noted.
Oshiomhole who showed the House Committee members the design and quotations by the contractor on the project said, “this explanation has become necessary to lay to rest the controversy surrounding the Five Junction. As you said this should not be reduced as my word against any other persons claim. I have asked the State Ministry of Works to bring me the design as well as the contract so that this issue is settled once and for all. “If the Federal Ministry of Works insists that they constructed that road it means that they are claiming money for a job that they did not do and that will be fraud,” he added. According to the governor, “Edo State Government had to redesign the drainages, widen it and deepen it and get the proper inverse so that when it rains the water flows out. As you know, construction of drainage is more expensive than spreading asphalt, laterite and stone base and that job is still ongoing, which we thought the federal government should be able to reimburse us for the money spent.”
The state governor who listed a number of federal government roads in the state which the state government has worked on called on the Federal Ministry of Works to reimburse the state Government for work done on federal roads in the state. He also appealed to members of the House Committee on Works to visit the Queen Ede gully erosion site to see the extent of damage done by the Federal Government agencies while constructing the Benin – Asaba highway. The Chairman of the House of Representative Committee on Works, Hon Ogbuefi Ozombachi said they were in the state to ensure that roads constructed by the federal government meet the required specification to ensure that Nigerians get value for their money. The committee chairman listed road abuse, inadequate fund and compromise of specification and design as some of the remote and immediate causes of road deterioration in the country.