By David Adeoye
Ibadan – ENL Consortium Limited, the company handling the construction of the East Wing section of Ibadan Circular Road project, has expressed its commitment to the completion of the road in 2022.
Dr Kemi Jorge, Executive Director/Coordinator, South West ENL Consortium, stated this on Sunday in Ibadan, while briefing newsmen after an inspection tour of the road project.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 32-km East Wing of the project spans from the Badeku end of the Ibadan-Ife express way to Ibadan-Lagos expressway, near the First Technical University.
NAN recalls that the ground breaking of the project was performed June 17, 2017 by the immediate past governor, Sen. Abiola Ajimobi, with expectation that the first phase of the project would be completed in 18 months.
However, the project became a subject of public discourse on Thursday when Gov. Seyi Makinde gave a verbal directive that the project should be stopped with immediate effect, citing slow pace of work as reason.
The governor, however, rescinded the order on Saturday through a letter written to the company.
However, while addressing newsmen, Jorge confirmed that the 18-month completion period earlier set for the project.
“We did speak of an 18-month period for the completion of the first phase which is actually a single lane.
‘”We had promised to work on the single lane and get it completed in 18 months.
“But now, we have decided to work on the entire project and the entire project is a four-lane road. We should complete the entire project in 2022,” Jorge said.
According to her, the 32km circular road project is a public-private partnership, with no monetary cost to the state government, adding that it is on a build, operate and transfer (BOT) basis, spanning 35 years.
She further explained that the firm had, on Thursday, received a letter from the state government, with a 90-day ultimatum for some expected progress to be made on the project.
On the financial challenge, Jorge said that the immediate past administration knew that the company had challenges with the financiers, adding that government could not help in securing federal government’s guarantee requested by them.
The ENL director said that the company had secured commitments from another financier, saying that all necessary documentations would be completed in 60 days.
She also stated that the company had paid compensation to not less than 57 villages to the tune of N40 million, installed one asphaltic plant on the site and already committed about N4 billion from its resources into the project.
“ENL Consortium has committed about N4 billion from its resources to the project and we have not received any money whatsoever from Oyo State government.
She said that the company was committed to the development of the state, adding “this is a project that will open up the state in all forms.
“This project will make traffic easier and will make traffic flow better from the state to other parts of the country. So we are committed to completing the project.
“And we are confident that we will finish this project excellently,” she said.
On the level of work done so far, Jorge said that 26 of the 32 km had been cleared, with a breakdown of 10km in Badeku, seven kilometres in Arowojeka and nine kilometres at the Lagos-Ibadan expressway axis.
She said that the company had already achieved 10 percent of the project, promising that it would be delivered at the stipulated time.
She stated further that the project would feature 32 culverts, four bridges and two interchanges, saying some of the earthworks could not be executed in the raining season.
The ENL director said that the company had ordered equipment worth two million dollars and expected to arrive in the country this month, adding construction of the biggest asphaltic plant in Nigeria was ongoing in the state.
Jorge described the company as apolitical, saying they were ready to work with any government to move the state and Nigeria to greater heights.