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Minister Of Works, David Umahi, has refused to back down as he confronts contractors who are considering legal action over the ministry’s push to adopt concrete as an alternative to asphalt in road building.
He denied allegations that his ultimate goal was to use this initiative as a pathway for his company to monopolise contract opportunities.
Speaking at a briefing held in Abuja yesterday, Umahi dared those contemplating litigation, reaffirming that the ministry, under his leadership, has operated in strict accordance with legal provisions.
He emphasized that the ministry’s dealings with contractors are consistently in accordance with the prevailing general condition of contracts, a practice expected from all engineers.
Umahi drew attention to the existence of Clause 51 in the road construction contract, highlighting that it gives the ministry the authority to mandate a shift from asphalt to a concrete layout for contractors. This decision is believed to be stemmed from the long-term benefits of concrete roads, which boast impressive durability.
He explained that his preference for concrete roads was ‘due to the fact that it has at least 50 years shelf life, will reduce the pressure on the naira, boost the economy of the country and create employment, since there are indigenous companies producing cement, unlike bitumen being imported for asphalt.’
Umahi added that any contractor advocating for asphalt roads must commit to an agreement guaranteeing a minimum lifespan of thirty years, aligning with the expectation that Nigerians receive enduring value for their tax contributions.