Calabar-Itu highway contract: Youth, host communities reject SERMATECH

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Youth, host communities and other stakeholders have rejected the re-awarding of the contract for the construction/dualisation of the Calabar-Odukpani-Itu-Ikot Ekpene Federal Highway to SERMATECH (NIG) Ltd.

The youth and other stakeholders hinged their stiff opposition on alleged incompetence lack of technical capacity to handle the job by SERMATECH.

Recall that the contract for the construction of the road was, few years ago, said to have been awarded to Julius Berger. The construction giant had mobilised equipment and men to site, but to the surprise of stakeholders, the same job was allegedly re-awarded to SERMATECH.

In a press conference in Calabar, Wednesday, representatives of the Niger Delta Youth Movement (NDYM), National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), National Association of Cross River state Students (NACRIS), Cross River South Progressives Forum, (CRISPROF) and host communities alleged that many roads constructed in the state by the company had failed within six months.

Reading from a prepared text, the state chairman of the Niger Delta Youths Movement, Comrade Aniefiok Inyang, said “it came to us as a shock when words filtered to us that Julius Berger will no longer be responsible for the construction of the entire stretch of the highway and that SERMATECH (NIG) LTD has now been awarded the longest stretch of the highway with the distance of 50km of the 97 km of the entire highway.

“We object most vehemently and vociferously to this award if contract to SERMATECH and call on His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently direct the Minister of Works & Housing, Babatunde Fashola, and the Ministry of Works & Housing to urgently revoke the said contract and re-award same to another more competent company.”

Giving reasons for their position, Inyang said “SERMATECH NIG LTD lacks the necessary requisite experience in the construction of roads and bridges in Nigeria.

“A large section of the portion awarded to SERMATECH is in very difficult and swampy terrain and SERMATECH NIG LTD has no technical expertise nor pedigree in such serious construction work.”