Lagos-Ibadan Expressway: Julius Berger, ministry await FG’s guidelines

Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, the contractor handling part of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, and workers at the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing are awaiting guidelines from the Federal Government before resuming work on road projects nationwide.

Officials of Julius Berger and the FMWH who disclosed this in separate interviews on Wednesday stated that contractors left project sites in compliance with the lockdown order of the President.

The FMWH Director, Federal Highways, South-West, Adedamola Kuti, told our correspondent that construction workers were not on various sites because they were not on the exemption list of the President during the lockdown.

He said, “This is a national issue. Julius Berger left site when the government locked down Lagos, Ogun, etc. And the work itself is within that Lagos/Ogun axis.

“So, now that government is trying to reopen the economy, we have been told that from Monday it will be a gradual relaxation.”

Kuti added, “So we are just waiting for the guidelines of government. As soon as the guidelines are released, of course, not only that Julius Berger will return, work will resume on most construction sites.

“When the President locked down Lagos, Ogun and the FCT, we were not part of those on the exemption list. So as soon as the guidelines are released, we shall surely go back to work.”

A senior official at Julius Berger also stated that the construction firm was holding on for the directive from the government.

“You know the opening of business operations in Lagos, and indeed in the country, depends on the government’s decisions on the opening up of the economy in the face of the clear and present threat of COVID-19,” the source, who spoke to our correspondent in confidence, said.

Julius Berger had returned to the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway in January this year and was working on its contract location before the outbreak of COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown that followed.

The PUNCH had reported in November 2018 that Julius Berger stated that the Sagamu-Lagos end of the expressway would be completed by 2021.

The construction company’s Operations Manager, Thamm Olaf, had told the Senate Committee on Works led by its Chairman, Kabiru Gaya, that the project, which was to be completed in 2017, was stalled due to paucity of funds.

Gaya and other members of the committee, who were on an oversight visit to road projects in Lagos, had frowned on the slow work pace on the project at the time.

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