The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, has re-awarded the contract to construct the official residence of the Nigerian Vice President in Abuja.
During an inspection of the project yesterday, Wike said the hurdles that hindered the completion of the Vice President’s residence included financial constraints.
Initially awarded to Julius Berger in 2010 for N7 billion, the project was halted due to inadequate funding, resulting in a current cost estimate of N15 billion, more than double the initial budget.
Expressing confidence in Julius Berger’s capability to expedite the project, Wike assured the company of the timely mobilisation of funds, aiming for completion by May 2024.
“You made a promise to us that you will complete this project within 7/8 months. Even though we have not mobilised you, you have shown concern by working.
“It is very important and shows that you have confidence in us. Let me assure you that we will mobilise you before December. After that, you have to expedite work to ensure completion before May 29, 2024.
“I believe that you can achieve that. I also believe there is no need to wait. If you know my antecedent, you know that I don’t make promises I cannot fulfil.
“As far as I have gotten the support of Mr President and Vice President, I can tell you to go ahead and put everything in hand so that we can achieve this so that all the stories of abandoned properties will no longer be there. It will be a thing of the past.
“The manpower shows that you are serious, so just go ahead, and we will give you the funds to be able to mobilise.
“Look at the Vice President’s residence that was awarded in 2010 at the cost of N7 billion. That project was abandoned. And we have called back Julius Berger and said look, can you complete this project within eight months? They said yes, but they can’t continue with it at the same cost, which is obvious.
“A project that was awarded in 2010 at N7billion and was abandoned because of no funding. They said they cannot do it for less than N15 billion, looking at the cost of building materials. We have told them that before the end of the month, we will fund them so that they can finish it.”
The minister underscored the urgency of addressing long-pending infrastructure projects and their strain on the capital’s development.