Abia to complete reconstruction of its section of Port Harcourt Road by December

Abia government on Tuesday said that it has not abandoned the reconstruction of the section of Port Harcourt Road which lies in Aba.

It said it stopped work because of the challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic.

It said that the government would complete part of the six-lane road by December and the rest of the road before Ikpeazu’s tenure ends.

Chief Okiyi Kalu, Abia Information Commissioner, disclosed this in Aba on Tuesday during a news briefing to address some issues for which Aba residents have been complaining about.

He said that the World Bank began giving Abia loans during Ikpeazu’s tenure because it found his administration transparent and which was not the case with previous administrations.

“Gov. Ikpeazu did everything necessary to ensure Abia met and surpassed the benchmarks which made the World Bank to approve loans for the state”, he said.

Kalu said that the 56 million dollars that some politicians were alleging that Ikpeazu’s administration squandered and did not use for activities in Aba-South was meant for the World Bank erosion control measures.

He said that work was going on at various sites in Aba-South Local Government Area (LGA), including Ngwa Road, Port Harcourt Road and Ndiegoro.

He, however, pointed out that work had slowed down because of the rains.

“We cannot move to remove the refuse dumped on Port Harcourt Road because of the rains but we will soon remove it and re-commence the reconstruction of the road.

“Ndiegoro flood management money is in the project account of the World Bank and the partnering state government, which is Abia.

“And nobody working for Abia government can remove one kobo from it without a “No Objection Certificate” from the World Bank.

“World Bank projects are divided into milestones and if you achieve milestone number one, you produce a job completion certificate and submit to Abia NEWMAP which verifies alongside World Bank consultants.

“Then NEWMAP will request for funds from that account to pay which will be processed appropriately and World Bank will issue a letter saying “We are not objecting to your paying the contractor”.

“What that means is that “We have confirmed that what was said to have been done, has been done, so pay”.

“Based on their operation mode, World Bank will keep money meant for Abia, for instance, in one account and in that case Abia cannot independently withdraw the money provided by the World Bank”, he said.

Kalu said that the 56 million dollars Abia politicians were alleging that Ikpeazu squandered was not even money for Ndiegoro or Aba-South projects.

He said the funds were for all the World Bank projects in Abia since 2015 which is being used in different projects,  including six different World Bank-funded erosion control projects.

He urged fairness on the part of politicians, adding that it was mischievous for anybody to insinuate that Ikpeazu collected 56 million dollars from the World Bank for Aba-South LGA projects and squandered it. (NAN)