Abandoned 190-Meter Romi-Karatudu Bridge Completed By Gov El-Rufai
After two years of neglect by the immediate past administration, Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, has mobilised the contractor handling the Romi-Karatudu Bridge construction to finally complete the project.
During an assessment tour of some road contracts within the metropolis last Saturday, residents in the area informed our reporter that TigerCat Construction Company, who was contracted for the project, had completed the bridge since February this year, and opened it for use same month. The project is among the 32 roads contracts awarded in October, 2012, by late Sir Patrick Yakowa, then governor of Kaduna state.
Our correspondent also gathered that after the death of Yakowa in an ill-fated helicopter crash near Nembe, Bayelsa State, in December 2012, most of the roads contracts – including the Romi-Karatudu-Kakau Road, were abandoned due to lack of funds.
In a chat with the site engineer, Joseph Onche, after the tour, he said completion of the 190 meters bridge project, which is part of the six-kilometre Romi-Karadu-Kakau-Yakowa Road, was made possible by Governor El-Rufai, who “mobilised us (contractors of the company) back to site.”
He said, “We returned to site November 2015, after Governor Nasir El-Rufai checked the work and saw that there was need to complete it. I think he understood the importance of the road to people in the area. Since then, his government has been making efforts for the payments. But because we exceed the contract duration, the government has completely withdrawn mobilisation. And that, for us, is another double loss,” he said.
“Now, we are working and claiming as we work. The difference is that, with mobilisation there is power to move at very fast pace. We returned to site November last year, and by February we completed it for use.”
He further stressed that failure to release funds on the side of (former) Governor Ramalan Yero administration had stalled the completion of the project. The engineer noted that, “Even at that, we were still on site trying to work, with the hope that the government, then, will consider us for payment – which never came.”
Engineer Onche, however, disclosed that, while the contract was initially awarded for a duration of 12 months’ completion period (from October 2012), “The Syrian company started immediately and was working at a high pace; unfortunately, three months into the project, Governor Ibrahim Yakowa died. But his death didn’t stop us from working; rather, it slowed the pace. The residents of the area can tell that we were working at high pace to ensure that we completed the project on schedule.”
Sati Habila Shok is a resident of Karatudu. He narrated the hardship they faced when the bridge and road was abandoned. According to him, the completion of the bridge has made movement and transportation easy. According to him, “We used to go through Gonin-Gora if we had to go to Romi, which is a stone-throw from here, because the make-shift Iron Bridge was damaged by last year’s flood. We can’t thank El-Rufai enough for completing the bridge, but we are begging him to help us complete the road before rains becomes more serious.”