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FG Issues Ultimatum To Julius Berger Over Delayed Bodo-Bonny Road Project



FG Issues Ultimatum To Julius Berger Over Delayed Bodo-Bonny Road Project

The Federal Government, through the Ministry of Works, has issued a seven-day ultimatum to Julius Berger Nigeria, the contractor responsible for the 35.7km Bodo-Bonny Road and Bridge projects in Rivers State.

The firm has been instructed to resume work on the project within seven days or face termination of the contract.

This directive follows Julius Berger’s failure to meet an initial 14-day ultimatum issued by the ministry in April.

The ultimatum was given by the Minister of Works, David Umahi, during a meeting with contractors and the peace committee on the project from Bonny Kingdom in Abuja on Tuesday.

“I am giving Berger seven days to go back to the site. If they don’t go back to the site after seven days, that project will be terminated,” Umahi declared, stating that the directive came directly from President Bola Tinubu.

He said the government is determined to complete the project by the end of the year.

Umahi expressed frustration over Julius Berger’s delays and reluctance to adhere to project timelines.

He criticised the firm for attempting to dictate terms to the Ministry of Works and detailed ongoing issues with the company’s performance on other projects.

“This Ministry of Works will not be dictated to by any contractor. We will not allow a contractor to dictate to us. If this marriage fails, I want to recount that we have been having a very troubling marriage with Berger since September 2023,” Umahi stated.

He pointed out problems with Julius Berger on several key projects, including Lagos-Ibadan, the second Niger Bridge, Abuja-Kano, and Cross River. 

To avoid further embarrassment, Umahi directed the Permanent Secretary to take immediate action on problematic sites.

In April, the Federal Government allocated an additional N20.5 billion to Julius Berger to expedite the completion of the Bodo-Bonny project, setting a new deadline of December 2024.

The project, initially awarded in 2017 through a partnership between the ministry and Nigeria LNG Limited, was valued at N120.6 billion and was to be funded 50% by Nigeria LNG Limited.

The 39 km road is intended to be the first road link between Bonny Island and the rest of Rivers State.

Despite these efforts, progress has stalled due to Julius Berger’s declaration of force majeure, citing the dwindling exchange rate.

The ministry had previously ordered the company back to the site last December.

Governor Umahi concluded by giving Bonny Kingdom the option to appeal directly to President Tinubu if they disagreed with his decision, stating, “If I give Berger beyond this, it will destroy the Ministry of Works.”