By Salim Yunusa

The Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) has accused the Federal Executive Council (FEC) of terminating the rehabilitation of the N72.34 billion eastern railway line from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri despite the fact that the contractors have achieved more than 80 per cent of its completion.

This was disclosed yesterday in Abuja by the Director of Operations of the NRC, Mr. Niyi Ali, when he appeared before the House of Representatives ad Hoc Committee investigating the N72.34 billion 1443km railway rehabilitation contract awarded to Eser Contracting Industry Company Incorporated, CGGC Global Projects Nigeria Limited, Lingo Nigeria Limited and Eser Contracting and Industry Company Incorporation.
He said following the termination of the contract, which was more than 80 per cent completed, the FEC rewarded the contract at the cost of $3.2 billion.

Ali recalled that in 2011, a decision was made to carry out rehabilitation on the entire easter, which was divided into three segments.

He said the first segment of the contract from Port Harcourt to Makurdi was awarded to Eser Contracting Industry for a sum of N19.63 billion and the contract duration was initially for 10 months.

Ali noted that the second segment was from Makurdi to Kuru, with a support line to Jos and also a support line from Kafachan to Kaduna. This, he said, was awarded to CGGC Global Projects Nigeria Limited at the sum of N24.45 billion for an initial duration of 10 months.
He explained that the third segment was from Kuru to Maiduguri, which was awarded to Lingo Nigeria Limited at the sum of N23.72 billion fot duration of 10 months.
He stated: “What I need to explain at this point was that a decision was made by the FEC to reconstruct the eastern line from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri (reconstruct and have additional lines). There are going to be additional connections added to the eastern line. That was why the award of the $3 million contract.

“That decision led to us having to come up with an exit plan for the existing contracts. This is when we now called the three contractors involved and decided to exit or terminate the contracts that were ongoing at the time.”
Ali stressed that the NRC went into negotiations with each of the contractors and was able to reach a settlement situation with Messer’s CGGC and Eser while Lingo headed for the Court of Arbitration.

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