Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Kaduna, Chinese firm drive N45b urban renewal project amid security scare

 
Despite reports of growing insecurity and killings, Kaduna State has commenced road revolution under the Urban renewal programme which has given the state capital a facelift.
Surprisingly, the state capital which should have been looking forloon and abandoned, has been turned into one huge construction site with a leading Chinese construction firm, CCECC Nigeria Limited building over 19 roads simultaneously.
Hitherto failed roads, are either been expanded or dualized, making Kaduna, one of the most beautiful and clean state capitals.
The Urban Renewal programme, has no doubt returned Kaduna to it’s glory days as a trade centre and a major transportation hub for the surrounding agrarian areas.
The construction firm, CCECC Nigeria Limited, according to residents of the city, especially the motoring public, have delivered on quality projects that has cured the nightmarish experience of driving in the metropolis.
Not just Kaduna city, Zaria and Kafanchan are also captured in the renewal programme.
Apart from the roads, the CCECC is also building Kaduna’s first shopping mall, the Kaduna Galaxy Shopping Mall, at the cost of N4 billion in partnership with the state government and development partners under the PPP arrangement.
When completed, the mall which will house the South African sales outlet, ShopRite and other businesses, will also boost the already burgeoning commercial activities in the city.
Meanwhile the Managing Director, Kaduna State Roads Agency (KADRA), Engineer Mohammed Lawal Magaji, said that the Urban Renewal programme was designed to open up the communities and tackle insecurity.
He disclosed that a total of thirteen roads are to be dualized and seven others expanded under the first phase of the programme at a total cost of N45,844,608,119.76.
Some of the roads awarded under the fist phase of the programme include the completion of dualised Umaru Musa Yar’adua Way to Eastern Bypass, rehabilitation and Expansion of Katuru Road (fromIsa Kaita to Rabah Road) plus Junction Improvement at Sultan Road/Isa Kaita Road Junction, construction of Urban Shelter Road (Umaru Yar’adua Way) to Patrick Yakowa Way, Dualisation of Yakubu Gowon Way – Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital-Waff Road including an Underpass at Leventis Roundabout and the dualisation of Waff Road (from NEPA Roundabout to Essence Junction), including Junction Improvement at Essence Junction.
Others are Dualisation of Alkali Road complete with road furniture, dualisation and Junction Improvement of Existing Race Course Road from Independence Way leading to Tafawa Balewa Way, dualisation of Existing Rabah Road (From Arewa House Junction To Waterboard)D, dualisationof Rabah Road by Arewa House to Nnamdi Azikwe Express Bypass including an Overpass), Nnamdi Azikwe to Rigasa Train, rehabilitation and Expansion of Poly Road from Govt House Roundabout to Dutsenma Road via Kasuwan Barci Roundabout and expansion of Kabala Costain to Aliyu Makama Road, complete with a 230m bridge, among others.
Giving further details, Magaji, disclosed that the Urban Renewal programme, was flagged off in 2019 with 18 roads awarded to CCECC Nigeria Limited, while two others were added to make it 20 city roads.
“So far, among the roads being handled by CCECC, we have completed four roads, we also have other roads that have reached advanced stage of completion.
“Apart from these roads awarded to CCECC, we have another five roads within the metropolis under the Urban Renewal programme that will soon commence, they have done the design and are now setting up, these roads are in four Local Government Areas.”
The General Manager of the construction firm (CCECC), Kelvin Tian Xiaoqiang, said the company has been working round the clock to deliver the roads on record time and according to specifications.
He said the firm has fully mobilized machineries and manpower to boost it’s operations in the state, adding that it has the capacity to deliver all the roads and other jobs it is handling in the state without compromising standards and quality.
According to him, reports of insecurity and the COVID-19 pandemic have not deterred the operations of the company in the State.
He said that although, the company has taken measures to ensure adequate security of its staff, especially the expatriates by deploying about 2% of its earnings in engaging security agencies, the workers have never been kidnapped or attacked.
Commending the state government for the confidence reposed in the firm, Xiaoqiang, said the company’s reputation for quality job delivery and competitive pricing, has given it an edge in the construction sector.
He said that the company has efficiently keyed into the state government’s vision of developing the state through the building of quality infrastructure, designed to boost the economy and create jobs, adding that it has so far employed 1,700 youths.
According to him, “we have worked with the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai in Abuja as the then FCT Minister, we worked in the Abuja rail project, so he invited us to Kaduna to work in the metropolis because he knows that CCECC is a company you can trust.
“We do not compromise quality as a company and our price is highly competitive. Since we started this project in Kaduna State, the governor has been very supportive. They mobilize us very quickly and the agencies of government cooperate with us, which has made our job easy. We have a very cordial and beneficial relationship with the state government.
“The government is playing a great role by supporting us and we are also playing our part by ensuring that we are doing good job. Our relationship is getting better and better by the day. All the roads we building are of very high quality and can last for more than 50 years. The on.
At the beginning we had some challenges at the beginning from the residents but after we have built some of the roads and the traffic started moving, they were happy and were asking the government to give the jobs to CCECC.
“Another problem is the issue of compensation, the people felt that the money paid for compensation is too small but the payment of compensation is not part of the contract, it is the state government that sees to that. Some times this delays our speed but if it can be done faster it will help us.
“We have engaged 1700 local workers, Chinese Staff are just 50, most of the jobs are done by Nigerians. Every year we give awards to deserving workers to encourage them”.
On security challenges, the General Manager retorted that, “there is no security challenge in the city, apart from that, CCECC is spending money on security. We engaged the soldiers, Police and private security firm, so the issue of security has been addressed”.
On how the firm has been coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, “one interesting thing I want to tell you, is that we have been working all through the period of the lockdown. We never stopped work for one day. The state government granted CCECC waiver. Our parent company in China told us the measures to take to protect our workers, we applied that and everyone is safe. We met all the COVID-19 protocol and provided our workers with all they needed to stay safe”.
Meanwhile, Kaduna residents, especially the motoring public, commended the Urban Renewal programme and the quality of the roads, which they said have made driving safer and more pleasurable within the Kaduna metropolis.
Ibrahim Mohammed, a commercial driver, commended the state government for initiating the renewal programme, adding that “before now, it was hell driving through most of the major roads in Kaduna but today everything has changed, you can now drive without any problem.
“We are also happy with the quality of the roads. The construction firm (CCECC Nig LTD) is doing a good job, we are very grateful to them.
Mohammed however tasked the state government to engage workers to keep the roads clean, “the roads will last longer and serve better if it is properly maintained. The state government should engage people who should be sweeping the roads and keeping them clean so that it can last for a long time.”

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