A non-partisan and apolitical assemblage of professionals and patriots, the Plateau Transparency and Accountability Initiative (PLATAI), has accused Governor Simon Lalong of inflating the cost of the ongoing British-America Overhead Bridge Project for the purpose of funding the state All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship election.
Meanwhile, the Plateau State Government has denied it, saying the allegation is frivolous and baseless.
Commissioner for Information and Communications in the state, Dan Manjang, said Prices of things have changed, asking whether the PLATAI chairman is a quantity surveyor.
In a media briefing, yesterday, by PLATAI’s Chairman, Simon Dung, the group claimed that it uncovered plans by the Lalong administration to do an upward review of the contract cost in response to the current inflationary trend in the country, as well as new projection of cost of the election, especially as it has become obvious that the contractor will not be able to deliver the project as earlier specified.
Platai said: “We feel duty bound to rise to the occasion and demand for quality delivery of public infrastructure and other social services to the people of Plateau, especially in this period of political transition from one administration to the other.”
Against public outcry, “the Lalong administration initiated and launched the construction of an overhead bridge at the British-America Junction area that interfaces the Bauchi Bye Pass with Murtala Mohammed Way and Bauchi Road, as well as the Terminus area of Jos metropolis.”
According to the group, “at the ceremony to commence the one kilometre stretch of road from Lamingo junction to the British-America interface, the project value was put at N8 billion to be executed and delivered over a 12-month duration, with funding (loan) being guaranteed by Access Bank, which agreed to a 100 per cent mobilisation of the contractor to deliver on specifics, details and duration of the project as designed and planned.”
The body said: “A project that the Lalong administration, against public outcry that the timing is not right, and the motive politically complicated, valued at a reviewed sum of N18 billion, would be part of bourgeoning debt profile incurred by the same government as part of legacies to be bequeath to the state and its future generations.”