Visible Construction Company, a firm reported to have won the controversial N42.4 billion contract for the renovation of the National Assembly complex has said it got the job on merit.
LEADERSHIP had last Tuesday exclusively reported that firms which bided for the contract included Rockbridge Construction Limited, (N55.8 billion); ITB Nigeria Limited (N26.9 billion); Julius Berger (N101.1 billion); Gilmor Engineering Limited (N61.2 billion) and Visible Construction Limited (N45 billion), a proposal the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) cut to N42.4billion even without a visible address based on the data it supplied on its website.
But in a reaction yesterday, Visible Construction Company, which said it operates under a conglomerate, Laralek Group of Companies, Strabic Construction Company under a single management, declared that it had been engaged in constructing impactful projects across the country for over two decades, adding that it got the National Assembly renovation project on merit.
The corporate affairs manager/company secretary, Laralek Group of Companies, Barr Hope Okouwagbor, said, “Visible Construction Company, which is under a conglomerate, Laralek Group of Companies, just like we also have Strabic Construction Company, and they are all under a single management. We have been engaged in constructing impactful projects across the country for over two decades. Our head office is a six complex at Plot 12 CIPM Road, Alausa CBD, Ikeja, Lagos and visible to all and sundry.”
Asked that there were speculations that a principal officer of NASS recommended company for the contract award, he replied, “We don’t understand what you mean that we were recommended by the Rt. Hon Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila. Of course, the Speaker is a respected man in the country, particularly Lagos State, but it would be untidy to link him to this contract. Even though the NASS leadership had denied any involvement in influencing award of the contract, it is however a good thing if the Speaker and any other respected Nigerian appreciate what we have been doing. So, it’s not true that the Speaker was particularly involved.
“We got the contract simply on merit and largely by our track record of executing cutting edge and impactful projects. Good to note that this allegation has also been denied by the NASS leadership. Our main interest therefore is that of Nigeria and particularly, the National Assembly. It is also to execute a project that will be a pride to all Nigerians and stand the test of time,” Okouwagbor said.
The company which insisted it followed due process as required by the law in bidding for the project, said it has the competence, capacity, technology and human resources to executive the project.
“We have the competence, capacity, technology and human resources to executive this important and symbolic project to the satisfaction of honourable members, sistinguished senators and Nigerians at large.”
“Our track record speaks for us. We have been involved in notable projects in Lagos, Ogun and Oyo States since 2000. Indeed, we are at present engaged in 35 states of the country. For example, the now famous 21 roads and bridges in Alimosho LG in Lagos, construction of street lights; buildings and stadium at Covenant University; we are currently building the biggest hall of worship in Africa, a 100,000 -seat capacity at Canaan Land in Ota, Ogun State. We constructed the BRT Lane from Oshodi to Abule Egba with pedestrian bridges; Aboru-Abesan Link Bridge just to mention a few.
“We want to use this opportunity to assure the lawmakers and Nigerians in general to be rest assured that we would deliver a quality and top rated job. We want to show the world that a Nigerian company can compete globally. We would not take the trust reposed on us for granted, hence, the money will be well-utilised for the purpose it was meant for.
“Absolutely, we cannot rule out issues of blackmail on things of this nature. We know and were expecting a big fight over the contract, but we were also confident that based on our track record of delivering quality and impactful projects, we would ultimately succeed in getting the job,” the company added.
The contract for the building of the National Assembly complex was awarded to ITB Nigeria on February 18, 1996 by the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) during the military regime of the late General Sani Abacha at the cost of $35.18 million, the first phase was completed in the 1990s and the second phase was executed between 2007 and 1999.
For over 20 years, the structure has not been renovated. In 2019, when the new leadership of the National Assembly led by the Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila came to power, they approached President Muhammadu Buhari on the need to renovate the complex.
Consequently, the FCDA was mandated to send a budget to the National Assembly for the renovation of the complex. The National Assembly building, which is one of the national monuments, is maintained by the FCDA.
A budget of about N37 billion was approved for the renovation of the complex but outcries by Nigerians truncated the project.
With the outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2020, the budget for the renovation project was further reduced to N9 billion without cash backing.
The complex has been hit massive leaking during the raining season but the award of contract for the renovation had attracted several interests from Nigerians.
LEADERSHIP reports that the biggest hall of worship in the world is the Hand of God Cathedral owned by Salvation Ministry initiated in the year 2000 which has 120,000-seat capacity, followed by Glory Dome, Abuja, the headquarters of Dunamis International Gospel Centre built in 2018 with 100,000-seat capacity.