Julius Berger To Diversify Into Oil, Power Sector

Nigeria’s largest construction company by market value, Julius Berger, says it plans to acquire oil assets and expand into the country’s power sector.

This comes as the construction giant seeks to diversify its business and stay competitive.

The company is also considering bidding for business in other countries in West Africa including Ghana, Benin and Cote D’ Ívoire

Read Also: Indonesian Company To Build Refinery In Nigeria

Julius Berger has formed a partnership with Petralon Energy to work on oil fields in the Niger Delta region and is currently in talks with about eight power-industry investors to build generating plants in the country.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government may soon achieve its objective of boosting Nigeria’s local refining capacity as an Indonesian firm has revealed plans to construct a modular refinery in the country.

The refinery will be located in Akwa Ibom State and on completion is expected to churn out 10,000 barrels of oil per day.

Governor Ayade Asks NDDC To Execute Projects In Cross River

NDDC, Ayade, Cross-riverGovernor of Cross River State, Professor Ben Ayade, has appealed to the Niger Delta Development Commission, (NDDC), to faithfully execute all the projects it allocated to the state in the 2016 budget.

The Governor made the appeal on Tuesday, at the Government House in Calabar, when the Senate Committee on the Niger Delta and the NDDC directors led by the Acting Managing Director, Mrs Ibim Semenitari, paid him a courtesy visit.

He was represented by the Deputy Governor, Professor Ivara Esu, who said that the state deserved sympathy because it was disadvantaged among the Niger Delta states.

The governor’s plea came just as the government is considering to begin work on Calabar-Itu-Ikot Ekpene-Aba Road in Cross River State which had been in a poor state.

 

While the River State Governor is asking for more projects in the state, the 127.6 kilometer long Lagos–Ibadan Expressway, a major route to the northern, southern and eastern parts of Nigeria also craves for attention.

The contractor, Julius Berger, may have returned to site but the impact of rehabilitation said to be ongoing, is yet to be fully felt.

Rail transportation has also been a major craving as it would serve as an alternative in reducing the current pressure on Nigerian roads.

In June, the Minister for Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi disclosed that the proposed Lagos-Ibadan segment of Lagos-Kano rail line and the Port Harcourt- Calabar project, would be ready and operational within the next two and half years when the administration would be rounding up its four-year term.

So far, the government through the Minister Of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, claims it has released 420 billion Naira into the system, with plans to add another 350 billion Naira.

That, according to the Minister, makes 770 million Naira already channeled into capital projects, especially in the works, defense, transportation, interior, power and agriculture sectors.

She also disclosed that the administration was working on raising $1 billion Eurobond and the proceeds for this, would be used only for capital projects.

Senate Summons Julius Berger Over VP’s Residence

SenateThe Senate has summoned a construction firm, Julius Berger, to explain the poor handling of work on the permanent site of the Nigerian Vice President’s residence.

The Senate Committee on Federal Capital Territory gave the directive on Monday.

Senator Dino Melaye, who is the chairman of the Committee, gave the directive during an oversight inspection of the uncompleted residence of Professor Yemi Osinbajo as well as some other construction work in the capital city.

Senator Melaye expressed dissatisfaction with the level of work done on the Vice President’s residence.

The Senator also voiced his displeasure over what he said was high cost for the construction of a new three bedroom flat for the Aide-de-Camp (ADC) to the Vice President.

Akwa Ibom Governor Inspects Drainage Construction Sites In Uyo

Akwa Ibom Governor Inspects Drainage Construction Sites in UyoThe Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, has made an inspection visit to some drainage construction sites under construction in Uyo, aimed at addressing challenges of flooding.

The development is coming in response to recent flooding in Uyo, the capital of Akwa Ibom State in south-south Nigeria, as a result of heavy rainfall in the city.

It is one of the efforts that the Governor is making to ensure good drainage system to also reduce erosion in some areas of the state.

Governor Emmanuel reiterated in Uyo on Tuesday that his administration was poised to alleviate the suffering of the people, stressing that the drainage construction would be completed soon.

He assured the residents and motorists in the city that the hardships they face on the roads would soon be a thing of the past.

In response, the Area Manager of Julius Berger, the construction company handling the project, Peter Reinfenstu, promised to deliver on the project in the next four months.

Last month, Governor Emmanuel called on the Federal Government to rehabilitate the Calabar-Itu Road, so as to save it from gully erosion which is seriously threatening its existence.

The Governor made the call while inspecting one of the erosion sites along the road which is a Federal Road and the only major link between Akwa Ibom and Cross River States, as well as a gateway to the north.

 

Julius Berger To Partner With Bayelsa Government

Gov-Dickson-Bayelsa-300x173The Bayelsa State Government has signed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) with Julius Berger International to develop the Yenagoa/Azikoro Business Park in the State capital.

The Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, signed the Memorandum of Understanding in accordance to the administration’s policy of engendering private sector participation in the development of the state.

At a ceremony marking the MOU signing at the company’s International Headquarters in Wiesbaden, Germany, on Friday, Governor Dickson noted that the new partnership would serve as a veritable framework to fast-track the infrastructural development of the state.

Expressing satisfaction with the performance level of Julius Berger in the execution of projects, the Bayelsa State Chief Executive stated that the relationship between the company and the State Government had been of immense benefit to both parties.

He added that it has brought about the construction of new roads and the expansion of a number of old roads within the state capital and its environs, including the 12 kilometre Isaac Boro road, the NNPC mega station flyover and the Opolo-Imiringi road among others.

While affirming government’s resolve to keep to its side of the MOU, the Governor was of the view that Julius Berger has since grown to be a partner with equal stake in the development of the state and called for a revision of the company’s master plan for the development of the state, in line with the present realities on ground.

In his response, the Managing Director of Julius Berger International, Mr George Marks, expressed gratitude to the Governor and his entourage for embarking on the trip to the company’s headquarters.

As a bid to re-validate the master plan, Mr Mark expressed the company’s gratitude and commitment. He gave assurances that at an agreed time, the company leadership would be on hand to review the master plan and arrange a forum for interaction.

 

New Security Architecture Will Tackle Boko Haram, Kidnapping, Others – Presidency

The Head of Media, office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Public Affairs Department in the Presidency, Bamidele Salam, on Thursday said the Federal Government’s new security architecture will ensure better security for the citizens in 2014.

Speaking on Sunrise Daily, he stated that the containment of  Boko Haram insurgency will continue in the new year as in the 2014 budget, which is currently before the National Assembly for approval, “there is adequate provision of a sum of 700 billion naira on security which is meant to equip the security agencies and make them more proactive in detecting most of these crimes before they are hatched.”

He added that the “Government is also very committed to strengthening the new security architecture which the FG has developed to make our security agencies more proactive, provide better equipment for the security agencies and also involve the communities in partnership with the security agencies.”

“I’m very certain that the security situation as it has to do with the battle against insurgency will be vigorously pursed (like Mr President said in his new year message) while other cases of insecurity like the occasional attacks in Jos as well as incidents of kidnapping in the South East of the country, will be effectively tackled with the new security architecture the Federal government developed in the out-gone year.”

As if the Federal Government’s plan also carters for the Police Force, Mr Salam said although there was no significant drop in terms of insecurity incidents as presented by the Police Force in 2013, the force is also proactive in its mandate. “The authority of the Nigeria Police is also being more proactive than it had ever been.” Salam also mentioned an indication of the pro-activity which was the IGP’s presentation of his scorecard last year.

He further stated that the “New Security Architecture is not restricted to the military and the DSS” as the police is “more fundamental.” He also expressed hope that the culture of accountability will be replicated by other top police officers in the hierarchy.

Speaking on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, he praised the Goodluck Jonathan administration for breaking a 35 year long jinx by commissioning the 106 km long road for expansion, remodeling and reconstruction in 2013.

He stressed that the Lagos-Ibadan expressway was constructed between 1974 and 1978 but between 1978 and 2013, “there was no major action carried out on that road” until the Jonathan’s administration broke the jinx by commissioning the road to contractors, Julius Berger and RCC.

He addressed concerns regarding a huge sum of 167 billion naira budgeted for the construction of works on the road.  “The Federal Government under President Goodluck Jonathan doesn’t embark on any project without following the due processes.” He also noted that the quality of  work to be done on the road will justify the amount spent as additions, such as a flyover (to be constructed at the interchange close to the Redeem Camp), re-construction of bridges and extra lanes are also part of the construction work.

“There is an arrangement with the Nigeria Infrastructural Bank, so that we will not have the usual delays you have occasioned by bureaucracy, lack of enough budgetary provisions and other technical problems.” He added that the timeline set for the project, 48 months, will surely be met.

He also stated that since the funding of the project is “not strictly tied to the budget” citizens should expect to pay tolls upon its completion.

“The amount spent on the road will eventually be justified by the quality of the road that will be delivered to Nigerians,” he added.

US Fines Bilfinger $32m For Bribing Nigerian Officials

Bilfinger SE, the German parent company of Julius Berger, has reached a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to pay $32 million as fine for involvement in a foreign bribery scheme benefiting Nigerian government officials to obtain and retain contracts for the $387 million Eastern Gas Gathering System (EGGS) project.

An official statement by the US Justice Department says that from late 2003 through June 2005, Bilfinger conspired with Willbros Group Inc. and others to make corrupt payments totalling more than $6 million to Nigerian government officials to assist in obtaining and retaining contracts related to the EGGS project.

Bilfinger and Willbros are accused of having formed a joint venture to bid on the EGGS project and inflated the price of the joint venture’s bid by 3% to cover the cost of paying the bribes.

The statement further explained: “At another point in the conspiracy, when Willbros employees encountered difficulty obtaining enough money to make their share of the bribe payments, Bilfinger loaned them $1 million.”

Bilfinger has therefore pledged to implement rigorous internal controls, continue cooperating fully with the Justice Department, and retain an independent corporate compliance monitor for at least 18 months under the 3-year deferred agreement.

The Chief Executive Officer of Bilfinger SE, Roland Koch, said: “We are pleased that we have now been able to put these events from the distant past behind us. In recent years, Bilfinger has consistently expanded its compliance instruments and today has a modern and efficient system.”

The Department of Justice in its statement “acknowledged Bilfinger’s cooperation and its remediation efforts.”

In a separate release, Bilfinger SE said it had significantly reduced its investments in Julius Berger Nigeria PLC (JBN) in 2012, in tandem with the scope of its strategic alignment toward engineering and services. Already the company has reduced its stake in the Nigerian business from 49% to approximately 33%.

Construction Of Second Niger Bridge To Commence – Minister

Work is expected to commence over the next few weeks on the construction of the second Niger Bridge which will link the eastern part of Nigeria to other parts of the country.

Minister of works, Mike Onolememen told journalists after a closed door meeting that German construction company, Julius Berger won the bid to execute the contract after 13 months rigorous procurement process.

He said the second phase of the project which includes detailed project survey and environmental impact assessment that will lead to preliminary site work will commence in the coming weeks.

Lagos-Ibadan expressway: Analyst accuses government of ‘low thinking’

A security consultant and public affairs analyst, Deinde Ariyo on Tuesday described the long awaited termination of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway by the federal government as “a reflection of the low thinking of the government”

Mr Ariyo who was speaking as a guest on Sunrise Daily, one of the flagship programmes of Channels Television, also praised President Goodluck Jonathan’s maturity during the recently conducted media chat.

“Generally, the chat revealed a more matured president away from the last chat he had with the media,” he said.

He said after having a firsthand experience of how impassable the road had become, he wasn’t surprised that the contract with Bi-Courtney was terminated and re-awarded to Julius Berger and RCC.

He further revealed how long it usually takes him to travel to Abeokuta, Ogun state capital, on the expressway when it was in good shape and when it attained its present state.

“I live in Lagos but I go to Abeokuta more than three times a week, so I particularly pass that road and before it got to this present state, my house in Lagos to Abeokuta will usually take me 45 minutes but lately it takes me three to four hours’’.

Mr Ariyo said at a point the road “looked irredeemable and as for me it is a reflection of a low thinking of government”

Lagos-Ibadan expressway: FG kicks out Bi-Courtney, award contracts to Berger, RCC

The Federal Government on Monday terminated the concession of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway granted to Bi-Courtney consortium on May 2009.

The termination of the concession contract follows the promise made by President Goodluck Jonathan during Sunday’s media chat where he promised to ‘fix the Lagos-Ibadan expressway’.

“As a responsible government, I don’t think we can allow Nigerians to continue to suffer. All of us in government, we feel pained that the country is held ransom because of a transaction that probably was not consummated properly because of some kind of issues. But we cannot continue like this, we will intervene on that road,” President Jonathan had said.

Announcing the end of the contract between Bi-Courtney and the government at a press conference in Abuja, the Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen said the termination of the concession is consequent on the serial breaches of the concession agreement by Bi-Courtney consortium and especially the failure of the company to reach financial close as provided for in the agreement.

The Minister said: “The Federal Government today terminated the concession of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway granted to Bi-Courtney Consortium on 8th May, 2009.

“The termination of the concession agreement by Bi-Courtney consortium and especially the failure of the company to reach financial close as provided for in the agreement.

“Due to the senseless carnages on this important expressway which is part of Arterial Route A1, the Federal Government has also decided to embark on the emergency reconstruction of the expressway.

“Consequently, the Federal ministry of Works has engaged the services of Julius Berger Plc and R.C.C Nigeria Limited to commence work immediately on the reconstruction of the expressway.

“While Julius Berger would handle handle section 1: from Lagos to Shagamu interchange, RCC Nigeria Limited will be responsible for section II: from Shagamu to Ibadan.

“The Federal Government wishes to assure that while it will continue to uphold the sanctity of contracts entered into by the Federal Government, it will not shy away from implementing provisions of the contract agreement dealing with non-performance on the part of the contracting party.”

On the legal implication of terminating the contract he said, “The legal implications of this termination have been carefully considered by both the Federal Ministry of Works and indeed the Federal Government. If you recall, we have been on this issue for quiet sometime now and we have meticulously followed the concession agreement, the provision of relevant clauses of the agreement.

“We have complied fully with the provisions of this agreement. We have had cause even in the past to write the concessioneer to detail the breaches which it had committed in this agreement in this particular transaction and we have also followed the minimum and maximum number of days the contractor was expected to remedy the situation but failing which the Federal Government had no alternative but to take this course of action”.

“In terms of percentage payment so far, this is a concessioned project. In other words it is different from the normal EPC contracts, so the FG in a sense did not make any direct payment to Bi-Courteny in this particular transaction. Bi-Courteny was supposed to raise, he would have been able to raise the fund from the private sector and apply it to the construction of this expressway and toll it for as many as 25 years, to recoup his investment and this has not happened, and that is why today the concession has been terminated.

“For your information, under this concession, the construction period is supposed to last for four years and the four years will come to a close in about six months’ time and right now there is nothing on ground to suggest that the company is capable.”

On whether it was a mistake to have given the concession to Bi-Courteny he said, “I would not want to say that it was a mistake, because though I was not in the office as at that time, perhaps at that time they had the most responsible bids, the details is best known to the then minister of works and his team that handled the project. But again it is not out of place to give Nigerian companies opportunities to handle projects of this nature. This is our country, whoever has the ability and the capacity to do projects of this nature we believe should be encouraged”.

On the percentage of work done on the road he said, “I will leave that for those who use the road. As far as we are concerned the terms of work has not been complied with”.

5-storey building gutted by fire in Lagos

Tragedy struck on Saturday as a five storey building in Lagos was razed by fire, destroying property worth millions of naira.

The five-storey building, known as UBA Plaza, on Bread Fruit Street because the building houses a branch of the bank  on its third floor started burning around 5:00pm according to those present at the scene.

Uzuoma Aniekwe; a shop owner in the building, said the fire started shortly before 5:00 p.m., and as he got wind of it he started evacuating his goods from inside his shop on the ground floor and according to Aniekwe the fire started on the fourth floor and flowed rapidly to the fifth floor.

As of 08:20 p.m. in the evening of Saturday, firemen from the Lagos State Fire Service, UBA and Julius Berger Plc., were still battling the fire according to our reporter who was present at the scene of the incident as report had it that the fourth and the fifth floors were mostly affected by the fire.

A senior official with the Lagos State Fire Service in charge of rescue operation, said the arrangements products inside the warehouses was too compact for water to get through which gave rise to the unsuccessful penetration of water into the core part where the fire started from.

The official said the banking hall on the third floor might have remained intact, as well as many offices on the second floor.

In order to secure properties worth millions of naira to be looted by miscreants in the Breadfruit area police and officials of other security agencies quickly swung to action to protect these wares.

Dana Air crash: Coroner issues arrest warrant on Red Cross, Conoil, and Total

The Coroner of Alimosho District in Lagos state, Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe, who is conducting an inquest into the recent Dana Air crash, on Thursday, issued a bench warrant on some oil companies and emergency relief agencies, compelling them to appear before him on Monday.

Dana Air crash site in iju ishaga

Those who the bench warrants were issued on include Red Cross Society of Nigeria, Conoil Plc, and Total Nigeria Limited.

The Lagos Coroner gave the order while responding to a submission made by Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) whose law firm, Falana and Falana Chambers, petitioned the Lagos State Chief Coroner, Justice Lateefat Okunnu, for an inquiry into the air crash.

At the resumed sitting of the inquest on Thursday, Mr Falana reminded the Coroner that some oil companies and emergency agencies that have been served with summons are yet to appear before it.

The human rights lawyer also suggested that the authorities of the Nigeria Police Force should be ordered to investigate the deaths of people that died on the ground, emphasizing that it is not the responsibility of the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB).

He noted that the AIB is only to investigate the causes of the crash of ill-fated Dana airline.

Dana Air Flight 0992 crashed into a residential building in the densely populated Iju-Ishaga area of Lagos on the 3rd of June, 2012, killing all 153 passengers and crew on board and nine people also lost their lives in the affected building.

Magistrate Komolafe and other interested parties also agreed to schedule appearance of more witnesses following the submission of the counsel to the Nigerian Airspace Management, Mr. Obi Okwusogu (SAN).

The Magistrate also directed that any of the witnesses who are submitting deposition should forward it to the court two days before the day they would give evidence.

Video Clips

According to the schedule, Channels Television and AIT are to appear on Monday to show the clips of the crash on the day it happened.

The Lagos State Emergency Management Authority (LASEMA) and Julius Berger, who had earlier been summoned but failed to show up, are scheduled for Tuesday along with National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

The AIB which was represented by its counsel, Maureen Tsenongo at the hearing where she told the Coroner that she intends to submit a written deposition and requested to make appearance on Wednesday, August 1, 2012 to enable her bring its witness.

The Coroner also granted the request of the counsel to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Mr. Babatunde Irukera and his Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), C. Chiwete to appear on Thursday, August 2, 2012 and Monday, August 6, 2012 respectively.

The court proceeding with the Coroner was then adjourned to Monday, July 30, 2012.