The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Permanent Secretary, John Chukwu, yesterday assured the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban ki-Moon, of the commitment of the Federal Government to complete and handover the damaged United Nations, (UN) Common Building in six months.
Chukwu gave the assurance after laying of wreath in honour of the 23 victims that died in the unfortunate bomb attack on the UN House on August 26, 2011. He said the Federal Government would do everything possible to avoid further delay.
The permanent secretary challenged the contractor, M/S Julius Berger Nigeria, handling the job, to work round the clock even if it meant running three shifts to complete the work in order to put that sad event behind us.
His words: “The contractors already said they would need between five to eight months to get the job fixed but I have asked them to fast track their approach by working 24 hours to get it done within 5 months.”
According to him, “we cannot afford to delay here anymore, this project is very important, because Nigeria government is committed to its obligations”. He reiterated that the FCT Administration and the United Nations had sorted out all grey areas as some of the meetings even included the UN experts.
Speaking on the occasion, the representative of the contractor, who also serves as the Division Manager, M/S Julius Berger Nigeria, Mr. Marco Braun, assured that with adequate funding the firm would try its best to deliver.
Ban ki-Moon commended the Federal Government for rebuilding the UN House and urged UN workers to be patient for the completion of the building.
His words: “I am happy to be with you today I know the troubled you are passing through and very soon all will soon become history. I pay tribute to all our 23 friends who lost their lives during the Bomb blast. We still remember them. “I also commend the survivors for the courage that they continue to show in working for a better future.
“I commend Nigerian government for the commitment to rebuild the UN House as a symbol of our working relationship. I thank the UN staff for their cooperation and patience. We have the mandate to help promote peace. Please do not allow the sad development hinder your performance and commitment.”
The Chairman of Federation of United Nations Staff Association in Nigeria (FUNSAN), Dr. Noma Owens lamented that United Nations agencies were scattered all over town because of the delay in the completion of the UN House.
His words: “UN workers are people that work hard and are committed to the promotion of peace in Nigeria and all over the world. His coming is a moral booster and to share some of the challenges we have had.
“The key challenge is the fact that Unite Nations agencies are scattered all over town because of the delay in the completion of the UN House. We appreciate all that the Nigerian government has done.”
The solemn wreath laying is part of the United Nations Secretary-General’s programme of activities lined up for his two-day official visit to Nigeria.