The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, has urged contractors to rehabilitate portions of the road spoilt by the rains ahead of the yuletide season.
This was disclosed in a statement dated 19th October, 2021 and signed by the Director (Press and Public Relations) of the ministry, Mrs Boade Akinola.
TheFact Nigeria noted that most of the roads in the country were poorly constructed, full of pot holes and is a major cause of accidents.
According to the statement, Mr. Fashola
posited that adverse weather had always posed a challenge to nations globally, he pointed out that the only solution was to plan for such periods and ensure that whatever damages or failures caused by such adverse weather were addressed immediately after the period to restore status of the roads.
The Minister who presided over the seasonal EMBER Months Rehabilitation Briefing in Abuja said the ministry chose to hold the meeting because, it was a period of heightened movement of people, goods and services.
Addressing stakeholders made up of representatives of the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Petroleum Truck Drivers Chapter of the NUPENG, and National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) , the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) as well as government contractors, Fashola said the only way to achieve the said objective was to work in collaboration during the period.
The Minister said aside the transport unions and other road users, the meeting was also important for contractors pointing out that although the period was the time contractors would like to continue their main projects, it was equally important to create a period during which the contractors would work on the failures to enable travellers have a pleasurable time during the period.
Pointing out that construction still takes place during the period, he added:
“contractors at this period are usually more interested in continuing their main work rather than going to repair failures, in order to complete their main contract. So what we are try to do is to get them to realize that what interests the road users at this time is not the new road but the part they cannot pass”, said the minister
Fashola said the Ministry has also commenced a plan ahead of the EMBER period because, according to him, “During December to January things seem to normalize. Between January and June vehicles rarely get stuck” adding that on roads like Lagos-Otta, Calabar-Itu, vehicles rarely get stuck during the period”.
“It is from July through August and September when the rains start that vehicles get stuck”, the Minister said adding that while the rains may favour the fisherman and the farmer, the transporter, whether Aviation, Shipping on Road, the rain poses challenges to all transport logisticians.
“Whether it is shipping, whether it is Aviation, whether it is the road, bad weather poses challenges to all transport logisticians. Flights are cancelled, ships can’t sail, water flood roads and rail stations. We see them all over the world whether as typhoons or hurricanes”, he said.
He noted, however that such periods of discomfort which last for a short while, should not be a reason to stop the movement of people.
He pointed out that the meeting was to help the stakeholders gather and find solution to the challenges and facilitate the movement of people.
Recalling the presentation made earlier by the Director Highways, Construction and Rehabilitation who put the amount needed to effect repairs on the identified road failures across the country at N75 billion, the Minister, who said the year’s budget could not cover such an amount added that the only alternative was to seek alternative sources of funding including borrowing.
Appealing to the road users, especially the cargo handlers and other transporters such as the petroleum tanker and truck drivers as well as others commercial drivers to comply with traffic regulations, Fashola said: “One of the road regulations I would like you to comply with is the Maximum Speed Limit on our highways. It is 100 kilometres not 101 kilometres”, he added.
He disclosed that the Ministry had started calibrating the nation’s weighbridges adding that the government would henceforth start enforcing regulations starting from Lagos and urged the FRSC to begin this season to intensify enforcement of regulations, especially ensuring that any driver behind the wheels had a valid drivers’ license.
In his presentation, the representative from FERMA said the agency identified damages within 17 road corridors across the country, including Lagos-Shagamu-Benin-Asaba-Onitsha, Lokoja- Kabba- Omuo-Ifaki-Ado Ekiti, Umuahia-Ikot-Ekpene-Uyo, Enugu-Port Harcourt, Akwanga-Jos, Kano-Azare-Potiskum and Zaria-Funtua-Gusau-Sokoto, among others.
Also in their presentations, representatives of major contractors, such as CGC, RCC, JBN, ARAB Contractors, Mothercat, CCECC and Sermatech, among others, acknowledged the directives of the Minister to provide palliatives to road sections within their projects damaged by the rains and promised compliance.
Earlier in his opening remark, the Permanent Secretary, Engr. Babangida Hussaini, said the purpose of the yearly meeting was to take stock of challenges posed by the passing rainy season and provide solutions in order to ensure shorter travel time and pleasurable journey across the country during the festivities.
Also present at the briefing were Directors, Federal Controllers of Works from some of the States and Special Advisers from the Ministry as well as contractors and other and other stakeholders.