The Minister of Works, Engr. David Umahi has been briefed on the ongoing construction of the Lagos – Abidjan Highway initiated by Heads of State and Governments of five ECOWAS Member States.
Assistant Director, Information of the Ministry, Clement Ezeorah disclosed this in a statement issued on November 15, 2023, on behalf of the Director.
According to the statement, the ECOWAS delegation led by the Commissioner for Infrastructure, Energy and Digitalisation, Engr. Sediko Douka had the briefing
at the Minister’s office in Abuja.
The Minister said that for ease of work and speedy completion, the highway project should have processes for its achievement like sectioning, considering the peculiarities of the areas across the corridor and also noting that some areas might be viable while others may not be.
“I think for ease of work and speedy completion, the project should be sectioned and put a process in place to make the project achievable because some section might be viable while some other sections might not be”, he said.
Umahi underscored the importance of the highway project saying that the road project would propel rapid integration of the region, boost commercial activities, and improve social development among member states.
He also advocated for the use of concrete pavement on the Nigerian corridor as it had been adopted by the government, noting that there were a lot of advantages to using concrete in road construction without having issues of portholes or washouts. Concrete roads have a longer lifespan, can withstand heavy traffic loads, low maintenance, less affected by temperature fluctuations.
“A lot of advantages to using concrete to construct roads, concrete roads last longer compared to asphalt roads reducing the need for frequent repairs and maintenance, it’s stronger and can withstand heavy traffic loads, it also has low maintenance and this has been adopted by the Nigerian government” He said.
Umahi said that while adapting to feasibility results and technical studies, Nigeria would fast-track the completion of her section of the highway describing it as laudable, and would enhance rapid growth.
“We should fast-track the completion of our section following the feasibility result and technical studies and design. A laudable project for rapid growth and development”, the Minister said.
Earlier in his remarks, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Infrastructure, Mr Sediko Douka thanked the Minister for granting them an audience. He noted that Africa’s economic integration was hampered by large deficits in its transportation infrastructure and thus the 2050 ECOWAS vision seeks to enhance infrastructure development recognized as a factor for economic growth and integration of people that will greatly contribute to the creation of a regional environment favorable to the free movement of people and goods.
He said the 1,028 km road project was initiated by the Heads of State and Governments of the Corridor Member States namely: Benin 128km, Cote d’Ivoire 155km, Ghana 576km, Nigeria 79.5km and Togo 89.2km in Yamoussoukro, Cote D’Ivoire on 28th February 2013.
He added that the steering committee of the project is made up of the Ministers of Work of Corridor Member States and the commissioner for Infrastructure of the ECOWAS Commission and the Minister is automatically a member. Their role he said is to provide oversight guidance for the implementation of the project and each of the Ministers reports back to their respective Head of Government.
Also speaking, the Director of Infrastructure Department, ECOWAS, Engr, Malik Ashoke revealed that the link bridge between Nigeria and Cameroon had been completed and commissioned, nevertheless, scanning machines and weighbridges were yet to be put in place.
He, therefore, requested that the Nigerian Minister of Works graciously aid in obtaining the Federal Government’s directive for ease of clearance of the equipment from the wharf.