The Minister for Works, Dave Umahi, has announced that the rehabilitation and palliative work on all failed federal roads will commence on December 1, 2023.
He also reeled out plans for actualising a sustainable road infrastructure throughout the country.
In a personal statement posted on his X (formerly Twitter) account on Monday, the minister said his response was based on the complaints by commuters and residents on dilapidated federal roads.
Roads including the Makurdi-Nsukka 9th Mile Road, East-West Road, Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, Benin bypass road, collapsed bridges of Enugu- Port Harcourt road, collapsed bridges of Shandam-Plateau State, Abuja-Kaduna- Zaria-Kano road and Gombe- Bauchi among others.
He promised to tackle road infrastructure issues head-on, not minding the heavy volume of debt burden inherited from most of the ongoing road projects.
He said, “The attention of the Federal Ministry of Works has been drawn to the concerns of the public on the deplorable situations of some sections of the federal roads throughout the federation as reported in many media platforms, especially social media and newspaper pages.”
He explained that N300bn funding in the 2023 supplementary budget dividend into N100bn immediate palliative works on all roads in the 36 States and the federal capital territory and N200bn for completion of most inherited ongoing projects would provide succour for Nigerians.
“Without prejudice to all the good efforts of the past administration on road infrastructure development which they tackled within the limit of their resources, the work to be done to change the ugly state of our roads is quite enormous.
“Mr. President is not complaining of the challenges he inherited in nearly all sectors of the economy, especially as it concerns our road infrastructure and he has directed that works in those palliative projects must commence before 1st December 2023, while observing all due process.
“On the sections being frequently complained of by the public in all regions of the North and South of the country, Mr. President has equally isolated them and directed immediate actions on them and indeed work has started on all such roads. The public can crosscheck our claims and report back to us,” Umahi added.
The minister also requested the general public to assist the ministry by supervising contractors that will be engaged in palliative works of road infrastructure adding that genuine informants would be periodically recognised publicly in a public engagement forum.
He urged that all poorly constructed roads should be photographed and reported immediately to the following contacts: 08030986263, 08037086137, or 08106423197; showing the name of the contractor, the location and type of contract and defects observed.
“The public is hereby requested to assist the Federal Ministry of Works and FERMA by supervising the contractors that will be engaged in these palliative works and indeed all ongoing projects. It is the right of every Nigerian to have value for their money deployed to the road infrastructure sector and therefore must show both interest and passion in all the ongoing projects. All poorly constructed roads should be photographed and reported immediately to the following contacts: 08030986263, 08037086137, or 08106423197; showing the name of the contractor, the location and type of contract and defects observed.
“The Federal Ministry of Works will document such reports, verify and take effective action to correct such infractions. The Ministry shall also periodically recognise publicly those who made such reports that are genuine in a public engagement forum to be hosted quarterly and will sanction such erring contractors publicly too.”
The former Ebonyi State governor clarified that the Federal Goverment didn’t emphatically ban the use of asphalt in road construction and at no time directed that only concrete pavement be used in the development of road projects nationwide.
He, however, stated a new policy that provides guidelines on the use of concrete and asphalt pavements in road construction projects nationwide.
According to the new policy, contractors for all ongoing projects are simply requested to have a choice to continue to use asphalt or have their projects redesigned on concrete at no extra cost to the government.
“On the use of asphalt: contractors shall stick to only a 5 per cent Variation on Price in line with the signed contract agreement throughout the project and the signed contract shall not be subject to review, especially on bituminous items.
“The thickness of the asphalt pavement as designed must be strictly adhered to by all such contractors and the design shelf life for the asphalt (at least 15 years) shall be guaranteed by issuing an insurance bond through a reputable insurance company in favor of the Federal Government.
“For the use of concrete, contractors must abide by the 5 per cent VOP, and 50-year design shelf life using concrete grade 40.”
Umahi further added that persons complaining and demarketing the concrete technology policy are simply those who do not wish Nigeria well stressing that, “They are the same people that use adulterated bitumen in their projects while putting pressure on our Naira through the importation of adulterated bitumen instead of developing our abundant God-given bitumen deposits in Ogun State and other parts of Nigeria.
“This new policy has not violated any law and the Ministry is forging ahead with this new policy. As of today, most of the ongoing projects are still ongoing with asphalt pavement in line with this new policy while some are redesigned on concrete pavement, depending on the terrain and with full understanding of the affected contractors of those projects,” the statement concluded.