Federal Government has reiterated plans to complete about 206 already contracted road projects particular those that were not completed during the past administration in all the geopolitical zones of the nation.
It would be recalled at the inaugural press briefing of the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Banatunde Raji Fashola SAN, where he said that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari would not be embarking on any new road project, but focus on the completion of existing ones.
Pinpointing some of major arterial roads in the North – South region, the Minister mentioned the Ilorin-Jebba-Mokwa road, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway among others on the priority list involving those carrying heaviest traffic.
Mr. Babatunde Fashola, who made the declaration while fielding questions as a guest on Channels Sunrise Programme yesterday, described as wrong the practice of the recent past administration, whereby, roads were lumped together with just little funds, not considering the extent of rehabilitation such road projects needed, saying it was not the right approach.
“For me, that is not the way to go. The strategy I recommend is that let’s take the roads that carry the heaviest traffic and phase them; take Phase 1 this year finish them or push them to near completion. Then next year Phase 2, third year, Phase 3 and in each phase let us ensure that at least every geopolitical zone in the country gets something”, he said.
Noting that some of the roads are more compelling than others, Fashola, who cited as his classic case the Ilorin – Jebba Road, which he described as a lifeline for Agricultural products and lots of other supplies from the North to the South, said his experience while on inspection of the road was horrific.
“Now, as far as the states of the roads go, I started a tour and I started from the North Central. I visited all the six states, inspecting power formations, road formations and civil works projects that we were doing there and I saw our people, literally trying to salvage their vegetable products that had perished because they were stuck there for four days”, he said.
The Minister said, because of the impassable state of the Ilorin – Jebba- Mokwa Road, “there was endless queue of trucks carrying all sorts of things, construction materials, petrol, pipes and so on which got stuck there for days. The only way I could pass was through a bush path, through an elevated detour”.
He noted further, that although N14 billion was contracted for the 98 kilometre road that the past administration could not pay the contractor.