Following inspections
conducted by the Minister of
Power, Works and Housing,
Mr. Babatunde Fashola, on the
Phase 1 of the Section IV of
the Benin-Lokoja Dualization
project, Ehor-Benin City in Edo
State, the realisation arose that
infrastructure development
is a critical foundation for the
nation’s economic revival and
growth.
The Minister, who noted
this in a statement, also added
that road rehabilitation would
determine how much fuel was
burnt on the roads by drivers,
how much time wasted on the
roads and how that would affect
the cost of goods and services,
including food.
Also recalling that this was
one of the commitments made
by the President Muhammadu
Buhari in his New Year’s
Speech, the Minister declared,
“So as this road moves, we
expect to see shorter journey
times, more efficient fuel use
and that is money being saved
in commuters’ pockets.
“We expect to see more
competitive prices of goods and
services. That is our economic
journey; and we will deliver”.
He said the 47 kilometre
road failed because of its
muddy nature adding that
the contractors, Reynolds
Construction Company, was
currently engaged in excavating
the top muddy soil to be
replaced with laterite.
He said the company was
also constructing two drain
chambers to drain water from
the top soil adding that the
company had committed to
making the section motorable
before the Rainy Season.
“This was a very difficult road
to travel last year. We are actually
standing on the drainage facility
at the lowest point of the road.
Last year it was not motorable.
“But now the drain channel,
the box cell to move water has
been cast; another one has been
committed for further down
the road. But this road was not
motorable last year”, Fashola
said adding that government
had to make some emergency
interventions that made it
motorable.
“But the work going on here
is that this entire place was mud
and that was why this section
fails. This is about kilometre
15 which was really horrible to
navigate last year. Now they
have taken out all the mud.
“They have excavated all
the bad soil and they will now
fill it with fresh laterite to
establish the level of the road
and continue their work”, the
Minister said adding that the
road started from around Ramat
Square into Benin City.
The Construction Company,
he said, had already completed
about 15 kilometres and the
remaining would be completed
late this year adding that
while the company was busy
on the 47 kilometre section of
the road, Dantata and Sawoe
were handling another section
while Mothercat was handling
another section till the end of
the road “because our roads are
long”.
Noting that government has
paid all the contractors now
engaged in road projects across
the country, Fashola declared,
“No contractor has any excuse to
delay our work. Any contractor
that does not perform we have
our remedies. It promises to
be a profitable Dry Season
that heralds a motorable rainy
season.
“This is what Mr. President
committed to in his January
speech that you will see
this government busy with
infrastructure that will lay the
critical foundation for economic
revival and growth; and it is
infrastructure that does it”.
Other benefits that have
accrued to the communities as a
result of the project, the Minister
said, include facelifts to the roads
leading to the project, noting
that even the road works the
Government was undertaking
from the Benin- Agho Road was
affected by the development as,
according to him, the drive time
was shorter than when he first
visited in 2016.
Thanking the development
partners, JV Siemens and Azura
as a brand, for its commitment
and belief in the nation’s
economy, Fashola also noted, as
another benefit, that over 1,500
Nigerians worked on the project
Minister was received and
conducted round the on-going
road project by the Federal
Controller of Works in Edo
State, Engr. Oke Owhe and
senior personnel of RCC, the
Construction Company.
Also, on power infrastructure,
Fashola at the weekend
inspected the 450MW Azura
Independent Power Plant in
Benin, Edo State, describing the
project as a proof of the Federal
Government’s commitment to
improving power generation
and experience for the purpose
of diversifying the nation’s
economy.
Fashola, who spoke while
interacting with news men after
the inspection of the Power
Plant built by Azura Power, a
private developer and financier
of Independent Power Plants,
IPPs across Africa, said it was
also a statement of “very clear
intent” about the commitment
by President Muhammadu
Buhari to fulfill his promise of
improving power generation.
The Minister, who also
described the project as a
statement about the commitment
of the administration “to do
everything it can to enable the
Private Sector to deliver on
its own specialty which is to
make investments such as this”,
pointed out that the description
was in the context that the
Infrastructure development: A critical
foundation for economic revival,
growth
34
project was facing very many
approval difficulties before
President Buhari came into
office in 2015.
Recalling his first visit to
the project, when, according
to him, the foundation was
being laid, Fashola stated that
between then and his current
visit, the Azura IPP and other
surrounding communities have
transformed
“The members of the
communities who are providing
water, food and all sorts of
services to the workers who are
here, have experienced a new
economy”.
“But beyond the hard work,
beyond the economy, there are
also jobs. You’ve seen people
moving from one company
to another. Some of the guys I
spoke to in the Control Room
used to work with government,
some with GE, NDPHC and
others, still they moved here
because there are new job
opportunities, and more of this
will come, without a doubt in
my mind.
“When we started, I talked
about incremental power, this is
it”, the Minister said, expressing
the hope that the President
would be there on completion
of the project later this year
to officially commission this
project and add it to the stock of
power.
He added that although work
was yet to finish on the project,
it is already generating power.
Pointing out that the project
was one of the commitments the
President made in his address
in January this year, Fashola
declared, “This is one of the
Power Plants; Katsina will
happen and so will Kashimbila
and quite a lot of others at
different levels.
“Some of them may not be too
visible in terms of Mini-grids
which are being installed in the
villages and communities to
increase access to electricity. So
we mean business and we are
moving”.
The Minister also visited the
Niger Delta Power Holding
Company, NDPHC owned
460MW National Integrated
Power Plant, NIPP in Ihovbor
and the 330/132KV transmission
substation evacuation facilities
in Benin North.
There, he was told that
although the two lines with
1,000MW carrying capacity,
would not have the capacity to
carry the power from Azura.
The company was currently
constructing another line from
the Ihovbor transmission station
to Benin North to join the line
coming from Onitsha in order
to carry the power generated by
the Azura Plant.

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