‘Ember’ months: FG commits N75.8bn to road rehabilitation

‘Ember’ months: FG commits N75.8bn to road rehabilitation
Fashola

The federal government, on Wednesday, said it would commit N75,765,087,178.28 to rehabilitation of collapsed portions of roads across the country.

This, according to the Director, Highway Construction and Rehabilitation, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Mr Folorunso Esan, is to ease movement of people and goods during the Ember months.

Esan disclosed this in Abuja at the meeting of stakeholders in the transport sector to plan and prepare making the roads motorable and ensure the safety of lives on the country’s highways.

He said the rainy season had affected many sections of the road across the country, hence the need for urgent palliative works to avoid further deterioration.

He said such bad roads had been identified, indicating that the affected roads had been mapped out and contracts for the repairs would be awarded to contractors as part of preparation for the ember months.

According to him, the total cost for the repair works is N75,765,087,178.28.

In his address, the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, appealed to stakeholders in the road sector to rededicate their efforts towards improving safety and sanity on the highways.

Fashola said that government was doing all it could to move cargoes by rail as it was fast and make the roads more durable.

“The President Muhammadu Buhari administration is making efforts to ensure that overloaded trucks no longer ply the nation’s highways.”

According to him, a measurement scale device installed on a computer would be put in place around the nation to ensure that trucks and haulage vans did not convey excess goods.

“You may not be aware of this, the government is building the Kano, Lagos and the Abeokuta pipeline and we want to see petrol tankers, timber going on railway and we hope this can relieve pressure on the road.

“I want to appeal to road users, NUPENG, NATO, NURTW and FRSC that we have to work together. Our responsibility is to ensure safety of the road users.

“All the data that we have about the road show us that most of the accidents on the road are as a result of speed violation,” he said.

Fashola said speed violation usually led to loss of control, adding that traffic light violation, dangerous driving, wrongful overtaking, among others, were the causes of all road crashes across the country.

“We are going to start our restrictions with over-loading. We are going to start it in Lagos at the tollgate.

“If your vehicle is over-loaded, you will pay fines, so the reason we have done that is that we want to make it cheaper to comply and make it very expensive to break the law.

“That way, we hope that people will choose to comply instead of paying excessive penalties,” he said.

On his part, the Corps Safety Engineering Officer of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Mr Rindom Kumven, said safety campaign are being launched in all our sectors and zonal commands across the country to create awareness for all road users.

“Along side road condition, surveys are being conducted to see the real conditions of the road and the report will also be forwarded to the ministry.

“We are also identifying the black spot which we have identified over time which can possibly pose a challenge to us.

“All these areas have been identified and are being addressed so that all Nigerians will have a safe travel throughout the ember months and beyond,” Kumven said.

Also speaking at the meeting, NUPENG Deputy National Chairman, Lucky Osezuwa, appealed to government to make good the promise to fix the roads.

Stakeholders in attendance include representatives from the National Road Transport Owners, NARTO; National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG; National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, and Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC.

Others are the Federal Road Maintenance Agency, FERMA, and contractor handling the various road projects in the country, where they have promised to fix failed portions of critical roads across the federation.

Source: NAN