Road projects worth N850 billion are currently being executed by the Federal Government in the northern part of the country. Minister of Works, Mr. Mike Onolememen announced this in Abuja at the commencement of 2013 Ministerial Platform – an interactive programme organised by the Federal Ministry of Information.
He listed the projects to include the ongoing dualisation of Maiduguri-Kano Road, which covers 510 kilometers, dualisation of the 212 kilometer Lokoja-Abuja Road, construction of roads leading to the borders with Chad and Niger Republic as well as the construction of Oweto Bridge across River Benue which would link Benue and Nasarawa States.
Mr. Onolememen pledged the readiness of the Federal Government to complete all the road projects in the northern part of the country to promote social and economic activities in the region.
Speaking on the achievements of the Federal Ministry of Works in the last two years, the Minister stated that 32 road projects worth about N126 billion were completed within the period under review.
He said the completed projects include the dualisation of Ibadan-Ilorin Road, Vom-Manchok Road in Plateau Stat, repairs of Third Mainland Bridge Phase Two, rehabilitation of Funtua-Gusau-Sokoto road, rehabilitation of Owerri-Aba Road, and the Katsina-Daura Road in Katsina State.
Mr. Onolememen stated that under a programme tagged “Operation Safe Passage”, embarked upon by the ministry last year, some failed portions of federal highways across the country were recovered.
He mentioned the recovered portion of roads to include Ilorin-Jebba, Lafia-Makurdi, Lagos-Ibadan, Kano-Katsina, Enugu-Port Harcourt, Oturkpo-9th Mile and Odukpani-Itu.
He said “about two years on, Nigerian roads can no longer be described as death traps due to the remarkable improvement in the condition of the roads as a result of the unprecedented rehabilitation, construction and expansion of major arterial highways under the leadership of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR today”.
According to him, the impact of these projects is the reduction in travelling hours as well as reduction in accidents mostly caused by bad roads.
In the same vein, Mr. Onolememen said the ministry in collaboration with multilateral agencies such as the World Bank and the African Development Bank completed the reconstruction and pavement strengthening of Ikom-Mfum Road in Cross River State and Abakaliki-Mbok Road in Ebonyi State.
The Minister also reported that the ministry is exploring Public Private Partnership to reconstruct the Second Niger Bridge in Anambra and Delta States, Apakun/Oshodi-Murtala Mohammed International Airport Road in Lagos State and the Nupeko Bridge across the River Niger.
On road maintenance, Mr. Onolememen disclosed that in 2012 alone, a total of 1,980 kilometers of road corridors were maintained by the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) while an area of 1,337,343 square metres of pot-holes were patched.
In his opening remarks, Information Minister Mr. Labaran Maku said in continuation of the Mid-term Report submitted to Nigerians by President Goodluck Jonathan, ministers have been directed to give detailed account of their stewardship as well as the achievements recorded in their respective departments and agencies in the last two years.
He said the objective of the Ministerial Platform is to provide a platform for public engagement in the governance process, in line with the tenets of democracy, which is anchored on accountability, transparency and inclusivity.
Mr. Maku noted that for democracy to make the desired impact, public officials must be accountable and responsive to the needs and aspirations of the citizens.