The Federal Ministry of Works, Housing and Power has renewed its commitment to the construction of new roads and the maintenance of existing road infrastructure.
The assurances were given in a National Survey conducted nationwide by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the ongoing rehabilitation and reconstruction of federal roads in the country.
The officials who spoke with in interviews with NAN, explained that repair work and reconstruction had been carried out on most federal roads in their areas, within the level of resources available for such activities.
According to Mr Ayoola Bolaji, the Maintenance Engineer, Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) in Bayelsa, the state has a total of six federal roads.
Bolaji said that some of the roads included the Mbiama/Yenagoa, Primary Road 1, 2 and 3, Yenagoa-Imiringi-Oloibiri and the ongoing 20.9km Yenegwe/Kolo/Otuoke road project.
“We have carried out a direct labour drive on various roads which involved activities such as vegetation control and the reinstatement of failed portions of the carriageways, patching of potholes and asphalt overlay of distressed sections of the road,’’ he said.
Similarly, Mr Charles Okonma, Director of Highways, Federal Ministry of Works, South-South Zone, also told NAN that the importance of roads to economic development cannot be over-emphasised.
Okonma also assured that the ongoing 20.9 km Yenegwe/Kolo/Otuoke project would be ready for inauguration by December 2019.
He explained that the project was part of the infrastructural development plan designed in respect of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
Also, Mr Alex Lei, a representative of the China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC), handling the Yenegwe/Kolo/Otuoke project, noted that mobilisation and advance payment had been fully made to the company.
“We have over 138 indigenous workers, three engineers, three supervisors and 15 technicians; we also have eight Chinese workers with us. So definitely, we will be pushing hard to ensure quality work,’’ Lei said.
However, Suzzy Ayibaowei, a resident of Imiringi, in the Ogbia Local Government Area, decried the way people have suffered in terms of bad roads in the area.
He urged the Federal Government to expedite action to complete some of the ongoing road projects in Bayelsa.
The Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing has mobilised four contractors to site to ensure the speedy completion of the Benin/Auchi/Okene dualisation road project in Edo and Kogi.
Mr Oke Oweh, the Federal Controller of Works in Edo, who disclosed this in an interview with the NAN in Benin, said that the road was grouped into sections.
He said the construction companies on the road included Mother Cat, Dantata and Sawoe and the Reynolds Construction Company (RCC).
“The ongoing dualisation of Okene/Auchi, which is in Section Two of the road is being handled by the Mother Cat Construction Company.
“The Section Three, which is from Auchi to Ehor, is being handled by the Dantata and Sawoe Company, while the RCC is handling the Ehor to Benin dualisation, which is Section Four of the road,’’ Oweh said.
He said that the Okene/Auchi project originally had a 42-month duration between 2013 and Dec 8, 2017, but the contractors demanded for an extension of 60 months.
“Auchi/Ehor which was awarded in Dec. 2012, ought to be completed by Nov. 4, 2017, but the contractors demanded an extension which has now extended the completion period to 76 months, instead of 40 months.
“Ehor to Benin was awarded on Dec 3, 2012 and work commenced immediately in the same month but is expected to be completed on Dec 23, 2018,’’ Oweh said.
According to him, the ongoing 75.1 kilometres Ewu/Agbor road dualisation which began in 2015, was scheduled for completion in 2017 but the contractor demanded for an extension.
“Ewu/Agbor dualisation project was awarded to Setraco Construction company at N47 billion but mobilised with N300 million, instead of N17 billion, hence the company requested for an extension,’’ he said.
Oweh said the 22 kilometres Benin/Adumagba/EgbaAkure road was originally awarded to Enerco Nigeria Ltd, to be completed in 36 months but was later extended to 58 months.
He said that 10 kilometres of the 22-kilometre Benin/Adumagba/Egba/Akure road had been completed.
According to Oweh, the Ada-Ikere/Nkomi/Amadikhian road in Esan North-East local government of the state, which is being rehabilitated by ARC Marine Civil Contractor Ltd, is at about 75 per cent completion level.
He said the Irrua/Uromi/Illushin road, awarded to Mother Cat Construction Company for rehabilitation in 2016, is to be completed within 12 months, but was not captured in the budget, hence the extension.
According to him, rehabilitation of the Access road to the Federal Government College, Ibillo/Ikpessa/Odo/Ekor/Isua 6.4 kilometre road awarded to Pa-Etos Ltd is at 82.5 per cent completion level.
Oweh, who did not disclose the number of federal roads in the state, said no road project was abandoned, but noted that the projects were being awarded bit-by-bit, depending on availability of funds.
He added that the Federal Government had also embarked on the rehabilitation of state roads through the influence of the National Assembly lawmakers.
Oweh said, however, that as the dualisation of roads was ongoing, the government was also compensating victims whose houses, farm produce, plantations and crops were destroyed.
He said the government hardly destroyed any building without paying compensation, to enable those effected to relocate before the houses were pulled down.
“I cannot vividly tell you how many people were compensated and how much was given, because the work is still ongoing.
“We have Estate Valuers in the Ministry of Lands, Urban Development and Housing, and we have appointed land valuation and compensation consultants who write reports, enumerate and give account of what should be given,’’ he said.
Oweh pointed out that the ongoing dualisation and rehabilitation of roads, which had reached advanced stages, if completed, would boost economic activities and eliminate carnage on the roads.