David Umahi, the minister of works, has announced that the government requires about N217 billion to construct 269 roads across Nigeria.
Umahi, briefing the press on after an inspection tour of the Southwest, Southeast, Southsouth, parts of the Northcentral and Northwest zones, said that many ongoing road projects were put on hold due to lack of funds.
He said, “We have problems with the third mainland bridge regarding resurfacing the top and remedial works underwater, and there is no money to do it.
“All the motions for the National Assembly for interventions are there, but there is no money to do it. We have 269 projects costing N217 billion that need immediate attention through the state, but there is no money.
Umahi stressing on the need for an increase in the annual budgetary allocation to the ministry, called on the National Assembly to return N530 billion, being an amount appropriated for ongoing roads in the 2022 budget.
“We will also be begging the National Assembly to return N530 billion, which is the appropriation of 2022 on the ongoing projects, and of course, they had to give it to President for palliatives.”
Umahi spoke during a briefing on his vision for the Ministry of Works after an inspection tour of the Southwest, Southeast, Southsouth, parts of the Northcentral, the Northwest zones
Speaking on the poor states of some roads across the country, Umahi said, “I was in Benin, Benin to Warri, it was war. They no longer call it pot holes but boreholes. You see where trailers are packed five km on the roads, you see trailers falling, you see people being kidnapped. This is a time for our hopes to be renewed. This is a time to adopt professionalism in our jobs. The construction methods in Nigeria are zero
“I am on a mission sent by Asiwaju and God Almighty, and nobody can stop it. Any contractor that defiles this new policy, we will stop the work.
“Most of the projects must be redesigned on concrete. If you think you will use price to frighten me, I have calculated the cost of the work.
“I travelled to the Southwest, and I am totally unhappy with the ongoing projects and supervision. I gave them an 80 percent pass mark, but not without my reservation about how these projects would last.
The Minister expressed dissatisfaction over the quality of road being constructed in the Northcentral, stating that the work is poorly supervised.
According to him, no ongoing project in Nigeria will last seven years. “The question is, are we just going to be maintaining all and reconstructing our roads after every ten years?
“That is actually what we have been doing. Between Abuja to Benin, through Lokoja, all the stretches of the roads are on contract and ongoing, a beautiful policy of the last administration. But how much of the routes are motorable?
“I travelled through that alone, and I shed tears for the pain our people are passing through; I stayed there for 14 hours.
“As we talk now, nine (9) locations in East-West road are being threatened. Three bridges have collapsed. Yesterday, two bridges in Enugu collapsed. If you go to Enugu now, the whole town is locked up. If you go to Onitsha, we inspected one when we were there, but today, two have collapsed. It is happening all over. In Lokoja, it is the same thing. That is where Southsouth and South East people, including Dangote Cement, pass to Abuja. We are helpless.”