By Laleye Dipo
The Niger State Government will spend over N6 billion on the upgrading of 176 kilometres of rural roads and construction of 30 bridges in the three senatorial zones of the state this year, Governor Abubakar Sani Bello disclosed at Izom on Tuesday.
Speaking at the flag off of the road projects, Bello said the first phase of the work will cover Suleja – Abuchi- Izom; Wuya Suman – Lemu; Old Gawu – Farindoki; Kampanin Bobi-Bangi; Kutigi- Tashan Hajiya and Wuya Kanti – EtsuTasha roads.
Bello, who was represented at the flag off by his Deputy, Alhaji Ahmed Mohammed Ketso, said the projects had earlier been executed by the World Bank and the French Development Agency (FDA), adding that the state government’s intervention “is to surface dress and carry out asphalt overlays of the roads to increase their lifespans.
“Our timely intervention to embark on surface dressing of these rural roads further demonstrates our total commitment to improve the economic status of our people. This is in addition to our desire to change the deteriorating state of our road infrastructures across the state,” the governor said.
Bello expressed the belief that the execution of the projects “will drastically reduce the cost of transporting farm produce to the markets while also reducing undue loss of perishable goods as well as increasing the productivity of our farmers”.
“When these projects are completed, they will help to promote economic growth, social security, wealth creation and all year round access to basic services and facilities in the State” Bello said.
He disclosed that under the second phase of the project, over 403 kilometres of roads opened by RAMP and another 169km carried out by Spot Improvement and Annual Mechanized Maintenance Intervention would be surfaced, dressed and asphalt overlayed.
Bello assured the people that his administration “will continue to collaborate and support the implementation of various development partners interventions to deepen our gains from the agricultural value chain”.
The Project Manager of the Rural Access and Mobility Programme (RAMP) Alhaji Hassan Baba Etsu, said the scheme will now migrate to the RAMP III following its best performance in the first two stages of the programme.
Etsu urged the state government to pay its contribution early for speedy take-off of the RAMP III.