By Adedayo Akinwale
The federal government has revealed that 13,0000km out of 35,000km of federal roads network in the country are currently under rehabilitation.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, disclosed this Tuesday during a media interaction with journalists in Abuja.
Fashola had, while appearing before the House of Representatives Committee on Works recently, said the ministry was currently administering 711 number of contracts nationwide, but however, clarified that the 711 contracts do not mean the 711 road projects are under rehabilitation.
Fashola stated: “I think that a minimum of half a trillion every year over the next two, three years will be a strong support to really advance and complete as many as the 711 contracts. Again, people are mistaken what I said about 711 contracts to mean roads. No. For example from Lagos to Ibadan expressway, we have one road but two contracts, one with JD, one with RCC. On Benin/Lokoja, we have one road but we have five contractors. So, the totality of those contracts are made of 711 different contracts on many roads across the country and the total road network now under construction or rehabilitation is little over 13,000 kilometres in different stages of repairs out of total federal network of 35,000 kilometres.
“Let me go back to what I said earlier. We have a federal road network of 35,000 kilometres and we are repairing about 13,000 kilometres that tells you clearly that we are repairing the parts that have problems, the parts that don’t have problems are there. We are looking at something like one third (1/3).”
The minister however urged road users to stop abusing the roads so that the roads can last longer.
Fashola added: “We are going to need you (media) to help us do this. There are those who do stocking business, whether it is those who carry food or it’s those who carry petroleum products they must go and get trucks park. Go and look for a place to park your trucks, you can’t add that burden to government. Government is not involved in stocking business, government is responsible to provide a reliable road network. So what do we see as a way of abuse? There is a part of the road just immediately where the road ends and and is called the shoulder, that is where trucks park and that is where the damage to the road starts.
“It starts in many ways, one of the most notable one is that where they change oil, that is where they drop diesel. Most of the roads constructed with bitumen and the asphalt, petroleum and diesel are the same products of hydrocarbon. They may do different things, the diesel and the petrol dissolve – they are solvents. So, once you start pouring substance containing the components, the roads has to be disintegrated. I plead with you to help carry this message in every language.
“Those who sell diesel by the road side are the first people destroying the roads. Those who distill petrol by the road sides are the first people destroying the roads. Those who park on the shoulders are also the first people destroying the roads. Because once you create that weak point water sink under the road. So when the compaction of the laterite, the cement begins to weaken. So if people use the roads properly we can get the best out of roads. But long term is also when we have rail.”
Fashola lamented that the ministry does not have enough funding, but added that a lot of progress had been made in ongoing projects.
He stressed that the Sokoto-Tambuwal road for example, is nearing completion, while three sections have been completed on the Kano-Maidugruri road, adding that despite insurgency, over 500 kilometres have been done on the road.