The Federal Government, Wednesday, announced that it will spend a total sum of N75, 765,087,178.28 to carry out palliative works on collapsed portions on roads across the country in order to ease movement of people and goods within the Ember Months, especially during the Christmas and New Year festive period.
This was highlight of stakeholders meeting convened by the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, aimed on how to make the roads motorable and as well to restore sanity and safety to the federal highways.
Those who attended the stakeholders’ meeting include the representatives from the National Road Transport Owners, NARTO, National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC. Federal Road Maintenance Agency, FERMA, and contractor handling the various road projects in the country, where they are promised to fix failed portions of critical roads across the Federation.
The Director, Highways Construction and Rehabilitation, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Funso Adebiyi, who opened the discussion, said the current raining season has affected many sections of the road across the country.
He hinted that there is need for urgent palliative works on such roads to avoid further deterioration, adding that such roads were identified.
He said the affected roads have been mapped out and will be awarded to contractors for palliative work as part of preparation for Ember Months.
According to him, the total cost for the repair works is estimated to cost N75,765,087,178.28 to carry out palliative works on those road.
In his address, the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola appealed to stakeholders in the road sector to rededicate their efforts towards improving safety and sanity on the high ways.
Fashola said that the government is doing is to move almost the Cargos by road and as Railway network is fast and I hope that we will divert all our Cargos to Railway track. So that is when we will have full long time value of the road.
The President Muhammadu Buhari administration is making efforts to ensure that overloaded trucks no longer ply the nation’s highways.
According to him, a measurement scale device installed on a computer will be put in place around the nation to ensure that trucks and haulage vans do not convey excess goods.
“You may not be aware of this that the government is building the Kano, Lagos and the Abeokuta pipeline and we want to see Petrol Tankers, Timber going on Railway and we hope this can relieve pressure on the road.
“I want to appeal to road users, NUPENG, NATO, NURTW and FRSC that we have to works together. Our responsibility is to ensure safety of the road users.
“All the data that we have about the road show us that most of the accidents on the road are as a result of speed violation.
According to him, speed violation, loss of control, traffic light violation, dangerous driving, wrongful overtaking, among others, the causes of all road crashes across the country. So if you reduce the speed there will be less road accident. So let us try it this time around.
“We are going to start our restrictions with over loading.We are going to start it in Lagos at the Tollgate.
“If you carry over load you will pay fines So the reason we have done that is that we want to make it cheaper to comply and very expensive to break the law. That way, we hope that people will choose to comply instead of paying excessive penalties,” he said.
In his response, NUPENG Deputy National Chairman, Lucky Osezuwa, appealed to the government to made good the promise to fix the roads, adding that they shelved the planned industrial action because of the engagement with the Federal Government.