The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, says Nigeria needs emergency action to guarantee a rapid turnaround of the deplorable road network in the country.
Mr. Fashola stated this while speaking with journalists during the assessment of the deplorable condition of the 96-kilometre Ilorin-Jebba-Mokwa road on Tuesday evening.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the minister’s convoy had to use a bush path to traverse the persistent traffic gridlock which often left heavy trucks stranded for days.
NAN also reports that the journey from Jebba to Ilorin, which is less than 100 kilometres, lasted four hours while many of the vehicles suffered malfunction due to the logjam.
Mr. Fashola said that urgent action must be taken to rehabilitate the road which he described as one of Nigeria’s “critical, strategic economic roads.’’
“What the nation needs now is an emergency action, not declaration of emergency.
“We have declared too many emergencies. This is the time to take emergent and sensible action.
“The National Assembly should fast track the passage of the budget so that we can address the ugly situation of our roads.
“This is intolerable for the ordinary people because their businesses and sources of livelihood depend on this; so, this can’t continue, ‘’ he said.
Mr. Fashola also called for an amendment of the procurement law to increase the percentage of mobilisation for road contracts to enable contractors deliver completed projects without delay.
He argued for regular assessment of contracts to check wastages and abuse.
“First, we must change that part of the procurement law that limits mobilisation for road contracts to only 15 per cent. It doesn’t make sense.
“Contractors can’t fully mobilise because they need materials on site and anything less than 40 per cent is really a joke for a contractor to start with a vigorous impact.
“While we are focusing on budgets and all of that, it is important to see what have been left undone when we were making money at a hundred dollars per barrel of oil,’’ he added.
Mr. Fashola also pledged that the ministry would judiciously deploy human and material resources to creatively restore quality roads in all sections of the country.
NAN reports that the firm handling the rehabilitation of the road had told the minister that it was given 15 per cent of the contract sum of N12 billion as mobilisation fee.
The company also stated that it was still being owed for the two completed sections of the road. (NAN)