By SUNDAY ABBA, Abuja
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola has stated that the present Buhari-led administration will not be able to complete the Abuja-Kaduna section, tagged section I, of the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano Highway due to several challenges encountered in the course of rehabilitation of the road.
In a statement on Tuesday, Fashola blamed the delay in completing the 265km part of the road on criminality and the need to relocate some communities on the road.
The Minister however said sections 2 and 3, which are 210 kilometres combined, would be completed and commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari before he leaves office in May.
“On why work on the section 1 of the road which is from Abuja from Zaria was not progressing like the other two, the minister attributed it to criminal activities which stalled the work for about a year in 2022, issues around right of way because of the need to relocate buildings, markets electricity installations, utilities all of which must be addressed before the contractor can do his job,” the statement said.
Speaking during an inspection tour of the highway with Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, Fashola stated that work on the first section was ongoing and required collaboration between the ministry and the Federal Capital Territory Minster and the Governors of Niger and Kaduna states whose territories are connected to the road.
He gave the assurance that the section would be completed by the next administration as soon as possible as funding which is being provided by the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority is readily available.
On his part, Gambari who expressed satisfaction with the work done said, “Both sections 2 and 3 will be completed and ready for commissioning by President Muhammadu Buhari before the end of the tenure of his administration”.
He disclosed that another legacy project of the President, the 2nd Niger bridge, will also be commissioned by the President before he leaves office.
He recalled that the bridge had been opened for road users during the last Christmas season to ease the hardship that people had suffered for years.
The COS praised the president for his outstanding and commendable commitment to infrastructural development across the country.
“We want to commend Mr. President for making the resources available so that this kind of progress can be made,” he said.
The Managing Director of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, Mr Aminu Umar Sadiq, affirmed his organisation’s commitment and readiness to provide the funding for the project.