By SUNDAY ABBA, Abuja
Nigeria’s Minister of Works, Engr David Umahi has disclosed that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is in support of concrete road technology in Nigeria.
The Minister who made this statement during a meeting with contractors handling projects in the North East Geo-political Zone of Nigeria attributed Mr President’s interest in the concrete road technology to its being more durable and fairly cost effective.
In a statement signed by the head of Information and Public Relations in the ministry, Blessing Lere-Adams, the Minister also stressed that the time has come for all contractors working in Nigeria to ensure that they respect strictly the Global Right Best Practices in Engineering that enhances the durability of all construction work, both for roads and bridges with the best quality of materials being used.
He said, “I had recently met with contractors handling road dualization projects and my position on the issue is to take one lane and complete it because of paucity of fund, but with the availability of money they could start the second lane .We can manage with one lane instead of not having anything at all,’ he said.
“Presently, we have up to N14 Trillion on-going projects against Eighteen Thousand Kilometres, adding that with the Renewed Hope Mantra contractors should not stay on site more than four years,” he said.
The Minister who frowned at situations where some contracts have been on-going for 20 years, said it is neither healthy for the contractors or good for the projects and for the client.
“We are introducing Concrete road technology and some of you are not happy about it. Some are saying it is too expensive but we have to try the both and see which is better.
“In any case, any contractor with an on- going project that is not willing to cooperate with us for a redesign with concrete road technology which with fifty years period free of maintenance, we’ll demand for performance bond. The situation and time when roads are built on asphalt and within two to three years the project is back to square one is gone,” he said .
He highlighted the reasons for road failure which among others include, poor workmanship from contractors, importation of adulterated bitumen into the country and the laying of less than correct thickness of asphalt.
Umahi said, “Our people are suffering as a result of poor workmanship and all manner of cheating and we have come to solve the perennial problem once and for all.
“We don’t witness these kind of construction pattern in developed countries; you came from developed countries so we are going to respect Engineering Best Practices in Nigeria. We will build a road that is going to last,” he said.
He also said that subsequent signing of certificate would be based on status certificate.
Umahi told the contractors handling projects in the North East Zone of the country not to bother to report him to Mr President because he had already reported himself to him on all issues.
“I take instructions directly from Mr President and he is interested in concrete road technology.
“He has given me a teeth to bite and to bite Nigerians into good roads so that they can enjoy . This will be one of the greatest legacies of Mr President and other legacies he is bringing so that the world will know we are not here for our own business but for an assignment,” he said.