By Charles Kumolu
FEDERAL Roads Maintenance Agency, FERMA, has disclosed that parking of heavy trucks and dumping of refuse on Federal Highways, constitute a major challenge to road maintenance in Lagos.
The Managing Director of the agency, Engr. Kabiru Abdullahi disclosed this weekend, during an inspection tour to ascertain the level of work at the Ijora- Causeway, Ijora Lagos.
He said indiscriminate parking of lorries and heavy trucks on the carriageways as well as dumping of refuse in the drains and water channels have contributed to the deplorable state of federal roads in Lagos State.
“Many Lagos residents and businesses dump their refuse in the drains and water channels on the assumption that storm water would clear it. This refuse end up blocking the drains and causing extensive flooding on the road, a situation that gets worse during the rainy season. For instance, if you go to this Ijora Causeway that we just finished now, you will see the number of trucks that are parked there, which is not good for our roads because, it contributes in the sinking of the drains,” he said.
Abdullahi explained that it was not the duty of his agency to construct roads. According to him, FERMA’s mandate was to maintain federal roads across the country, saying it is the duty of Federal Ministry of Works, FMW, to construct, reconstruct and rehabilitate roads.
“Our mandate is to maintain the federal roads and that is what we are doing now. We don’t construct roads. Any road that is beyond maintenance is the responsibility of FMW to reconstruct or rehabilitate it and hand it over to FERMA for maintenance.
Speaking on the poor state of Oshodi – Apapa Expressway, the FERMA boss stated that the road required major civil engineering works that are clearly outside his agency’s mandate and the level of funding available to it. He revealed that the contract for the reconstruction of the road has been awarded to Messrs. Borini Prono Nigeria Limited and Julius Berger Nigeria Plc by the federal ministry of works.
He stressed that it was not the intention of FERMA to wait for the roads to go bad before moving in but delays in following due process in the award of contracts has made it so. “FERMA is proactive but because of inadequate funding, we cannot do all the federal roads at a time. we have to do them batch by batch. If there is enough funding, of course, we will take all of them and maintain them”, he opined while expressing optimism that with the improvement in the budgetary allocation, the agency would do more.
On the open manholes in Lagos, Engr. Abdullahi said the maintenance agency is doing its best replace the covers. “We making concrete and steel covers to replace the stolen ones. In the next three weeks, you will see them being replaced. we are also thinking of partnering with law enforcement agencies so that when we replace them, they will not be taken away again.”