By Emma Elebeke
Minister of Science and Technology, Prof. Ita Okon Bassey Ewa has said that poor technological designs and construction by builders are responsible for the persistent collapse of Nigerian roads.
The minister stated this at the opening ceremony of the three-day National Conference on Road Failure titled “Challenges of Road Pavement failure in Nigeria”, organized by the Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute in Abuja.
The minister who lamented the high rate of road traffic accident fatalities in Nigerians, regretted that the situation had mitigated economic development of the country, and placed Nigeria at the second position out of 193 globally in the ranking of countries with highest road traffic accidents fatalities.
With an estimated 200,000 km and valued at over US$25 billion in 2003, Prof. Ewa, said that Nigerian federal road network constitutes a great national asset to the government but lacks the needed technological touch to be beneficial to the Nigerian people. This he said informed the recent decision of federal government’s to allocate substantial funds in 2013 national budgets for the construction of new roads and maintenance of existing stock.
‘’It is indeed sad to note that Nigeria is ranked second highest in road traffic accidents fatalities among 193 countries in the world, even when road accounts for 95 percent of our national passenger and freight services in the country.’
‘‘The provision of good and motorable roads is one of the critical infrastructures needed to drive the socio-economic development of the nation. The challenge of ensuring quality control in the maintenance of roads, could be linked to the design and construction and must be tackled to pave way for transformation of Nigerian roads,’’ he said.
‘‘The place of NBRRI in national development is cardinal since its mandate encompasses research and development on building and road technologies. I challenge participants to come up with lasting strategies that can be evolved to develop appropriate framework which will effectively address the issue of road pavement failure in Nigeria,’’ he added.
Similarly, the Minister of Works, Arc. Mile Onolememen in his address, said that for Nigeria to be among the first 20 economies in the world by year 2020, her road infrastructure needs to grow from 200,000 km to about 300,000 km in the next five years and also receive the desired technological designs and construction by the builders.