By Naomi Uzor
THE Tunneling Association of Nigeria, TAN, has called for government and private sector investment in underground infrastructure to bridge the country’s infrastructural gaps.
National Chairman, TAN, Mr. Abidemi Agwor, who described tunneling as the act of creating useful and effective space below ground level told Vanguard that the current economic challenges in the country serve as an opportunity to invest in tunnel technology as developing a tunnel or an underground space will enable Nigerians to maximize the use of space and thereby adding more value the fixed assets.
He noted that the lack of requisite infrastructure has increased the impact of the economic challenges Nigeria is facing. He said that tunnels and underground structures can be privately developed adding that one area that should be given keen consideration is the development of underground parking for residential accommodation.
He stated: “Developing a tunnel or an underground space enables us maximize the use of a square foot of space thereby adding more value depending on its application. Be it utilities or transportation it could positively affect our lifestyle. A cost-benefit analysis of most of these scenarios will tell you that the value of the benefits that these infrastructures bring over their life span outweighs their delivery cost.”
He noted that although expertise and technology in developing underground infrastructure is still in very high demand globally, Nigeria currently cannot boast of a handful of talents and expertise in this sector.
Agwor, however, believe Nigeria has has existing skills that can be easily developed to suit some of the requirements of developing underground infrastructure. He stated: “Developing our local capabilities is one main reason the Tunneling Association Nigeria was established. It was set up to promote the use of our underground space through awareness creation, sensitization, knowledge sharing, advocacy and several other means.”
On what his association is doing in this regard, he said “the Association has put together a 10-year plan that would enable us locally engage at least 50 percent of the delivery of major tunneling and underground activities. “So, realistically my advocacy is for us to prepare for the mid-term to long-term future trends in the tunneling and underground industries, which has indicated that sub-Saharan Africa will inevitably experience its own fair share of the global tunneling and underground space market boom.”