Stakeholders lauds improvement in road networks
Stakeholders in the nation’s road sector have lauded improvement on roads across the country, commending the Federal Government, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, and his team for the innovative approach to road management.
Speaking at a One-Day Public Enlightenment on the Developments in the Road Sector, the stakeholders, who included the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), and Petroleum Tanker Drivers Association, among other road users, noted that the Minister had done a lot to restore confidence of Nigerians on the nation’s road sector.
In his goodwill message, at the Nigerian Air Force Conference Centre venue of the event, President of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Alhaji Najimdeem Yasin, congratulated the Minister for his efforts on road networks across the country.
In a goodwill message on behalf of his association, the President of the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), Alhaji Kassim Bataiya, expressed appreciation to the Minister for matching his words with action, recalling that, on the first of February 2018, the Minister, at a meeting with the various transport unions in his office, did promise that he would convoke such an enlightenment Workshop.
Represented by the Executive Secretary of the Union, Mr. Aloga I. Okpobo, the NARTO President, who was last week elected President of the African Road Transport Union in Marrakech, Morocco, commended the Minister for keeping his words applauding him for the on-going rehabilitations and reconstruction of roads across the country.
In another message, the National Chairman of the Petroleum Tankers Drivers Association, Mr. Salimon Akanni Oladiti, commended Fashola for “his courage” in organizing the workshop, pointing out that it is only when one is courageous and doing something right that such a person could invite the public to brief them of such action.
Others who gave goodwill messages included the President Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria, High Chief Musa Shehu Isawere, represented by Comrade Henry Ejioffor, who also commended the Minister for the innovations he has introduced into the management of the nation’s road sector and the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, who said in identifying with the convocation of the workshop, he would be the ultimate beneficiary pointing out that the impressive turnout of the trade unions only signified the fact that they were in full support and in alignment with the Minister adding, “ It means less agitations and strikes”.
In his keynote address, President Muhammadu Buhari, who was represented at the occasion by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Gida Mustapha, said the workshop was an indication of the important role that road transportation plays in the nation’s economic development adding that the critical place of road transportation in the country’s evolution and the national life had never been more alive than presently.
Earlier in his welcome address, Fashola said the workshop was to reflect and agree on the need for change about how Nigerians have used their road infrastructure, adding that the country’s economic growth, national productivity and job opportunities would be impacted by the conclusions and resolutions.
Noting that there are treaty obligations within the West African sub region and beyond that regulate the amount of load and goods vehicle can put on an axle and by extension on the road in order to do business within ECOWAS and beyond, Fashola said the only way to optimize the opportunities in road networks like Trans-Saharan highway that connects Nigeria to Chad, Niger, Tunisia, Mali and Algeria; the Lagos- Abidjan Highway through Benin, Togo and Ghana, or the Enugu- Cameroon Highway through Abakaliki – Ogoja , Ikom and Mfum was to sensitize road transporters and imbibe the existing treaties.
The Minister, who thanked the President for signing the instruments of ratification as soon as it was brought to his attention, after many years of delay prior to his tenure, added, “This meeting is critical to the achievement of our common goal for shared prosperity. Our compliance with these regulations will open a massive door of opportunity and prosperity of cross-border trade to Nigerians engaged in the transport business.
“This is why this meeting was convened; because when President Buhari once said that “we will change our habits and we will change Nigeria,” I believe this is one of the things he had in mind. While it is true that we could have done better by way of massive investment in our transport infrastructure during the windfall of income from oil, this Government is now rapidly and aggressively addressing road transport infrastructure repairs, rehabilitation and construction as many of you who travel regularly will attest”.