By Adeola Badru
THE Federal Government has listed road infrastructural development in the southwest zone and other zones in the country as its topmost priority.
The Southwest Director of Highways, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Mr. Adedamola Kuti, made the disclosure, yesterday while addressing newsmen at the end of a two-day inspection tour of ongoing Federal Government road projects in Oyo State.
The director, who was accompanied by the Oyo State Controller of Works, in the Ministry, Mr. Kayode Ibrahim, said it was the policy of the Federal Government to complete all the road projects soonest.
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He said completion of the road projects would link up the various sections of the country and make vehicular movement smooth, adding that the present administration is much committed to infrastructure development
He noted that there were infrastructural projects going on everywhere across the nation, stressing that virtually everywhere in the country has one ongoing project or the other.
Kuti said Nigerians were happy with the administration of President Mohammadu Buhari’s giant strides in massive road construction/rehabilitation projects across the length and breadth of the country.
The director admitted scarcity of funds, saying: “every project has funding challenge but the government is trying its best to ensure that all its projects are funded, to encourage contractors that are committed.”
“Government is trying to raise money here and there, for some of its projects, the result of part of the money-raising is what we are seeing.”
“Is not for the government to borrow money and people won’t see what they have used it for, this is part of what they are using it for.”
He urged the media to do more in letting Nigerians at large know about the infrastructural development projects being carried out by the present administration.
The director and his team, inspected the 52-kilometer Oyo-Ogbomosho highway, Liberty stadium road Ibadan, Construction of a bridge across Ogun river at Km 37 Maya – Iseyin road, and 28.65km Okeho -Iseyin road.
Kuti, who said the tour was a continuation of an inspection of projects in the Southwest zone, expressed satisfaction with the performance of the contractors handling the respective projects.
“So far so good we are happy with what we have seen. The liberty road project is special repairs in the township, no serious work has started there, they’re just working on the drainage structures”
“At Maya- Iseyin road, the bridge is already in place, though the contractor – Preconsmith Construction Limited, was not on-site, we are impressed with the ongoing work there.”
“On Iseyin-Okeho 28.65km road, handling by indigenous contractor, HMF Construction Ltd, the project is barely six months old and we have seen the level of completion within this short time.”
“I’m very impressed that within six months, he has worked to an appreciable level, unlike some contractors that would still be struggling to mobilize to site.”
“The people of Oke-Ogun in Oyo State are seeing the impact of government, by these projects, nobody will complain of abandonment, here is a border town – Nigeria share a boundary with the Republic of Benin, so the people have not been forgotten.”
“Despite the fact that people of this area are further off from the city, the presence of government is still felt in this place.”
“And we have a lot of agriculture products that come out from this environment so by the time this road is completed agriculture products can move out of this axis with ease; that is the essence of this project.”
“We do hope that the national economy would be better, to be able to secure more funds to execute some of these projects,” he stated.
On the Oyo – Ogbomoso road, the director recalled that the Federal Executive Council, recently approved the augmentation of the road initial contract sum from N47.50 billion to N105.04 billion, as a result of the adjustment in the scope of work; such as an increase in the bearing strength on the road pavement and volume of the thickness of the road.
He said the work done so far on the road was of high quality and could stand the test of time, adding that the approval for the increased contract sum would enhance the speedy completion of the project.
The dual carriageway which is being handled by the Reynolds Construction Company (RCC) is the second section of Ibadan – Ilorin road and a subsection of a major trunk A1 road which originated from Apapa Wharf in Lagos and terminate at Sokoto state.
The road is very vital in the socio-economic importance of the country since the country basically depended on roads as the major means of transportation, thus the road links the Southern part of the country to the North.
In their separate remarks, the RCC Project Manager and Managing Director of HMF Construction Ltd, Mr. Yuri Visman and Mr. Ayedesi Adeoye respectively, promised to delivered quality jobs.
The duo said the fund was the major challenge being faced in the course of executing their respective contracts.
According to Adeoye, the contract sum for the Iseyin-Okeho road project that was awarded in April is N6 billion “and we are working to ensure that the project is delivered on time.
“Our completion time is 18 months and our mission is to be at 60 percent of completion stage by April next year provided government make funds available for the project.”
Visman, who expressed satisfaction with the augmentation approval by the Federal Executive Council, urged Federal Government to promptly release funds for the project to Fastrack timely completion of the project.