Nigeria develops plan on road infrastructure

Golfa Francis, Abuja

Nigeria has developed a three-year plan for ­­­­­­ Federal roads to ensure equitable development of road infrastructure across the country and connect states within each zone.

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola said the plan to be implemented between 2017 and 2019 would ensure that each year, major road projects are implemented fairly in each of the six geopolitical zones of the country.

He said that the plan had already been shared with the Ministry of budget and planning for inclusion in the 2017 budget and future national planning data.

According to Fashola, because the government’s resources were limited; it had to make choices which border on priority and economic expediency.

“Government would be guided in its choices by such factors as inputs from the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-Operatives have provided data of critical roads in each of the six zones that are necessary to help evacuate farm produce to market”. Fashola said

“All roads leading to and from fuel depots will be high on the priority of choices because of the need to develop mining business and evacuate mining products and petroleum cargo to fuel the nation’s energy need. Government has also given priority to roads leading to and from the nation’s major sea and airports because of the need to support the business of traders and importers. Fashola added

Mr Fashola admitted that while government could not build all roads in one year, a faithful implementation of the plan would ensure equitable delivery of better roads across the country.

He revealed that government is giving priority to roads that carry very heavy traffic in order to reach more people with its limited resources because of the need to move large numbers of commuters.

On plans to recover right-of-way on Federal highways, Fashola described it as a matter of utmost priority.

“Although the objective was not to relocate or drive away traders, government was intent on locating them to the set back of the 45.72m from road centre which constitute the right-of-way, we will not compromise on this”.

The Minister, however, promised that government would not engage in bulldozing structures currently on the right-of-ways but has decided not to issue new permits and not to renew the permits of those already having businesses there while asking those without permits to quit voluntarily.

Mr Fashola frowned at what he described as the sad and unpatriotic actions of petroleum products transporters who were carrying cargo of up to sixty-thousands litres on the highways, instead of the maximum of thirty-three thousand litres approved by law, adding that such act must stop without delay.