Nigerian government embargoes rights of ways

Nigeria’s Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has directed Federal Controllers of Works to ensure the removal of all obstructions on the Rights of Ways in order to promote safety and prevent economic losses on the roads.

The directive came as the government intensifies efforts to reconstruct and rehabilitate highways across the country.

Mr Fashola said that the issuance of permits to erect structures on right of ways on federal highways should no longer be granted and there would be no renewal for those who already have such structures on the highways.

During a meeting with Federal Controllers of Works and Sector Commanders of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) from across the Federation, he reiterated that “while those with permit will be allowed to stay till the expiration of such permit, those with no permit should immediately leave the rights of way.”

Securing rights of ways
Expressing dismay at the ease with which the permits are issued in the name of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), the Minister told the controllers, “our first step is how to secure our Right of Way back, we have the right of way in this country; 45 metres from the centre line; roads are built to move human beings, goods and services with ease, if after building the roads we issue all sorts of permits on the right of way of the roads we have built in the name of internally generated revenue, are we not defeating the purpose we set out to achieve?”

He further warned that henceforth, anybody who renewed rights of way would be courting trouble, stressing that he had notified the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to stop issuing permits to petrol stations on rights of ways.

Mr Fashola, who said the enforcement of the ban would need the cooperation of State governments as well as the FRSC, urged the controllers to return to their States with a new mindset to get it right.

The Minister emphasized, “you must know the number of roads under you and in how many local governments and how many people, you should know how many of your rights of ways are obstructed, you need to have that data; you must file that report; is it 10 percent, 20 percent or 80 percent and which one has the heaviest traffic that we may have to attend to quickly?”

Also, the Minister of State, Alhaji Mustapha Shehuri said the challenge before the Ministry was enormous especially as regards getting things right on federal roads.

Shehuri however enjoined all the stakeholders to take up the challenge as government remained poised to deliver world class highways to the people.

“If we say we will wait or we are not going to do something because there is no fund, we are not going to achieve anything, you have to reach out to local governments, to state governments and to the society to see that at least your part of the responsibility is delivered,” he stressed.