FERMA celebrates 20th anniversary, Launches call Centre
Chioma Eche, Abuja
The Federal Road Maintenance Agency, (FERMA), has officially launched a short code ‘7727’ to report or complain on the state of the roads for prompt action.
The initiative is to enable Nigerian citizens report bad roads directly to the Agency to speed up maintenance.
Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, during the unveiling of FERMA’s 20th Anniversary logo in Abuja, the nation’s capital charged citizens to stop the abuse of the country’s highways and imbibe appropriate maintenance culture.
President Buhari, represented by the Minister of works and housing, Babatunde Fashola, urged Nigerian Engineers and other critical stakeholders in the Road and Transportation sectors to educate Nigerians on proper usage and maintenances of Roads in the country.
“Let us understand that no matter how much money we give to FERMA, it doesn’t make sense to destroy what we give to them because we are getting more money to repair roads”
“That is not how a problem should be solved. The first thing is preservation and proper use of the road.
“For those who burn tyres on the road, those who repair cars on the shoulders of the road, and discharge lubricant, every time you discharge diesel on the road, you have already taken away part of the useful life of that asset,”
“So our engineers have a lot of work to do by teaching people how roads are built, how roads need to be looked after. And this must not be done in technical language, they must go to the street level to begin to educate Nigerians”
He explained that President Buhari appropriately signed Executive Order 11, the maintenance order, to explain to Nigerians that maintenance is not a culture but an economy and it is one that we must appropriately watch because the rewards are very bountiful and very diverse.
He explained that road is a life-impacting asset and a total economic package. Many people’s lives and livelihoods depend upon it.
According to the president, there’s a vast supply chain behind the road network, reassuring that his administration would do whatever was needful to preserve the Nigerian roads.
Earlier, while presenting a paper titled: “FERMA @ 20: the Journey so far, challenges and way forward”, the Managing Director of FERMA, Mr. Nuruddeen Rafindadi disclosed that the agency required N300 billion annually to maintain thousands of Nigeria Federal Highway Networks.
Mr. Rafindadi said despite maintenance backlogs, FERMA in 2021/2022 miantained over 7,926.30 kilometers of roads across the country.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration for his continuous support to the Agency and the Ministry of Works and Housing in extension.
On the Ministry’ challenges, he said that “the current budgetary appropriation released was far less than the required target, therefore calls for an urgent need for alternative funding”.
Rafindadi said FERMA activities are in line with the global target, which is “to sustain surveillance, accelerate repairs/recovery of failed roads section, safeguard good sections through preventive measure”.
In his remarks, the Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu warned that maintenance of the country’s infrastructure would continue to be challenged, “so long as we do not appreciate the investment that has been made”.
“I think we need to do more in educating the public on the need to know our road infrastructure appropriately,” he said.
Earlier, the Senate committee chairman on FERMA, Senator Gershom Bassey, while commending the Agency on its milestone achievement so far, advocated for more fund and innovative ways to sustain Nigerian Roads.
Highlights of the event include launching of the FERMA @20 Special Edition book.