Tony Osauzo, Benin
Minister for Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola has warned contractors handling the Benin-Auchi-Abuja highway to make sure the road is motorable all year round by fixing all bad spots on the highway before the rainy season.
The minister spoke during an inspection tour of the four sections of the road which was awarded in 2012 to four different contractors.
Recall that several bad spots that surfaced on the road made plying on it a nightmare last year as travelers had to spend long hours on it.
“This road gives the Edo people some difficult experiences during the rainy season. While you are doing your construction, this road must be good throughout the rainy season. Even if it is one carriageway, it must be motorable during the rainy season. We must end the discomfort of the rainy season. What happened last year on this road must not happen this year.
“lf we are building a road, all the good work we do means nothing if people are stuck during the rainy season. Make sure the bad spots are good. We want to take that point of agony away,” Fashola told one of the contractors.
Speaking to journalists, the minister said that investment on road infrastructure is moving money to the rural areas because the roads passes through many villages, adding that President Buhari is committed to distributing wealth to the rural communities.
He said bringing down the hill at Ewu axis of the road had reduced accidents that usually happened at the spot.
“This road was a source of discomfort during the rainy season. We undertook some emergency repairs. This road links the North to the South. You will see that we have passed some sections that have been completed; you will see some sections where the soil is being replaced. You see some sections that stone-based has been applied. It is important to highlight the problem here for those who complained about how long it took. We brought down seven metres high hill at Ewu. We solved the accident that used to happen here, we have saved lives and property.
“We are trying to see what we can do better. Construction will take some time because of funding challenges, logistics challenges. The dual carriage will not be built at the snap of a finger. We want to see what we can do differently to make the experience of driving during the rainy season much better. We want to tell the contractors to ensure that the roads are good all year round.
“Rural economy is benefitting massively from this undertaking. The limestone and labour are got from quarries in the communities. Employment generated from operating quarries are from rural areas. As we go on, the president’s commitment to infrastructure is actually moving money to the rural areas of Nigeria because that is where all the roads are going on. The roads passed through rural communities. It is better to understand that the president’s commitment is helping to distribute wealth,” Fashola said.