From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
House of Representatives has charged the government to provide adequate security for the construction workers handling the Abuja-Kaduna road project, so as to enable them return to site.
The House also implored the government to deplore military personnel and material resources as well as intelligence necessary to secure the Abuja-Kaduna highway to ensure safety of construction staff and their equipments.
Similarly, the parliament charged the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, to immediately direct Julius Berger Plc, which is in charge of the project, to return to site and complete the reconstruction work starting with the Jere – Kaduna stretch.
This followed the adoption of a motion of a motion by Garba Datti and 38 others, at Tuesday’s plenary, calling the attention of the House to hardship motorists plying the route are been subjected to, because of the abandonment of the project.
Datti, in his lead debate, informed the House that the contractor withdrew its workers from site, following incessant cases of banditry along the Abuja-Kaduna Highway.
He explained that as the time of the withdrawal, “at least one half of the stretch of road had been graded and covered only in laterite which.” The lawmaker added that after intense rainfall in the past few months, there are now potholes on the road, which has made it unmotorable, thereby impending traffic.
According to him, “because of the current condition of the road, it only takes for a vehicle or truck to breakdown on it for a few minutes and it would result in a build up of static traffic;
Distressed that this was exactly what happened on the road i.e. a truck broke down on the road as a result of which there was massive gridlock on the road and that this gridlock was cleared only after five (5) days;
“Distraught that, to worsen matters, the gridlock that was occasioned recently often left motorists and commuters stranded on the road sometimes for between six (6) to nine (9) hours on a journey that should last no more than one and a half (1½) hours;
Anxious that there is a high probability that that this gridlocks will become a very recurrent occurrence in the immediate future;
“Wary that although the security situation has recently vastly improved along that stretch of road, gridlock on it still exposes commuters held up in it to the probability of bandit and terrorist attacks with their attendant loss of lives and property;
“Mindful that the Abuja-Kaduna highway is the gateway between the North and the South of Nigeria and the major link road to the North West and North East as well as to many neighbouring countries.”
Datti argued that because of the strategic importance of the Abuja-Kaduna Highway to the economy, the road if not fixed immediately will have advsersly effect on the country.