Minister of works, Engr. David Umahi, has disclosed that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has approved and directed immediate release of funds for the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano, Lagos-Ibadan Highways and the second Niger Bridge two bypass projects.
Umahi said the development would remove the financial bottlenecks on the three projects and expedite completion.
He stated this during the inspection of the Lafia Bypass Road and Dualisation of the 9th Mile (Enugu)-Otukpo-Makurdi Road Project in Makurdi, the Benue State capital.
The 260 kilometres project is located in the Southeast of Nigeria, crossing Federal Capital Territory, Nasarawa, Benue, and Enugu states.
It is jointly funded by the Export-Import Bank of Nigeria, 85 percent and 15 percent by the federal government.
The project is expected to be delivered in 48 months and handled by China Harbour Nigeria Limited.
The minister, who had earlier inspected the Mararaba-Keffi reconstruction and expansion project, thanked the Benue State governor, Hyacinth Alia and his Enugu State counterpart, Peter Mbah for setting up taskforce committees to provide security on the sites of the project.
He said, “We are from Abuja to Mararaba to Keffi, that is an ongoing project of dualization and it is 43km, it is being done with NNPC funding, whatever impeded the funding, graciously, God lifted it and the president has approved in all zones of the country, that the job should go ahead.
“We noticed that there is a lot of hold-up around the beginning of the project, so I have asked them to study it because the essence of governance is for the convenience of the people. So, if we have a lot of hold-ups there, people can’t plan. So we have directed that we should have a flyover at the location to ease it.
“So, the road from Keffi to Makurdi has been completed and we are going to toll it. But for some modifications, we have asked the China Harbour Engineering Company to provide the service station, where we can have our trailers parked, vehicles parked, you can go for snacks, fuelling and so on but they are not there and they must be there before we start tolling the road.
“The plazas are not beautiful and I told them to make them beautiful like we have in China. This one is 260km and that is 229km completed, some sections are not good and I have directed them to go back to work, the first 5km, but the rest are beautiful.
“Where a job is not good, you must go back and where it is good, we commend you.
This route is to be done on asphalt but what I prefer is concrete all through but it is like they are defeating me. The flyover you are requesting, we are going to incorporate it.
“If you are building a road and the people are being inconvenienced or we finished it and it does not solve the problems, we have done nothing. So that flyover is very critical and it is very good that we are here.
We had to do that because of the passion for your people and the Renewed Hope Agenda of Mr. President.
“From the beginning of the road to here, it must be done on concrete. So anywhere we have bad terrain we will scope it for concrete. We will put the middle of the divide of the two carriageways in the middle of the existing route,” he said.
The project is financed by China Exim Bank and the project is in dollars.
On his part, Governor Alia, who accompanied the minister to the project site, commended the president for his good heart toward the common masses.
He said, “We are very grateful to God for giving us this opportunity. We have always prayed for a new Benue of our dream where anything we touch gets a magnet, efficiency, effectiveness, and done.
“We are pleased that you are beginning the second phase of Abuja-Keffi-Lafia-Ninth Mile road. We are very excited that you have already incorporated the prayers we presented to you. We thank Mr President for his thoughtfulness and good heart for the common masses.”
Meanwhile, while inspecting the Mararaba-Keffi highway earlier, Umahi had called for its redesign to accommodate a flyover at the Mararaba corridor, saying that the move would ease the daily commute of citizens that reside along the corridor.
Umahi stated that the road, which is handled by China Harbour Engineering Company, is funded by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited under the Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme.