By; IBRAHIM ADAMU, Kaduna
The Honourable Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Ragi Fashola SAN has disclosed that the first set of weigh bridges will be rolled out across the Country to protect Nigerian roads by guarding against excess cargo weights..
The Minister made this disclosure when he received the Board members of the Federal Road Maintenance Agency,(FERMA) led by its Chairman, Mr Babatunde Lemo in his office.
While acknowledging FERMA’s mandate to maintain roads, Fashola urged them to pay more attention to the protection of road while carrying out the maintenance. He warned road users against willful damage of roads through overloading. He also said thatonce the weigh bridges were in place, excess loads would be offloaded and owners surcharged.
He noted that the country was at the peak of the raining season where the roads were prone to damages. The Minister explained that, the consequences of bad weather were harmful to every country’s infrastructure architecture leaving behind devastating effectsand assured that the government was aware of these challenges and responding to them, even though the rains have slowed down activities in the construction sector generally.
While urging FERMA to collaborate more with the Federal Controllers of Works in the state to improve the quality of Nigerian roads, he also promised to empower the Controllers to take ownership and full responsibility of the Ministry’s strategy of road protection to secure lives and properties, adding that FERMA should leverage on the wealth of experience of these controllers in road repairs and maintenance.
In the words of Fashola, “Maintenance of highways is very crucial to government, as this would facilitate economic growth and job creation. FERMA is an important component of the government strategy for maintaining the road network”.
Earlier, the FERMA Board Chairman, Mr Babatunde Lemo assured the Minister of the Board’s continuing partnership and collaboration with the Ministry to attain its objective
He requested the Ministry to factor in the Agency’s role in all road investments, stressing the need for the Ministry’s continuous support in ensuring adequate appropriations and budget releases from time to time.
Among the team from the Ministry that received the Governing Board Members were: the Minister of State Works and Housing, Engr. Abubakar Aliyu, the Permanent Secretary Alhaji Mohammad Bukar as well as the management staff of the Ministry.