By; FUNMI ADERINTO, Kaduna
The Honourable Minister of Works and Housing, Nigeria, Babatunde Raji Fashola, on Thursday, said that President Muhammadu Buhari is more passionate and concerned about finishing the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano and many other roads before his constitutional term end.
The Minister stated this during a town hall meeting of stakeholders, organised by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, held at Kaduna State University.
According to him, Abuja to Kano is one of the roads around which the whole North passes.
“We are building a tree hundred and seventy five kilometers highway, each lane of the dual carriage way is three hundred and seventy five kilometers.
“If you multiply that by four, we are building a thousand five hundred kilometers of highway, no matter how hard we try to work, if it is five hours to work one day, but the truth is that, materials take time to reach.
He further said: “within Abuja to Kaduna, 48 thousands vehicles pass there everyday, from our traffic count, that’s why we have diversions.”
Explaining further, he said: this is the first road in Nigeria in which this is being used, it is something to be proud off, one of the reasons for the delay is that, in 2018, the contract was awarded, I came to Kano to flag off, but shortly after the flag off, we received a letter from Senators in the National Assembly asking the Federal Government to expand the road from two lanes to three lanes, that wasn’t from us but from National Assembly.
“They wrote the President, we eventually got the directives from the Presidency to undertake that expansions, but for us to do that, we needed to design an expansion, because there are about fourty different bridges on this road, so if there going to be expansion to two to three lanes a new design is needed to be created in the process of that, it requires us to hire a design consultant.
“We had to form a pocurement, we had to advertise, wait for about six weeks, review the tenders, pick the consultant, go to Federal Executive Council until we get the approval to appoint the consultant to do the design all of this is documented.
“As a result of that design, Julus Berger slowed down, it was about three or four months ago that we got a different structure because of the cost, this was as a result of the National Assembly.
“We are doing our best to see that those projects are finished, the diversion are necessary, the road from Abuja to Kano is a construction site, we do the diversion so that vehicles will not run into our brothers and sisters who are doing the construction maim or kill them,” he explained.
Speaking further, he said: “there’s a committee working in my office nationwide for the ember months they are to ensure that traffic at that period is easy, we will do our best safeguard traffic.
“The Birnin Gwari road, one of the challenges we have is security issues, our workers were attacked by bandits.