By Olawale Abdul-Fatah
The Federal Government has disclosed that atleast 524 road and bridge projects were currently going on across the country adding that every State in the Federation including the FCT has at least three such ongoing projects.
Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, who gave the updates in a presentation made before the Federal Executive Council, highlighted 80 of them as priority projects scheduled for completion in the 2020-2021 fiscal year.
He listed those on priority to include 27 financed with Sovereign SUKUK Fund, 47 scheduled for substantial completion in 2020/2021 and other priority projects, two roads leading to the ports and four major bridges.
Giving reasons for the prioritization of the 80 projects, the Minister who explained that it would improve the ease of doing business in the country, declared, “The projects on completion will bring about reduced travel time, lower vehicle operating costs and improve the comfort of road users as well as improve the ease of doing business in the country and ultimately boost the Nigerian Economy”.
He noted that Federal roads and bridges (categorized from A1 to A9) are major arterial routes that connect all states in Nigeria including the Federal Capital Territory, adding that the routes and bridges linked cities with high economic activities and carried majority of Heavy Goods Vehicles which gradually dispersed through the link routes to different parts of the country.
The Minister listed the roads to include Lagos-Ibadan-Ilorin-Jebba-Kotangora-Jega-Sokoto-Niger Border as A1; Warri-Benin-Lokoja-Abuja-Kaduna-Kano-Daura-Niger Border as A2; Port Harcourt-Aba-Umuahia-Okigwe-Oturkpo-Makurdi-Akwanga-Jos-Bauchi-Maiduguri-Gamboru as A3 and Calabar-Ikom-Ogoja-Katsina Ala-Jalingo-Yola-Bama-Maiduguri as A4.
Also listed are Lagos-Otta-Abeokuta-Ibadan as A5; Onitsha-Ihiala-Owerri—A.3 Junction at Umu Uyo as A6; Chikanda, Kosubosu-Kaiama-Kishi-Ilorin as A7; Mayo Belwa-Ganye-Serti-Mayo Selbe-Gembu as A8 and Jibiya-Katsina-Kano as A9.
Prioritized road projects being funded through the Sovereign SUKUK Fund, Fashola said, include Abuja-Abaji Road(Section 1,International Airport Link Road Junction-Sheda Village Junction), Abuja-Lokoja Road Section IV (Koton Karfi-Lokoja), Dualisation of Obajana Junction-Benin Phase 2: Section 1 (Obajana Junction to Okene) , Construction of Oju/Loko-Oweto Bridge to Link Loko and Oweto with approach roads, Reconstruction of Bida-Lambata Road in Niger State and Dualization of Suleja-Minna Road Phase 11 in Niger State.
They also include Kano-Maiduguri Road (Section ii, iii and iv), rehabilitation of outstanding section of Onitsha-Enugu Expressway: Amansea- Enugu State Border, Dualization Of Obajana Junction-Benin Phase 2: (Section ii, iii and iv), Rehabilitation of Enugu-Port Harcourt Road Section iv: Aba-Port Harcourt, and Dualization Of Yenegwe Road Junction-Kolo-Otuoke-Bayelsa Palm (20km).
Others include Dualization of Ibadan-Ilorin (Section ii) in Oyo State, reconstruction of the outstanding Sections of Beni-Ofosu-Ore-Ajebandele-Shagamu Expressway Phase iii, pavement strengthening and asphalt overlay of Ajebandele- Ijebu Ode-Shagamu Road in Ogun State.
Some of the projects scheduled for substantial completion in 2020/2021 and other priority projects, according to the Minister, include rehabilitation of Alesi-Ugep (Iyamoyung-Ugep) Section in Cross River State, construction of Yenegwe-Okaki-Kolo-Nembe-Brass Road and completion of rehabilitation of Ada-Okere-Ukoni-Amedokhiom Old Road, Uromi, Edo State.
Also included are the rehabilitation of Odukpani-Itu-Ikot Ekpene Road in (Section i) and Odukpani-Itu Bridge Head in Cross River State, construction of Bodo-Bonny Road with a bridge across the Opobo Channel, in Rivers State, rehabilitation of Odukpani Junction-Akpet Central Section of Calabar-Ikom-Ogoja Road in Cross River State, rehabilitation of Oshogbo-Ilesha Road in Osun State, Dualization of Abeokuta-Ibadan Road, and reconstruction of Apapa-Wharf Road in Lagos State, among others.
The four bridges under the priority projects are construction of Ibi Bridge, completion of construction of Chanchangi Bridge along Takum-Wukari Road in Taraba State, construction of Ikom Bridge in Cross River State and emergency rehabilitation/maintenance of Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos, while the two roads leading to ports are the construction of Agaie-Katcha-Barro Road in Niger State and construction of Baro Port to Gulu Town in Niger State.
The brief also provided a detailed record of ongoing road and bridge projects in the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory.
Some of the tertiary institutions where the Ministry is currently intervening on roads, according to the report, include the University of Benin where work is ongoing on the rehabilitation and Asphalt Overlay/Construction of Reinforced Concrete Drains and Kerbs and Asphatic Surfacing of three Car parks of 1.1KM Internal Road.
Similar work include the ongoing Rehabilitation and Asphalting at Bayero University, Kano State, Federal University Oye Ekiti, Ekiti State, University of Maiduguri, in Borno State, Federal University Lokoja, Kogi State, Federal College of Education, Katsina, Katsina State, Federal University of Technology, Owerri and the University College Hospital, Ibadan, Oyo State.
Others include Kaduna Polytechnic, Kaduna State, Internal Road at Federal University Gashua, Yobe State and rehabilitation and asphalt overlay of 2.3 km Internal Road at Federal University Otuoke, Bayelsa State, among others.
The Minister, however, told Council that in order to accomplish the objective of completing the prioritized projects in scheduled time, an additional N255.6 billion would be needed to close the funding gap for the projects pointing out that the amount was the difference between the appropriation for the project in the 2020 Budget, which stands N157.05 billion and the actual estimate for the completion of the projects which stands at N412.64 billion.