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Monday, July 15, 2024

Sokoto-Badagry highway will ensure socioeconomic growth- Kwara, Niger Govs

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

The Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq and his Niger State counterpart, Umaru Bago, have described the 1000-kilometre Sokoto-Badagry superhighway as another strategy by President Bola Tinubu to drive phenomenal socioeconomic growth in the country.

Both governors, who led other stakeholders in reviewing the project design, stated that the bold step by the president was another proof of his commitment to bring the change that Nigerians desired from the administration.

They spoke in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, on Thursday during a stakeholders’ engagement held to brief the public on the Kwara and Niger Sections of the superhighway as well as rally public support for it and other initiatives of the President.

At least 188 kilometres of the road cut through different Kwara communities, while 125kilomteres of it are on Niger land.

The stakeholders session was at the instance of the Federal Ministry of Works, and was attended by Niger State Governor Bago; Kwara Deputy Governor Kayode Alabi; federal and state parliamentarians including Kwara North’s Sadiq Umar; Minister of Youth Development Dr. Jamilah Bio; state cabinet members; royal fathers; industrialists led by Dr. Kamoru Yusuf of KAM Holdings; party stalwarts; community leaders; transport unions; farmers’ associations; civil society organisations; marketers associations; and the youths.

AbdulRazaq said the proposed road project attests to the bold vision of President Tinubu to develop infrastructure, which enhances national connectivity and helps to grow the economy.

“What we are doing this afternoon is another testament to the bold vision of President Tinubu and another evidence that our country is in a race to align development priorities and population growth with commensurate infrastructure that connects every part of Nigeria. But much more important is the decision of the President to make the people the centrepiece of this bold vision,” Governor AbdulRazaq said.

The Governor, who was attending another significant event with the President in the national capital Abuja as the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, was represented by Alabi.

“For the avoidance of doubt, 188 kilometres of the road traverse different towns and communities of Kwara State. The socioeconomic implications of this Renewed Hope Infrastructure Project for national connectivity and growth cannot be fully appreciated by this generation,” he added.

Abdulrazaq applauded the Minister of Works Engr. David Umahi for the excellent job of combining the expertise of this critical terrain with the political skills of pushing through the different land mines.

“This conversation has helped our people to own the initiative, and I assure Mr. President and his team that our people will give all the support to see it through,” according to the Governor.

Bago, for his part, urged the people from Kwara and Niger to support the federal government and take ownership of the road projects, saying they (projects) are for their own good.

“We need to talk to our people that the government is not grabbing your land; the federal government is bringing development to you. We are not going to pay one kobo for compensation because it is for your good,” Bago said.

The Governor said locals should support the project because of its accompanying benefits, cautioning communities against disturbing contractors or the government for compensation.

Umahi, who commended the supportive roles of Governors AbdulRazaq and Bago for the President, said the Ministry has 18 federal projects in Kwara State, saying more efforts will go into some of them that are deemed to be behind their implementation schedules.

“We are going to engage with the Governor, commissioner for works, the federal controller of works, and the ministry, and review the projects and give them priorities,” he added.

“Four projects are ongoing on tax credit with BUA (in Kwara). They have assured me that these projects will be delivered as soon as possible. They are all government’s projects under President Tinubu. They are not social service projects from the company. We are the one funding it under a different funding mechanism.”

The Minister appreciated AbdulRazaq and Bago for hosting the engagement and their hospitality in the course of the deliberations.

He also commended the roles of the Ministers of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation Lateef Fagbemi SAN and Dr. Bio in the approval of the Kaiama-Tesse-Kishi road for construction.

“We just came from Kebbi yesterday where we unveiled the Sokoto and Kebbi States segment. In a number of states where this legacy project will be passing through, Kebbi has the highest length of 250km, the second is Kwara State with 188km and the third is Niger State with 125km,” Umahi said.

“The Sokoto-Badagry road has been in the pipeline for the past 48 years. You can imagine the successive administrations that came and left and not even a single kilometre was done. It remained a dream. The Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway was raised by President Tinubu as Governor of Lagos State 25 years ago. The president will accomplish all the three legacy projects.

“We invite the governors to buy into the project. I am fortunate that the two governors are best friends of Mr President. So, I have no problem as far as the project is concerned.”

Umahi specifically commended the good works of Governor AbdulRazaq in Kwara and as the NGF chairman, saying: “Kwara is lucky to have Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq. I have seen a lot of developments since coming to town. But he is not just doing great in Kwara, he is helping the President to properly create good relationships with the Governors. He is a very calm and humble man, and a silent achiever.”

Meanwhile, the Senate Committee Chairman on Works, Barinada Mpigi, condemned the rate of abandonment of road projects by contractors after they have been mobilised, and said the Senate would not hesitate to sanction the erring ones if they fail to return to sites on time.

Kamoru, in his goodwill message, said the project will be a big relief to the entire nation in terms of logistics and travel time.

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