The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has identified abuses by road users, insurgency, among others, as some of the causes of bad roads in the country. He stated this on Thursday at the 29th Meeting of the National Council on Works in Calabar. The meeting, with the theme, ‘Infrastructure as the pathway for prosperity,’ was attended by permanent secretaries, directors of work, and commissioners of works, among others.
Fashola, who was represented by the Minister of State, Works and Housing, Abubakar Aliyu, said “The need to look beyond public budgets and the clamour for other funding sources for road projects are recurring decimals in the literature of Nigerian highways development.
“The challenge of insurgency in some parts of the country, road-users’ abuses like the uncontrollable excessive axle loads by trucks, unauthorised use of federal roads right-of-ways, and many other problems which are begging for solutions can be explored to create a pathway for prosperity.”
The theme of the meeting, according to him, “was carefully chosen to address the complex issues of road infrastructure development in our dear country towards proffering tangible solutions, comfortable environment to sustain business and the effects of giving the people back what they actually deserve as citizens of our great nation.” He added, “Our mandate in this meeting is to find new enduring possibilities on how to establish the link between infrastructure development and job creation, poverty alleviation, wealth creation and the empowerment of the informal sector, among others, in ensuring that the 10 million jobs target per annum by Mr President is attained.”
Declaring the meeting open, the Governor of Cross River State, Prof. Ben Ayade, who was represented by his Deputy, Prof. Ivara Esu, commended the Federal Ministry of Works for holding the meeting in Calabar. He drew the attention of the minister to the deplorable state of the Calabar-Itu road and called for its urgent repair.
“I empathise with those who travel through Calabar-Itu road. A journey that usually lasts one hour now takes about five hours. Is FERMA still in existence? Let FERMA maintain roads so that they will last for some time. Let us revive our maintenance culture,” he said and called on the Federal Government to support the super highway project and the deep seaport.