In order to ensure safety, enhance socio-economic activities and reduce road accidents, Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello has pleaded with the federal government to complete the dualisation of the abandoned Suleja-Minna road.
He made the plea while interacting with key officers of the company handling the project, Salini Nigeria Limited, and stakeholders, at a failed section of the road at Bonu Village in Gurara local government area of the state.
The governor, who expressed concern over the present condition of the road which is a Trunk A road, said something urgent needed to be done to address the situation.
He explained that the state government has made several efforts to maintain the road which did not yield the desired results due to volume of traffic, heavy duty vehicles and lack of routine maintenance of the road since it was constructed over two decades ago.
“Even though it is a federal road, we have tried as a state government to fix it. Indeed, I directed continuous maintenance of the road, but due to high volume of traffic, heavy duty vehicles and age of the road, it didn’t last long. It is clear that considering the strategic importance of the road, the final solution is for the federal government to complete the dualisation project started over six years ago,” the governor appealed .
“It is absolutely necessary that the federal government through the Ministry of Works intervene as a matter of urgency. Ordinarily, the journey from Minna to Abuja which is about 1 hour 30 minutes, now takes over three hours resulting in discomfort, and waste of human resources. “
Governor Sani Bello therefore appealed to the federal government to expedite action through adequate budgetary allocation to enable the contractor complete the road in record time.
Earlier in his explanation, the Project Manager, Engr Paolo Campanella, disclosed that inadequate funding was responsible for slow pace of work, adding that only 20 percent has been released for the project since it started.
“The project is suffering inadequate funding. Only 20 percent of funds have so far been released.
The total cost of the project Phase I and Phase II, is N34 billion, but in six years, only N6 billion was released which is inadequate.”
The project manager who expressed delight over the interest shown by Governor Sani Bello revealed that the project was designed to be completed in three years.
“This is a project of 30 months duration. Phase I was awarded at end of 2010 and was supposed to be completed in July, 2013. Now, the time has elapsed redoubling the contract period.
“Phase II was awarded in February 2015, although there was no mobilisation to kick-start the work and largely due to the outstanding debt we have in Phase I, we couldn’t go ahead with the project.”
In their remarks, former caretaker chairman, Gurara local government area, Alhaji Yakubu Garba, and District Head of Bonu, Alhaji Ibrahim Baba Shaba, appreciated and applauded Governor Sani Bello for maintaining the road and assured him of their support to government’s policies and programmes.
Even though about 70 per cent of Federal Capital Territory ( FCT), was carved out of Niger State, it is the only state close to FCT which has not been linked by dual carriage way. Kaduna, Nasarawa and Kogi have all been linked to the FCT by dual carriage ways.