ABU Nmodu reports plans by the Niger state government in partnership with the World Bank – financedRural Access Mobility Project (RAMP) to spend $60 million on the construction of 579 kilometres of rural roads in Niger state.

The Rural Access Mobility Project (RAMP) of the World Bank has earmarked $60 Million for the construction of 579 kilometres of rural roads across the 25 local government areas of Niger state before the end of 2019.

The state is however expected to contribute some percentage of the contract sum as counterpart funds.

The National coordinator of RAMP, Alhaji Uban Doma who gave details of work at the formal flag off of 403 kilometres second phase of the rural roads project at Kompanin Bobi in Mariga local government area of the state said that already 176 kilometers have been constructed in addition to 30 river crossing during the first phase of the project.

He said 119 kilometres of rural roads have been selected for spot improvement to create access to the communities where river crossing were constructed to emphasise the fact that the project is targeted at the remotest villages to create access that will boost their economic activities.

From findings the world bank RAMP commenced operation in the state in 2014. The national coordinator reiterated that the project is aimed at improving transport condition, expand and sustain access by the rural population through rehabilitating and maintaining key rural transport infrastructure in a sustainable manner.

In the second phase of the rural roads to be constructed and rehabilitated were Fellegi- Shafini in Magama local government are, about 12.7 kilometre , Shagunu-Luma road I Borgu local government area about 26.92 kilometres and Bangi- Kasuwan Garba in Mariga local government are with spur to Galma about 60 kilometres.

Others are Kompani Bobi- Kasuwan Garba about 28.7 kilometre in Mariga local government while in another package in Niger East were Sullu junction –Daku bridge-Sabon Doki abot 5 kilometre in Tafa local government, Sullu junction-kabo road as well as old Gawu- Tuna-Farindoki in Gurara and Paikoro local government areas respectively all about 68 kilometre.

Similarly, in the second phase Kuta-Kobwa-Kafa- Layi road , Pandogari- Bassa road in Shiroro and Rafi local governments area were also earmarked for construction in the second phase.

The other roads also marked for the second road include Wushishi-Makusid – Bida road about 77 kilometres in Wushishi local government area , Kutigi-Dasun –TashanHajiya road in all about 55 kilometres., Doko –Gaba- Sheshi road about 14 kilometre and Patibokungi-Jebo-Angasa road all in lavun local government about 12 kilometres

The last of the lots in phase two are Baddegi-Ebba-Kateregi road and Wuyakanti –Etsu Tasha road; all about 53 kilometers are in Katcha local government area of the state to sum up the spread of the road construction under RAMP in the three senatorial districts.

Niger state governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani-Bello promised a new lease of life for rural dwellers in state at the flag off of the phase two of the RAMP road project.

According to him “this phase is for the Construction/Rehabilitation of rural roads in the State to ease mobility, connect and open-up the rural areas for socio-economic development.

“The Rural Access and Mobility Project RAMP is a programme jointly funded by the state government and the World Bank whose core value is to promote rapid economic growth by providing all year round access to basic services and facilities in the State for the rural people in to enhance the agricultural value-chain,” the governor explained.

The governor gave the assurance that all bottlenecks that would hinder the timely implementation of the rural projects will be removed, stressing that “we will also continue to pay all our counterpart contributions to development partners for all projects in the critical areas in the state”.

He pointed out that his administration remains resolute and committed to infrastructural development of the rural communities, adding, “we are confident that this will improve the socio-economic status of the people”.

Under the RAMP-2 project, the governor said 403 kilometres of rural roads will be constructed across the three senatorial zones of the state as a follow up to the 176 kilometres of rural roads rehabilitated under the first phase of the project.

The governor who said the project so far has greatly facilitated linkages of several communities since its take off in the state, appealed to benefiting communities along the corridors of the rural roads to take full ownership of the roads.

He also assured rural farmers of government’s commitment to supporting farming activities in order to boost agricultural production and increase yield per hectare through tractor loan scheme and early sales of fertilisers to farmers at subsidised rates for this year’s farming season.

Governor Sani-Bello stressed that when the rural roads are completed, they will not only improve the economic base of the rural areas but will open up the grassroots to social development.

The state commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Alh. Nuhu Duku said that the state government keyed into the RAMP project in order “to turn the fortunes of rural dwellers around”.

The commissioner who disclosed that the RAMP began in the state in 2014 said 176 kilometres rural roads were either constructed or rehabilitated while 20 river crossing bridges in 15 local government areas were also constructed.

He added “the 403 kilometres rural roads to be rehabilitated across 12 local government areas of the state were carefully selected, taking into consideration the governor’s concern for the development of rural areas and the need to provide more access to communities where bulk of agricultural activities take place.”

The state cordinator of RAMP, Hassan Etsu stated that RAMP has impacted positively on the socio economic life of the people in the rural areas, especially in moving their goods and service to the urban centres.

He stated that “for Instance the road from Rafin Yashi to Shat within that is just about 28 kilometres that used to take about one before has been constructed by RAMP and the situation has improved and the people can easily move now”.

He said that the roads had not only improved agricultural activities but has touched other areas latently because it has helped to curb infant and maternal mortality as well as improve school enrolment to a great extent because the people in the rural areas could easily access nearby health facilities with good roads.

He stated that from the feed back from the baseline it was clear that the RAMP project has really touched the lives of the people in the rural areas, hence the second phase will go along way in increasing the standard of living of the rural dwellers.