No existing federal road, according to Works Minister Dave Umahi, can live longer than seven years.
He noted that certain roads are covered in potholes and have degraded into “boreholes” and claimed that the decision was based on information gathered during his recent nationwide road inspection tour.
While speaking to contractors from the six geopolitical zones on Tuesday at the ministry headquarters in Abuja, the minister expressed his displeasure over the subpar work performed by the contractors over the years.
The minister expressed his disgust at how contractors defraud Nigerians of the materials they use to build roads in the nation, claiming that the contractors have a habit of inflating the cost of their projects to defraud the nation through contract variation and the use of asphalt materials, which are influenced by the price of crude oil on the world market.
The former governor of Ebonyi questioned the contractors’ unauthorized additional work and advised them to seek formal authorization. He made it clear that contracts will not be signed without the required design plans and original road blueprints, highlighting the significance of proper documentation and clearance procedures.There is now no project being built in Nigeria that will last for seven years,The issue is whether we’ll be maintaining or rebuilding our highways every ten years?. Which is what we have been doing. He said.
I travelled from Abuja to Benin City through Lokoja, all the stretches of the road are on contract, and ongoing, this is through the policy of the last administration but how much of the roads are motorable? I travelled through the roads myself and I shed tears for the kind of pains our people are going through.”
“I traveled for 14 hours, starting at 10 am, and arrived in Benin City at 2 pm the following day. I was glad I felt the pangs. President Tinubu instructed me to visit every project so I could brief him on my experience and be honest with him”.
“Mr. President’s noble aim to aid this nation may not be realized until he takes action regarding our procurement. The Bureau of Public Procurement will receive the paperwork for a no-objection certificate, which will be valid for six months. Without backup authorization, how will the contractors complete the additional work that you have instructed them to complete?
While criticizing ministry employees for failing to oversee road projects, the minister also attacked the entire Nigerian construction industry, alleging that Nigeria’s poor road conditions are partly attributable to a lack of professionalism and out-of-date construction techniques. The minister further ordered all contractors to redesign their projects using concrete technology rather than asphalt and threatened to withhold payment from any contractor who disobeyed the order.
The minister asserts that assertions that the price of cement would increase to N9,000 if the government began building concrete roads are untrue because they are a component of a broad campaign of blackmail against him by the construction sector cabals.
“This is my line of instructions, and I will follow them exactly. Only the president and God have the authority to change them, so don’t spend your time reporting me to anybody else. The minister promised him that no matter how many lies and blackmail were used, it would not succeed. He said.