Nigeria’s cabinet approves N4.852bn for roads in Kwara, Osun

Cyril Okonkwo, Abuja.

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Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council has approved the sum of N4.852 billion for the completion of roads in Kwara and Osun states.

This followed two memoranda presented by the Ministry of Works and Housing to Wednesday’s cabinet meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, who briefed State House correspondents after the meeting, said the first memorandum was for the 18km section of the Ajase-Ipo-Erinle-Offa Road in Kwara State.

Fashola said the road connects Kwara State in North Central Nigeria to Osun State in South West of the country.

“The approval was for the 18km section that completes the entire length of 26km of the road.

All that was awarded in the previous administration was just eight km of the 26 km.

So, what we have done now is to award the 18km so that the full stretch of 26km is now under contract for the purpose of completion. 

“That comes to a sum of N4.027billion for the 18km stretch.  The previous contract is still going on.  So, this is an addendum to that contract.”

Mr. Fashola said the second approval given at the cabinet meeting was for the sum of N825millin variation for the Osogbo-Ilesa Road in Osun State.

According to him, the contract for the construction of the road was awarded in 2012 but wasn’t funded.

He explained that the present administration has done 76% of the project, but that his ministry needed the approval to expand the road by about three kilometers.

This is to expand the original contract by three kilometers link up to Osogbo town—the built up section because it is supposed to by-pass the town. 

“So, this the 3.4km that the governor requested when I went on the nation-wide road tour that we should help them connect it to Osogbo town. 

“So, going through procurement and all of that, we finally got the approval today for N825million to include that part.”

Axle load

Responding to questions on the state of roads in the country, Fashola explained that truck owners and drivers exceed the prescribed axle load of 45,000 tons, getting up to 60,000 and even 90,000 tons.

He said the weight of the loads carried by these trucks has continued to cause damage to roads in the country.

Those roads are not designed for that kind of tonnage.  So we are also asked for enforcement from the loading points, the ports, deports so that weights and measures are used from point of origin to ensure that no vehicles exceeds 45,000 tons which is the approved axle load nationwide. 

“As long as we continue to exceed and abuse with excess axle load there is no design that you will do that will last.”

Fashola expressed hope that developments in the Nigerian railways would tackle this challenge as the cargo being carried by heavy trucks on the roads would be taken to the rail as part of the final solution to the problem.