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Lagos to Abuja trip will take four hours with our new road projects – Umahi

Lagos to Abuja trip will take four hours with our new road projects – Umahi …says cement production capacity not enough for nation’s roads construction

Dave Umahi, minister of works, has declared that trips from Lagos, the nation’s commercial centre to Abuja, the federal capital territory, will take a minimum of four hours when President Bola Tinubu-led Administration completes the ‘super’ road projects being undertaken across the country, especially within Lagos and Ogun axes.

Umahi, who undertook inspections of Lagos-Ibadan expressway, Epe-Ijebu-Ode road, among others on Thursday, noted that the ‘super’ road projects being proposed by Tinubu’s presidency would solve major road infrastructure problems that are being experienced by Nigerians across the country.

While being hosted by Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State in Abeokuta, the State Capital, the minister of works stated that the efforts of making Nigerian roads smooth and motorable had started in Lagos with third mainland bridge and other major roads and bridges in Lagos as such roads and bridges would be fixed without inflicting pains on Nigerians.

He said, “I have been in Lagos since Monday, basically inspecting bridges in Lagos. Let me make it very clear that the public have no fear about the integrity of the Third Mainland Bridge.

“Every structure maintenance after so many years after construction. The little defects here and there need to be fixed. We fix it in such a way that it won’t inflict pains on Nigerians. Nobody should be afraid of the integrity and stability of the Third Mainland Bridge. We are working on Eko Bridge right now. We are going to look at the Carter Bridge.

“Your excellency, we have started the inspection already in your state. Let me thank you for the beautiful road you built along Epe. I was rather flying, not driving on that road. It links Lagos and what it means is that those going to the North and the east can easily avoid the Island.

“Let me announce to you that the Lagos proposed 4th Mainland Bridge is going to tear off with our proposed Super Highway which will take off along Epe. Majority of it is going to be in Ogun State and it will take us four hours from Lagos to Abuja. We had presentation on that yesterday (Wednesday). It’s going to be on PPP.

“We are concluding on that. Within the next two months, work will start on that project and that will further interconnect states to the federal capital. We’ve inspected the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, a total of 127 kilometres. But majority of the road is in Ogun State, I think about 81kilometres.

“Let me announce that the entire pavement in Ogun State have been completed. Berger is doing about 43kilometres of the road, while RCC is doing the rest. The entire stretch of the road will be ready by the end of September. But there will still be other small works going on; the drainage, median works, will take us to end of November.”

Speaking on the production capacity of cement manufacturers in the country, Umahi noted that the combined capacities of manufacturers are not enough for the supply of reinforce concrete needed for the road and bridge constructions proposed and the manufacturers needed to increase their production capacities in order to meet up with demands.

“But the policy on our roads construction with reinforce concrete is also going to put pressure on cement manufacturers. Their capacity now cannot meet 30% of our requirement. So, it is for them to now expand their factories and that will create jobs and reduce the pressure on forex”, he said.

Responding, Governor Dapo Abiodun recalled what he and Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State went through getting the Federal Government’s permission to take over the reconstruction of the Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta Expressway.

He regretted that despite meeting some of the requirements by the Federal Government, the two States were frustrated, leading to further deterioration of the road.

He said: “I would like to highlight the Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta road, Ota is a city that has earned us the prestigious title of being the industrial capital of Nigeria. It is a city where we share boundaries with Lagos State and you can hardly tell the difference between Ota and Lagos State.

“That road, I think the contract must have been awarded maybe in 2012 or 2010 under the administration of President Obasanjo. Since then, the contract has been subjected to so many reviews.

“When I assumed office, Governor Sanwo-Olu and I went to see President Buhari and we wrote one letter on a joint letterhead requesting for that road to be transferred to us.

“We brought a letter from our bankers. At that point in time, it was probably about N70 billion, saying that this N70 billion that we want to put into the reconstruction of the road.

“Then, there was no Minister. We were told that because the road is under contract, what they would like to do is to partner with the states and we said okay, let us sit down, and discuss on the basis of the partnership. That road is about 77 kilometres, let us discuss the basis of that partnership, Your Excellency, we made no progress.”

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