Nigeria’s recently inaugurated Works Minister and former Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi has ordered a redesign of federal roads in the Southeast.
The minister also instructed contractors in charge of regional road projects to utilise concrete for the remaining crumbling portions.
Umahi pledged to keep pushing for the construction of concrete roads in Nigeria while visiting work being done on federal highways in the Southeast. He spoke in Enugu at the time.
“Our roads are not failing because of the basement but because of bad asphalts that are placed on them,” he said.
The inspection, which started on September 5 in Enugu State, is expected to end tomorrow.
Umahi said he embarked on the inspection to ascertain the state of federal roads in the Southeast, explaining that some errors were detected on some roads while payment to some contractors was stopped to allow for a review of the contracts.
Some of the roads the minister inspected include the Ozalla-Akpugo-Amangunze-Isu Onicha (Enugu-Onicha) with a spur to Onunwere in Enugu State done by Arab Contractors and the rehabilitation of old Enugu-Onitsha road, also handled by Arab Contractors.
Others are: the construction of the Nenwe-Nomeh-Mburubu-Nara road with a spur from Obeagu-Oduma road in Enugu State; rehabilitation of Nsukka-Ikem, Eha Amufu–Nkalagu in Ebonyi State, among others.
Addressing reporters after the inspection, Umahi said: “We’re advocating for concrete roads because they will last longer than asphalt roads. The concrete done on the road that leads to NigerCem since 1950 is still intact and suitable without maintenance. That’s why we’re advocating for concrete roads.
“The other roads were part of the section of road built by Ebonyi State on concrete for the past seven years. So, this is the way to go.”
For the country to get value for its money, Umuahi promised that no contractor, under his watch, would deviate from the original contract agreement or abandon the work given to them.
He said: ‘When I am sure the contractor will not do the work as agreed, I will stop the work and review it. Today, I stopped the payment of RCC and Arab Contractors until we sit back and review the cost of the contract and the method of construction, which is being funded by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL).
‘I have also directed that every project must have a separate engineer and there must be a WhatsApp group platform for the six regions to monitor everything we do every week and instructions are issued.
‘The sites going on must be reviewed as all the directors of the six regions will spend two weeks in the region and two weeks in Abuja to ensure maximum compliance on our projects.’
Also, Umahi has said no contract for any project awarded by the Federal Government should last more than four years.