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Brig.-Gen. Murtala Abu, the Garrison Commander of the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, acknowledged and praised the Federal Government and MTN for their financial support in the reconstruction of the Enugu-Onitsha dual Carriageway.
On Thursday in Enugu, Brig.-Gen. Murtala Abu expressed his commendation during a meeting with MTN/Crown Crest Global Engineers (CCGE), Community Liaison Initiative (CLI) team, led by Chief Chris Okoye.
The commander acknowledged and commended the Federal Government for introducing the forward-thinking smart road infrastructure and conveyed sincere thanks to MTN for its devoted commitment to assisting in the construction of a road meeting international standards for the benefit of Nigerians.
He outlined the hurdles faced with a smart road, citing problems like indiscipline among road users and insufficient vehicles for thorough patrols.
Adding further details, the commander mentioned that roadblocks were strategically placed in regions vulnerable to armed robbery and kidnapping.
Abu, in spite of this, guaranteed the MTN/CCGE-CLI team that their input on the smart road and the role of security agencies would be closely assessed to ensure the adoption of the most suitable choice.
He suggested to the MTN/CCGE-CLI team that forming partnerships with the police and the Federal Road Safety Corps could be instrumental in minimizing the number of checkpoints along the roads.
He further urged them to approach the state government, seeking assistance in obtaining patrol vehicles that would amplify their effectiveness in conducting operations.
The Garrison Commander said: “A joint security meeting with all the security outfits and the construction companies to discuss the location of the CCTVs and how to ensure that the road remains smart would be the sure way to go.
“I will also appeal that the road be constructed to make room for future expansion into a four-lane expressway due to the growth and development of the South-East and the importance of this particular highway”.
Okoye previously mentioned that once finished, the 107-kilometre Enugu–Onitsha Dual Carriageway is set to become a fully equipped smart road.
Explaining the funding mechanism, he detailed that MTN is supporting the construction through the Federal Government’s novel Road Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme (RITCS).
He noted that smart roads are a global phenomenon renowned for their positive impact on traffic management and security. The Enugu–Onitsha Dual Carriageway is planned as a freeway to promote a smooth flow of traffic from one end to the other.
“When completed, there will be no difference between day and night driving on the highway as there are plans to deploy solar light right from Enugu to Onitsha.
“Drones and CCTV Cameras will be deployed along the length of the road in which control rooms will be installed to monitor activities on the road.
“Checkpoints will also be a thing of the past if the smart road concept is fully deployed, instead lots of security patrols will be encouraged to guard against a situation where checkpoints hamper and slow down traffic on the Highway.
“The security personnel will be encouraged to do more of clear stop-and-search as stop by and clearing areas will be an integral part of the dual carriageway’s construction,” he said.
Okoye said MTN/CCGE-CLI was focused to ensure that the Highway remained beneficial to all stakeholders along the road corridor and “MTN/CCGE-CLI is committed to working with the Nigerian Army to create a synergy on security on the road”.
The meeting saw the presence of Chief Chris Okoye, accompanied by Dr. Reginald Facah, the Coordinator of the MTN/CCGE Community Liaison Initiative (CLI), and Mrs. Chinenye Okwuosa, the Community Liaison Officer in Enugu State.