By Hutson Efosa
Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola, Minister of Works and Housing
The Permanent Secretary of Works and Housing, Mr. Babangida Hussaini, has stated that allocation of funds under the SUKUK Roads Funding is done equally across zones.
Engr. Funso Adebiyi, the Director in charge of Highways Construction in the ministry represented the Permanent Secretary during an interactive session with the media while on a routine inspection of Dualization of Suleja-Minna Road and Construction of Lambata-Lapai-Bida Road in Niger State, on Wednesday.
He said the statement was to correct insinuations that the Federal Government was spending more money on projects in the North than in the South.
He explained that variety of factors were involved in the construction of a road to determine the cost, among which are: level of deterioration before the intervention, topography of road alignment, soil texture of the area, the water table, the nearness to borrowed construction materials and the cost of haulage.
“All these had costs implications on road construction’ he said.
He explained further that the SUKUK assisted funding was shared equally across the geo-political zones.
“The amount provided for South-West was the same for the North-West but the length of kilometres you would cover with that same amount in North-west was by far more than if it were in the South-South.
The landmass up North is by far more than what is in the South and these are factors that determine the cost of road construction’ “Government is not biased, we are doing our best”, he added.
On the Suleja-Lambata-Minna road, Engr. Adebiyi said the road was an important route linking part of the North-Central and North-West zones of the country to the Federal Capital Territory and also the Abuja/Kaduna highway at Dikko Lambata.
He said the road also linked one of the Trunk ‘A’ roads and a major haulage for petroleum products, farming and other commercial activities.
Engr. Adebiyi expressed satisfaction at the level and standard of work so far on the Suleja-Minna road, which has reached 80 per cent completion while 20 per cent completion has been achieved for the newly awarded Lambata-Lapai-Bida road.
He pointed out that with favourable weather, the contractors would achieve more progress on the work to meet up with the schedule.
On palliatives, Engr Adebiyi stated that it is part of the component of this project to make the road motorable, while the project was going on and this he said cuts across all the ongoing projects simultaneously in the country.
The Project Manager of Salini Nigeria Limited in charge of Suleja-Minna road dualization, Daniel Kassa, informed the inspection team that Phase I of the project was at 82 per cent completion while Phase II, has recorded 20 per cent completion; the remaining work was progressing.
Kassa disclosed that they have a target to complete Phase I, Dikko Interchange and another 4km from km 33 to 77km, including its asphalting work while in Phase II, they still have 3km to be completed and another 4km ahead to catch up with before the rains come.
Subsequently, the Lambata-Lapai-Bida road Project Manager of CGC Nigeria Limited, Mr. Tang Pengwen, said that CGC was determined to complete the project successfully and provide good road network for the Ministry and the nation as a whole.
“This is a 124.8km stretch of single carriage way but double lane project. We are reconstructing a relatively new road awarded in 2018 to be completed in 2022. We have achieved 20% completion, 30km is already asphalted and a few other kilometers are going through reconstruction process. Plans are underway tour complete another 15km” he said.