Abuja- The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday in Abuja approved over N430.5billion for the construction of 17 roads and bridges across 15 states of the federation.
The Minister of Works, Mr Mike Onolememen, stated this when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the weekly FEC meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said that the projects which were meant to further enhance the ongoing transformation of the nation’s road sector would create about 13,600 jobs, improve economic growth and general lives of the people in the affected States.
“These new projects that have been awarded today, approved by the council, are all provided in the 2014 Appropriation Act of the National Assembly.
“Infrastructure projects will help to catalyse economic growth, because people must be busy. There are Nigerians who will be engaged to do these jobs and all that.
“The over 13,600 jobs that will be created from these projects that will last for up to a period of five years we need to employ these Nigerians; and if we get them busy, they should be able to put food on their tables.“
According to him, the roads and bridges, when awarded will generate employment for Nigerian Engineers, Technicians, Artisans and unskilled labour.
He said the projects would upon completion improve the socio-economic activities within the affected communities, reduce operating costs, travel time and accidents on the roads.
Onolememen stated that the affected roads were spread across Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, Enugu, Nassarawa, Abia, Niger, Kogi, Cross River, Lagos and Kaduna states.
He assured that the falling oil price would not affect the smooth execution of the projects, saying that already there were budgetary provisions of N11 billion in the ministry’s 2014 Appropriation and N10 billion from SURE-P for the projects, while the balance would be provided for in subsequent budgets.
“Council noted with delight that this is a major push in consolidating and implementing national integrated infrastructure Master plan in the road sector and it will have salutary effect on the economic and social life of Nigerians along these corridors across 14 states
“Accordingly, council approved the award of contract for the construction and rehabilitation of 17 Roads and Bridges (Categories A and B) in the 1st batch of roads and bridges projects contained in the ministry’s 2014 budget implementation in the total sum of N430,564,974,946.“ he said.
The minister expressed the hope that the projects would lead to remarkable benefits on completion.
According to Onolememen, the Bodo-Bonny road in Rivers State with three major bridges across Afa Creek, Opobo Channel and Nanabie Creek, will ensure that Bonny island that contributes the “Bonny Lite” to the Lexicon of the world’s oil market and a major economic island in Nigeria is finally linked with a road access for the first time.
“This will open this treasured island to many more Nigerians and reduce the high cost of living in one of the hitherto most expensive industrial towns in Africa.
“The new Ikom bridge will help to open up the Calabar Port for business to the people of the North-central and North-Eastern Zones of our country, as the old steel-trussed bridge has height restriction that does not permit haulage vehicles to go through,“ he added.
He said the Agaie-Katchia-Baro road in Niger State would help to link Baro Inland Port to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), thus promoting inter-modal transportation in Nigeria, as envisioned in the National Infrastructure Master Plan.
The minister said, “The novel use of rigid pavement design, also known as concrete road on this alignment and on the Ikorodu-Shagamu Road linking the NNPC Depot at Mosimi, will mark a new dawn in road construction, as the construction materials will be 100% locally sourced, with improved longevity and reduced life cycle costs.
“This will help to catalyse economic growth in Nigeria.“
According to him, the reconstruction and dualisation of Aba-Port Harcourt and Enugu-Lokpanta sections of the Enugu-Port Harcourt expressway will not only ensure that the entire corridor from Enugu to Port Harcourt is reconstructed, it will also bring a new lease of life to the people in the areas.
Onolememen also expressed optimism that the rehabilitation of Damaturu-Biu road, and Gombe-Kaltungo Section of Gombe-Numan-Yola road would bring succour to the people of the North-East region, whom he said had witnessed wanton destruction of roads and bridges by the insurgency in the area.(NAN)