By Chioma Nnodim
Minister of Works, Engr. David Umahi has disclosed that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is interested in concrete road technology, since this is more durable and fairly moderate in cost effectiveness. The Minister also stressed that the time has come for all Contractors working in Nigeria to ensure that they respect strictly the Global Right Best Practices in Engineering that enhances the durability of all construction work, both for roads and bridges with the best quality of materials being used.
The Minister made this known during a meeting with contractors handling projects in the North East Geo-political Zone of Nigeria, over the weekend in Abuja.
In his words “I had recently met with contractors handling road dualization projects and my position on the issue is to take one lane and complete it because of paucity of fund, but with the availability of money they could start the second lane .We can manage with one lane instead of not having anything at all,’ he said.
Umahi said, “presently we have up to N14 Trillion on-going projects against Eighteen Thousand Kilometres, adding that with the Renewed Hope Mantra contractors should not stay on site more than four years.
The Minister frowned at situations where some contracts have been on-going for 20 years, he said it was not good for the contractors, not good for the projects and not good for the client.
“We are introducing CONCRETE ROAD TECHNOLOGY and some of you are not happy about it. Some are saying it is too expensive but we have to try the both and see which is better.
“In any case, any contractor with an on- going project that is not willing to cooperate with us for a redesign with concrete road technology which with fifty years period free of maintenance, we’ll demand for performance bond. The situation and time when roads are built on asphalt and within two to three years the project is back to square one is gone,” he said .
He highlighted the reasons for road failure which among others include, poor workmanship from contractors, importation of adulterated bitumen into the country and the laying of less than correct thickness of asphalt.
Umahi said, our people were suffering as a result of poor workmanship and all manner of cheating and we have come to solve the perennial problem once and for all.
“We don’t witness these kind of construction pattern in developed countries, you came from developed countries so we are going to respect Engineering Best Practices in Nigeria. We will build a road that is going to last,” he said.
The Minister however disclosed that subsequent signing of certificate would be based on status certificate.
Umahi was delighted to inform the contractors handling projects in the North East Zone of the country not to bother to report him to Mr President because he had already reported himself to him on all issues.
The Minister said he is taking instruction directly from Mr President and he is interested in concrete road technology.
“He has given a teeth to bite and to bite Nigerians into Good Roads so that they can Enjoy . This will be one of the Greatest Legacies of Mr President and other legacies he is bringing so that the world will know we are not here for business but we are here for an assignment,” he said.