FG'll implement emergency plan for bad roads - Minister

By The Citizen

The Federal Government will evolve and implement an emergency plan to fix federal roads in dire state in the south east and other parts of the country.

The Minister of Works, Mr Mike Onolememen, disclosed this while answering questions at the News Agency of Nigeria forum in Abuja on Wednesday.

Onolememen, who acknowledged that some of the arterial roads in the south east were in bad condition, said that the government had done so much on roads in the region, noting that it had not abandoned roads in the region.

'In fact, the road you are talking about from Umuahia to Ikot Ekpene, when I visited Abia State in December, I drove through the road and I noticed that there is about three kilometers stretch of that road that is actually in dire need of rehabilitation.

'I have not just heard about it, I have seen it; between the ministry of works and the agency which is under my supervision, we are formulating an emergency plan to recover that particular road; it has not been forgotten.'

Onolememen dismissed insinuations that the Federal Government had not done much in fixing most of its roads in bad condition in the south east region.

He said that though the budgetary constraints had limited the ministry's intervention in some areas, government had in the past few years tried to recover bad portions of the arterial roads.

'It is not true that all the federal government roads in the south east are in bad shape.

'It is in the same south east where you have the Obiozora-Iziagu road that is one of our best roads which is comparable to anywhere in the world.

'We have pockets of them here and there, the Enugu-Abakaliki road is part of the roads in the south east, these are very good alignments.

'Yes we have some challenges, for us to be able to drive these roads to the level Nigerians want; we need to be investing about N500 billion in road development in the ministry of works every year in the next four years,' he said.

The Minister added that the Obajana-Kabba road which had been in terrible state in the past 15 years and other critical roads across the country would receive priority attention before the expiration of the present administration.

The minister urged Nigerians to appreciate the work done by the Goodluck Jonathan administration in the area of road rehabilitation and construction after many years of neglect in the sector.

He said that government had done much in the sector despite the increase in vehicular traffic from 150,000 in the early 1980s to over 10 million as at Dec. 2013.

Onolememen said that the length of roads fixed by the present administration had improved from 4,000 kilometres in 2011 to 20,000 kilometres in Dec. 2013.

He said that a significant percentage of the remaining 15,000 kilometres of federal roads across the country would be made motorable before the end of the present administration in 2015.

Onolememen assured Nigerians that most of the problems on the major corridors across the country would be tackled through different approaches that would bring succour to Nigerians. NAN