The Nigerian Institution of Highways and Transportation Engineers (NIHTE), has warned that the conversion of any road project to rigid pavements will be a violation of the contractual agreement and this will lead to litigation.
Recall that the Minister of Works, Senator David Umahi, had upon assumption of duty kicked against Asphalt road construction and opted for concrete pavement, saying that the former is money-spinning.
To this end, the institute urged the Senate to facilitate the Presidential assent to the Road Sector Reform Bills with the view to addressing the existing constraints in the road construction sector.
The National Chairman of the association, Engr. Saidu Hassan, made this known last Thursday in a memorandum submitted to the joint House Committee on Works, Environment, Finance, Justice, Science, and Technology, at a day Public Hearing on the Investigation of the Merits and Demerits of using Cement Concrete for road construction and Asphalt Concrete Technology for Roads Construction in Nigeria, which took place at the National Assembly, Abuja.
“We appreciate the intervention of the National Assembly in the ongoing discussion of the rigid and flexible pavement with the view to bringing down the cost of road execution and boosting socio-economic development.
“Rigid pavement is not strange in Nigerian highways. Construction methods (concrete or asphalt pavement) are not the final solution other factors to be considered are; the initial cost of construction maintenance, design criteria, and adequate supervision.
“For any project to be truncated and converted to rigid pavement projects, it will be a violation of the contractual agreement and this will lead to litigation”, he said. The choice of pavement depends on the design criteria and available funds for initial construction.
“We enjoin the Senate to adopt the Ecowas harmonized axle load supplementary act; ACT/SP.17/02/12 relating to the harmonization of standards and procedures for the control of dimensions, weight, and axle load of goods and vehicle within member states of the Economic Community of West African States”, he said.
He, however, recommended that “As a matter of urgency, we urge the Senate to facilitate the Presidential assent to the Road Sector Reform Bills with the view to addressing the existing constraints in the sector”.
Earlier, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dr. Tajudeen Abbas, who was represented by the Chief Whip, Hon. Usman Bello Kumo, harped on the importance of the public hearing to introduce transparency to the process and help the executive receive the required feedback from stakeholders and the public.
Also, in his welcome address, the Chairman of the House of Representative Committee on Works, Hon. Akin Alabi, assured them that the committee would remain “neutral” and the “hearing is for all stakeholders to provide their input on the issue.”
Alabi reiterated that the House needed the fact-gathering exercise to appropriate funds to the ministry in the upcoming budget defence process.