The Minister of Works, Engr. David Umahi has said the time has come for all contractors working in Nigeria to ensure that they respect strictly the global right best practices in engineering that enhance the durability of all construction work, both for roads and bridges with the best quality of materials being used.
The minister stated this during a recent meeting with contractors handling projects in the Northeast Geo-political Zone of Nigeria, in Abuja.
He said President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is interested in concrete road technology, noting that the technology is more durable and fairly moderate in cost-effectiveness.
The minister said he had instructed contractors to take into consideration the issue of funds in the way and manner they handle the road projects.
“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 the paucity of funds, 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”.
Umahi said, his administration has up to N14 Trillion in ongoing projects against Eighteen Thousand Kilometres, adding that with the Renewed Hope Mantra, contractors should not stay on site for more than four years.
The Minister frowned at the situations where some contracts have been ongoing for 20 years, stating that 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 both and see which is better.
“In any case, any contractor with an- ongoing project that is not willing to cooperate with us for a redesign with concrete road technology with a year fifty 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 the 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 this kind of construction pattern in developed countries. You come 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 the certificate would be based on the status certificate.
Umahi challenged the contractors handling projects in the North East Zone of the country not to bother to report him to Mr President, saying ” have already reported myself to him on all issues”.
The minister, who said he was taking instruction directly from Mr. President, maintained that the president was interested in concrete road technology.
“He has given 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.
The minister, in a statement signed by Lere-Adams Blessing, Director (Information).
The press and Public Relations Unit of the ministry said the present administration would do things differently to better the lives of Nigerians.