The Minister of Works, David Umahi, has declared that contractors to the ministry insisting on using asphalt in road construction, despite the new directive to use concrete, will face the consequences if the roads fail within a short time.
The minister stated this while meeting with 46 contractors handling road projects in the Southeast region as well as four contractors from the Northeast over the weekend at the ministry’s headquarters in Mabushi, Abuja.
According to a statement on Sunday evening by the Information, Press and Public Relations Unit, Blessing Lere-Adams, Umahi maintained that under his watch, road construction, starting from design and actual construction must henceforth meet the needed requirements.
He said, “We will get it right, the time to do a good job is here, If you were doing a bad job before, this period is not for you. Every 24 hours that I work must be characterized with good and acceptable construction that will last.”
While reiterating his belief in the use of concrete technology in road pavement because of its durability and affordability, Umahi explained that such roads do not also need much maintenance.
He further asked the contractors to decide on the use of asphalt or concrete but said that if any of them decides to continue the use of asphalt, then they will sign an undertaking that if the road fails, they will bear the burden.
“I will challenge you contractors that the use of concrete technology on our road pavement is the best. The nation is endowed with natural resources, so we should be prepared for the renewed hope of the present government that is anchored on change.“
“My instruction is for us to start using concrete technology, but if you insist on using asphalt, you will sign an undertaking for me that if the road fails you will bear the burden alone, ’’ the minister explained.
Umahi went on to encourage the contractors to embrace the new technology with ease, which he said would help cushion the effect of dilapidated roads in the Southeast region of the nation because of the terrain in the area.
Meanwhile, Umahi has explained the reasons for his working visit to the South-west and other regions of the country in recent times.
“I have been in Lagos and the Southwest since to evaluate the ongoing projects especially bridges that are so important to Lagos economy, the issue of concrete technology on our roads, and review of road contracts. That is why we are going around to see how we can redesign our roads with concrete pavement,” he stated.
He made the remarks while meeting with the Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, who received him and his team on behalf of the state Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.
The minister during his visit also explained how Ondo state could partner with the federal government through the Highway Development Initiative in building federal roads in the state.
“Most federal roads connect one state to the other and when they are cut off, the economic viability of such states is in trouble. That is why I am presenting a memo to the Economic Council to allow us to access funds to conclude some of these roads and if we don’t conclude them, it will impact negatively on these states’ economies,” he added.
Earlier, the minister after his assessment of Mayfair Junction and the Lagere-Iremo –Enuwa- Ilesha by-pass in Osun state, paid a courtesy visit to the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi. The deputy governor of Ondo state, in his remarks, earlier described Umahi’s appointment as well deserved, noting that as a former governor, his antecedents in infrastructural development and governance were top-notch.