Julius Berger Nigeria Plc has assured the Federal Government and indeed all Nigerians that ply the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano highway that the completed Sections 1 and 2 of the road was constructed with internationally acknowledged due diligence and best practices. The Executive Director, Administration, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Alhaji Zubairu Ibrahim Bayi, gave the assurance at the project commissioning ceremony, recently.
Bayi, who represented the Company’s Managing Director at the project commissioning ceremony gave the sincere apologies of the Managing Director for his absence at the Kano event because he had to be at the 2nd River Niger Bridge ceremony to receive Mr President. According to Alhaji Bayi, “…the Managing Director has asked me to convey his profound regrets for his absence at this event due to compelling circumstances. Our Managing Director, Dr. Lars Richter, however, sends his sincere congratulations to you, Mr. President, and to the entire good people of Nigeria, and in particular to the commuters that will benefit from this all-important road.
Bayi, who called for good maintenance of the important infrastructure said, “I am humbled to announce to this gathering that this strategic road was executed in accordance with international due diligence and best practice; an established hallmark of the Julius Berger Nigeria Plc engineering construction standard. Bayi added that, “…it is our prayer and hope that the road management and maintenance agencies will put in place the highest maintenance culture with a view to harnessing maximum benefit to justify the investment made by the government on this project”.
He announced to the august gathering that while Julius Berger Nigeria puts a total of about 14 million Man-hours of work into the construction and completion of the engineering masterpiece, the company recorded a 2.8 accident feat (that is, 1 accident per 2 million hours) on the project while it lasted.
Executive Management and entire staff of Julius Berger Nigeria expressed Julius Berger‘s sincere gratitude to the Federal Government for finding the company trustworthy to deliver the important project. He also wished both the motoring public as well as the surrounding communities safety as the newly constructed highway gets put to use.
“As you use this excellently constructed road, we wish you all the best and implore you to observe all safety procedures put in place for your protection and that of other beneficiaries”, Bayi advised.
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Speaking at the colourful ceremony, His Excellency, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano state said, it had been a very horrifying experience to ply the Kano-Zaria axis of the road before the intervention of the federal government. He added that his experience on the road on his way to handing over was a much better one. According to Governor Ganduje, “Before the construction work, we are all aware of how difficult it was to travel between Kano, Zaria, Kaduna and Abuja. We had many broken down vehicles, broken cleavage and drainages and some parts of our bridges were broken down. Mr. President decided that these roads must be totally reconstructed. Today, we are commissioning portions of sections 1 and 2, Kano to Zaria, Zaria to Kaduna and we are delighted because the quality of the road is extremely high. I came from Kano this morning and I was really observing the roads with our engineers. From what we have seen, these roads can be compared to any other road in any developed country”. At this point, Governor Ganduje who was an honourable Commissioner for Works in Kano State before he was elected Governor of the State, with an appreciative smile, hailed the engineering quality of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, saying, “I must congratulate the contractors, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, on a job well done. Ganduje also thanked President Buhari saying, “…we do not have enough words to thank you for the infrastructural facilities that you have brought to the people of Kano State”.
On his part, The Honourable Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Hon. Umar Ibrahim El-Yakub, who was also present at the commissioning said, “…we are all aware of the immense benefits and the significance of this road to the livelihood of not only the people of the bounding States and immediate communities, but to the country at large, because this is the main access that connects all other parts of the country with the northern part.” The Honourable Minister of State recalled that it is knowledge in the public domain that the country has had major challenges in financing infrastructure.
According to him, there was therefore the need to look outside the box, outside the budgetary allocations to find other ways and means of financing infrastructure, which gave birth to the initiative of the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF). “The Abuja-Kaduna-Kano road is one of the three priority projects of the Federal Government specifically funded under the PIDF. We are glad on the efforts put into this project by the President, Muhammadu Buhari and the contractor, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc. This is virtually a testament of a promise made and a promise kept by the administration and of course, a commitment to delivering on its campaign promises for which we are indeed very grateful to Mr. President,” said Hon. Umar Ibrahim El-Yakub.
Commissioning the infrastructure via zoom, President Muhammadu Buhari expressed his optimism that the road would alleviate the many years of lack and pains passed through by the communities before the handover. President Buhari described the projects as symbols of his administration’s efforts and commitment to renew the Nigerian stock of Infrastructure, pointing out that it was a deliberate choice and not an accident. He emphasised that it was a choice, “which today has greatly enhanced the Nigerian GDP from 20% to 40% thereby delivering on the prosperity of citizenry.” The President further explained that government’s debts were tied to Infrastructure, pointing out the assets and investments of the government is in place. Accordingly, President Buhari stated that the projects were anexample of the promise of change by his administration as well as a practical effort to confront the multi-dimensional poverty instead of lamentation.
The Julius Berger delegation to the event on behalf of the Managing Director was led by the company’s Executive Director Administration, Alhaji Zubairu Ibrahim Bayi. Other officials in the delegation included Alhaji Abdulaziz Kaita, AKR Project Director, Engr. Benjamin Bott; AKR Project Commercial Manager, Ralf Brendicke, Site Commercial Manager Sections 1, 2 & 3, Mr. Fabian Schneider, AKR Technical Project Manager Section 1, 2 & 3, Mr. Finn Drosdowski, Engr. Yusuf Ibrahim, Engr. Gimba Abubakar, Mr. James Agama and Olivia Uzoma.