By Mashe Umaru Gwamna
The Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi yesterday applauded President Muhammadu Buhari for approving reconstruction of Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano road project.
The traditional ruler gave the commendation at the project flag-off by Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola in Kano. He said the 375.4km project will improve livelihood of the people and reduce road carnages.
“…for many years, this road has become a death trap and we are very pleased that finally, the government is taking concrete action.
“A distance of 374km is a medium distance, most people will rather take their car from Kano to Abuja than go by plane. Many people have been forced to spend hours on the road waiting for airplane…so it is clear that this is a road that needs to be repaired and this act will contribute in no small measure to welfare of the people. We appreciate the federal government for doing this while we look forward to speedy completion,” Sanusi added.
In his remarks, Fashola assured of uninterrupted funding of the projects.
He said the Kano-Abuja road project, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway amd Second Niger Bridge have been listed to benefit from the newly approved Infrastructure Development Fund.
This gesture, the Minister noted will ensure stable funding until the projects completion.
The 375.4km road project was awarded to Julius Berger Plc at N155,470,626,078.07 with 36 months completion period.
According to him, the projects had for 10 years suffered neglect despite buoyancy of the past administration.
His words: “The existing 25 roads are only a part of 200 roads that needs to be funded. Strategic roads which carry some of the heaviest traffic and which connect the north and south of the country, the second Niger Bridge and the Abuja-Kano road project have either being stalled or simply deteriorated for about a decade for lack of funding at a time when the country made a lots of money from the sale of crude oil.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has again brought change. After the SUKUK, he has now approved an infrastructure development fund.
“These three projects, Lagos- Ibadan Expressway, Second Niger Bridge and the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano expressway are the first beneficiary of the infrastructure developed fund.”
He added that, “What change means now is that work will no longer stop on these three projects on the account of lack of funding once they are put in the budget.”
The Minister noted that the contractors working on Lagos-Ibadan road and second Niger Bridge had been mobilized while Julius Berger construction firm is expected to commence work on the third project shortly after the flag-off.
Fashola emphasised that there would be no reason to stop work on the three projects stressing that the President already assured such will not happen until it’s full completion.
Senate Committee Chairman on Works, Senator Kabir Gaya was excited for the flag-off stressing that the road was abandoned for over 21 years, yet it’s reconstruction commenced during his term as a serving senator.
He applauded the President and Fashola for delivering on promises made to the people of Kano.
In his remarks, Kano State Governor, Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje decried high rate of casualties recorded on the road due to its neglect.
He said road mishaps were recorded almost on daily basis.
Ganduje, represented by his Deputy, Prof. Afeez Abubakar said the reconstruction would salvage hardship regularly witnessed on the roads by commuters.
Managing Director, Julius Berger, Engr. Wolfgang Goetsch called for proper road maintenence culture while ahe assured on timely delivery.
Describing Fashola as Grand Commander of Works, he noted that the Kano-Abuja dual carriageway is of high significance that will benefit the people and connect the north to the southern part of the country.