From Yakubu Mustapha, Minna
The Rural Access and Mobility Programme RAMP has constructed over 600 kilometers of rural roads and 30 crossing bridges in the 25 local government areas of Niger state.
The State Coordinator, Hassan Baba Etsu who made this known in Minna while speaking yesterday with some journalists, said that RAMP roads constructed have linked about 420 communities and provided direct and indirect jobs to more than 600 unemployed people.
Baba said that for sustainability of those roads to serve the people better, Niger state government is carrying out the surface dressing of 240 kilometers project at the sum of N6 billion.
He informed that the 240 kilometers 65% has been completed while work has reached appreciable progress on the remaining 35%.
Etsu further said the RAMP has recruited 600 unemployed people who are “given monthly stipends of N20,000 each” to maintain the roads and desilt the culverts so as to ensure sustainability.
“We have improved transportation in the rural areas, the construction of these roads has also led to increase in enrolment of pupils in schools” he said adding that cases of death during child birth or sudden illness have decreased because people can easily access health care facilities because of the roads.
He stated that RAMP is a World Bank French Development Agency and Niger state Government funded project which started in 2013, with $60 million total package as loans which the participating states are to repay within over 30 years, added that other states in the programme are Osun, Adamawa, Enugu and Imo.
He than raised concern that the Programme could not continue with construction of road from Pandogari to Bass as a result of insecurity but said the project has been diverted to a safer part in the same community.
Etsu said has overcome the security challenge by engaging top security experts to advice it adding that “ we now have full compliments of fully armed policemen, soldiers and other security operatives to protect our staff on the field”
The Coordinator further explained that the programme has also decided to include issue of Security as “a cost in the next phase of our assignment”.
He stressed that due to the state RAMP performance “creditably” it has been given the go ahead to move to the next phase of the programme which is the Rural Access and Agricultural Market Project RAAMP.
“We were given a target to construct 370 kilometers of rural roads and 15 river crossings we surpassed the target so we have been given the nod to go into the next phase of the project”.