From Matthew Aramunde, Lagos
The Director General/CEO, Nigerian Building & Road Research Institute (NBRRI) Prof Danladi Mattawal has said Nigeria ranks very low in road network and housing in the comity of nations.
He made this declaration during this year’s public lecture of the Nigerian Academy of Engineering, which held at the auditorium of the Medical Research Institute (NIMR), in Yaba, Lagos.
Drawing from the theme: “Road and Building Research in Nigeria; Panacea to Nigeria’s Quest for Infrastructural Development”, the Guest Speaker said the measure of the state of development of any country can be made through the volume and state of roads within its geographical area.
This according to him is because roads are amongst some of the most critical economic infrastructures that stimulate growth and development being used for freighting the citizens and goods for leisure, tourism and holiday, trade and commerce, etc. stressing that this is particularly emphatic in a country like Nigeria where other forms of transport are negligible, especially huge viable options railways, air and water transportation.
In this regard, he continued, the World Total Road Networks (paved + unpaved) was approximately 70 million kilometers in 2012 with 95.5percent of the entire network domiciled in North America, Europe, China, Japan, Brazil and India.
He noted that the total length of road networks, in kilometers (with the major highways/expressway lengths in bracket) are: USA 6,506,204(75238); China 4,193,000 (95,600); India 402,000(10,000), Brazil 1,751,868(N/A), Japan 1,210,251.
Also, Japan, Canada, Russia, France, Australia, Spain, Germany and Sweden each has an individual country network varying between 1,210,251 and 572,900, while the Russian major highway/expressway is over 30,000km.
“United Kingdom has total network of 394,428 kilometers of which 3,519 kilometers are major highways/expressway but UK geographical area is pretty small with a highly dense and sophisticated railway network”, he stated.
Continuing, Mattawal said serviceability conditions of the African paved networks are questionable with lengths; S/Africa 161868, Nigeria 35900, Ethiopia 25081, Zambia 18958, Mozambique 18067, Cameroun 9802, Rwanda 9383, Benin 7368, B/Faso 7108, Kenya 6314, Tanzania 5727, Chad 5162, Uganda 5000, Madagascar 3952, Niger 3518, Senegal 2392, Ghana 2360, Malawi 2208, Lesotho 641, I/Coast 516 etc. noting that the African figures are very low indeed with poor serviceability.
Making comparison, the emeritus Professor said, USA is No.1 in World, China 2nd, S/African 18th, Nigeria 27th, Congo DRC 34th, Kenya 32nd, Libya 43rd, Ghana 73rd, Ethiopia 96th, Niger 113th, Eritrea 158th, etc.
In his welcome address, the President of the academy, Prof. Rafiu Salawu revealed that the Nigerian Academy of Engineering was incorporated as a private company limited by guarantee in September 1997, for the purpose of promoting excellence in technological and engineering training and practice to ensure the technological growth and economic development of Nigeria, stressing that it is a non-profit and non-governmental organization.