Twenty-four hours after his resumption as Minister of the Ministry of Works, Dave Umahi has begun a nationwide site tour to ascertain the status of road works for further action.
Umahi who made the first tour on Abuja Lokoja road with Kogi Governor, Yahaya Bello, directed the contractor handling the Gada Biyu bridge to stop work for shoddy job.
Umahi also inspected the Lokoja Benin highway called on the contractor to meet him in the office for a review on Wednesday, as well as look at the possible challenges faced on the road by the contractors.
The minister said that many of the roads would be redesigned for concrete pavement which can last up to 50 years and provide Nigerian road users as against the experience of the asphalt pavement.
He said he was aware that the report from the public petition was that some roads had been abandoned by the contractors and warned that any contractor who abandons any site to any part of the country would not have its job certificate signed.
He stated that in pursuit of value for money, the remaining portion of the road would be designed for concrete pavement which he said was cheaper for the country and would last longer.
Umahi praised the contractor for the good quality of the road and said he would assist them as much as possible to get good work done.
“What I do not have is patients for bad work. I have been praying to God to help me with that but God has not answered my prayer.”
The minister who inspected the ongoing bridge construction at Section IV of the road said the perennial flood that overflows the bridge should have made the ministry think of a ramp above the flood level so that commuters would not be kept waiting for the overflow to recede before passing.
His words: “This last time there was a flood overflow here, they stayed over one week. You know, from my own assessment, supposing there is emergency medical emergency, food supply, petroleum supply, and I think it was causing a food shortage in Abuja.
“So we should have been able to design this and then use a ramp to raise it in the first place. Believing that tomorrow we do it. And so the contractor is not going to work on this section of the road apart from the bridge that way.
“They should not work on this section of the 1.6 kilometer. Where you have this kind of a flood, you have to raise the road to the highest point and then, you can fly over it, we will embark on that,” Sen. Umahi stated.
Adoza Bello had said the appointment of Umahi is a square peg in a square hole whose depth of knowledge in the structural reality of the roads would add value to road construction in Nigeria while he supervises the ministry.
Earlier in an interaction with contractors, Umahi said that he had come to the ministry to work and explore all technological options that would make Nigerians have and enjoy new roads.
He said he has the mandate of the President to deliver on the road infrastructure in Nigeria and therefore there shall be no sacred cow in pursuit of the project to make Nigerian roads motorable.
The minister who fielded questions from contractors and journalists said he has God and the President as his godfather and therefore, while he is aware that many of the contractors have been recommended by very powerful people, such persons are not as powerful as the God and the President.
He told contractors that he would be interrogating the jobs as he goes out to the field for project inspection.
According to him, “I have the mandate of the president to ensure that road the roads are good for Nigerians to ply”.
He called to on all contractors, especially the big construction companies to embrace concrete pavement for the construction of Nigerian roads as he argued that the technology offers the nation durability of the roads for use.
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