Minister of Works, Dave Umahi, on Tuesday, said during a road trip from Abuja to Benin via Lokoja road, he was moved to tears over the pain Nigerians endure on federal roadsm
Based on his recent nationwide road inspection tour, Umahi stated that no existing federal road can last more than seven years. He highlighted the poor condition of many roads, describing them as filled with potholes and resembling “boreholes”.
Umahi expressed dissatisfaction with the subpar work done by contractors over the years and raised concerns about their use of substandard materials.
Speaking to contractors from the six geo-political zones at the ministry headquarters in Abuja, the former Ebonyi governor criticized contractors for inflating project costs through contract variations and the use of asphalt, which is subject to international crude oil prices.
The Minister also questioned unauthorized additional work undertaken by contractors and stressed the importance of proper authorization and documentation.
While clarifying that contracts would not be signed without the proper verification and due diligence, Umahi emphasized the need for accountability and transparency in the road construction process.
He said, “There is no project being constructed right now in Nigeria that is going to last for seven years.
“The question is are we going to be maintaining or reconstructing our roads every 10 years? That is what we have been doing.
“I travelled from Abuja to Benin City through Lokoja, all the stretches of the road are on contract, and ongoing, this is through the policy of the last administration but how much of the roads are motorable? I travelled through the roads myself and I shed tears for the kind of pains our people are going through.”
“I spent 14 hours on the road having started my journey at 10 am and got to Benin City at 2 pm the next day and I was very happy I experienced the pains.
“President Tinubu said I must travel through all the projects so that I could brief him on my experience and tell him the truth.
“Unless Mr. President does something about our procurement, his lofty intention to help this country may not be achieved. documents will be sent to the Bureau of Public Procurement for a no-objection certificate and it will stay for six months.
“How will the contractors do the additional job you directed them to do without backup authorisation.”