The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, ordered on Saturday that trailers parking indiscriminately on the Ogere section of the Lagos-Ibadan highway immediately vacate the area to make way for ongoing construction works.
Fashola, who conducted a road inspection from Lagos, gave the directive during a town hall meeting with stakeholders in Ogere, Ogun State, on the Lagos-Ibadan highway.
After hearing presentations from traction rulers, representatives of the three main tribes, civil society, state government officials, contractors and traffic regulatory agencies, Fashola called on trucks to get off the road.
“My call to you (articulated vehicles) is to get off the road today immediately,” he said.
Fashola called on the Ogun state government’s newly formed traffic law working group to enforce the directive, noting that parking on the road was a violation of the country’s traffic laws.
He said truck and trailer operations were business and operators were supposed to provide parking spaces for their fleet, adding that the government’s construction of truck parks was only to help.
He also frowned at abuse by truck drivers dumping diesel and gasoline on the road, causing rapid road degeneration.
He listed the projects financed by the Presidential Intervention Funds to include the Lagos-Ibadan highway, a major artery connecting the Southwest with other regions.
He said the road was important for interconnectivity and ease of doing business, hence the need for cooperation and sacrifice from stakeholders to ensure rapid completion of construction.
He promised the governor of Ogun, Dapo Abiodun, that the problem of burrows causing flooding would be addressed, while the degenerative alternative routes along the construction of the Ikorodu-Sagamu highway would be completed.
Burrows are places where laterites are dug for the construction of roads or buildings.
“The governor and the people of Ogun, we heard you very loud on the Ikorodu-Sagamu highway. The story is the same with Lagos-Ota Road, ”said Fashola.
The minister said the contractors were back at the project site, adding that the Buhari government was determined to complete all ongoing construction despite declining oil revenues reducing the country’s profits.
Fashola, however, admitted that the government owed contractors for the Lagos-Ota highway and other projects.
Julius Berger and RCC, contractors handling sections one and two of the Lagos-Ibadan highway project, took turns giving slideshows on how high traffic volume and new roadside settlements delayed construction.
They said that 400,000 vehicles circulated daily on the road and 3,000 per hour
They also listed their corporate social responsibility programs to their host communities.
Governor Abiodun, in his speech, thanked the Federal Government for the progress of the works, but requested the delivery of some highways to the state government.
He also called on the contractors of the Lagos-Ibadan highway project to adopt the best traffic management options to minimize difficulties, while also calling for greater public awareness to help them understand the project.
He listed the state government’s efforts to speed up construction, which included a tripartite committee with the Lagos state government and the Nigerian Port Authority.
“I must emphasize that we are delighted that the construction of this road is taking place,” he said.
The Lagos State Governor’s Special Advisor on Works and Infrastructure, Ms. Aramide Adeyoye, thanked Fashola “for the tenacity of purpose in the construction of the road”.
Giving a brief history of the slow construction of the road by previous administrations, Adeyoye promised the collaboration of the Lagos state government with those of Ogun and Oyo to accelerate construction.
He said the RV park problem needed to be implemented and could be solved by determining all stakeholders.
“All things considered, we have an infrastructure that will work, as long as we take over,” he said. (YAYA)