The Minister of Works, Mr Mike Onolememen, on Thursday inaugurated the rehabilitation of llorin-Kabba-Obajana Phase II road which links Kwara and Kogi States.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the project is being executed by the Federal Government at N8.2 billion.
Onolememen said the 80-kilometre road contract was awarded at the Federal Executive Meeting on Nov. 27, 2013 to CGC Nigeria Limited.
He said the road transversed many communities and served as a connector to the north and south.
“The road serves as a major economic artery, providing access to the biggest cement plant in Africa and the nation’s premier steel plant in Ajaokuta.’’
He said the resultant industrial status of the area had led to increase in the number of heavy duty vehicles plying the road, thereby over-stretching the designed pavement and alignment.
“In the past two decades, this important economic artery has been more or less abandoned and the motoring public has witnessed untold hardships moving goods and services.
“The rehabilitation of this road is part of President Goodluck Jonathan’s commitment to making Nigerian roads passable and alleviating the sufferings of the people travelling this largely dilapidated route.
“Therefore, the complete rehabilitation of this road will reduce current travel time, cost of vehicle maintenance and increased socio-economic activities.
“It will thereby contribute to increase in GDP which currently stands at 510 billion dollars’’, Onolememen said.
He said the rehabilitation was expected to be completed within 36 months from Feb. 2013 to Feb. 2017.
Gov. Idris Wada of Kogi commended the Federal Government for embarking on the rehabilitation.
He said his administration made effort to rehabilitate the road but that the cost was beyond what it could handle.
Wada said the growing population and industries in Kogi demanded good road infrastructure especially as it served as route to most parts of Nigeria.
He stressed that travellers from 23 states must go through Kogi to reach their destinations.
“I am glad that this project has become a reality; many lives have been lost on this road. We, the people of Kogi, salute the President for this project and we are grateful.
“This road was constructed by the Federal Government in 1976, about 38 years ago, and was rehabilitated 16 years ago and since then the road has not been touched.’’
Wada said the state had undertaken the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Federal Government roads worth N14billion.
“We urgently need refund in order to facilitate the development of other roads.
“I know other states have done the same and awaiting their money too but for Kogi, it is special and desperately needs attention.’’
He urged the contractors to do a good job and finish in time while assuring them of his support.
Wada said he would personally monitor the project to ensure that a perfect work was done.
Sen. Smart Adeyemi, Chairman, Senate Committee on FCT, commended the President for the kind gesture to Kogi, saying that the rehabilitation of the road would restore economic activities in the state. Adeyemi also urged the federal government to facilitate the completion of Omi Dam project as hydro power station, urging the Kogi government to provide the needed security for the contractors.
The Obaro of Kabba, Oba Michael Olobayo, also commended the federal government for the initiative and expressed optimism that the road would be completed in time and not abandoned. He said his people would do their best to ensure environment conducive for the contractors.