President Bola Tinubu on Tuesday endorsed a request by the Minister of Works for the use of concrete technology in the construction of roads across the country to achieve longer life span for roads and cost effectiveness.
The Minister, Dave Umahi told State House Correspondents after meeting with the President at the Presidential Villa, Abuja that some
contractors were already resisting the initiative which would benefit the country in the long run.
He said many contractors handling Nigerian roads projects, import adulterated and cheap asphalt for the construction of roads, leading short life span.
The minister who said there was no going back on the policy warned those contractors and officials ganging up against this resolve just as he threatened to involve the Independent Corrupt Practices and other offences Commission (ICPC) to probe the activities of any of the errant persons.
He said “I came to Villa to see Mr. president to discuss about road infrastructure I want to thank God because Mr. President approved all my request. And these requests are request that we renew the hopes of Nigerians on our road sector development, the approvals will rejuvenate proper road construction.”
Umahi explained that roads constructed. with concrete, especially in the North-central and the southern parts of the country, endurance better than those done with asphalt.
The minister said experience in the recent past had shown that roads constructed with asphalt fall apart easily in no time making the roads across the country failing round the year.
“Nigerians are witnesses to the failure of Asphalt, especially in the north central part of this country and the entire southern part of this country. And the reason is not far fetched.
“We have a lot of rainfall in this locations. We have very high in underground water. And so Asphalt definitely is a big problem. But if you insist you want to do asphalt that’s not a problem, but the conditions are that you will guarantee Nigerians that when you finish this asphalt road, job, which you are very sure it will not fail within at least 15 years,” he added.
“The design shelf life is 20 years but assure us in writing from a reputable insurance company and from their own company that this road will not fail within 15 years.”
On why roads constructed by asphalt do not last and the gang-up against the new initiative, Umahi said “I learned there is gang up by contractors but there is no going back and Mr. president is ok I’m back in this position.
“We are offering alternative. The alternative is what High Tech is doing in Lagos with Dangote. The alternative is for you to go to Apapa-Oshodi Expressway and see what they are doing on concrete.
“Every day you have over 500 static loads from the wharf loaded on that road, you will not see any crack. No asphalt work, no matter who did it can sustain that.
“So we are saying that concrete is very friendly with water and so we want you contractors to have an alternative. There is a catalyst in the use of concrete pavement. It will create jobs for our people.
“Everything about the construction is local. 10 manufacturers of cement have indicated interests to build cement factories. That is good for our economy. It will reduce pressure on the naira. The road is going to be much more durable. And some people say it’s more expensive. It’s not more expensive. Some people put even three binders on their road construction, I get the roads will fail “ the Minister noted.
He disclosed further that his ministry had engaged the services of consultants who would work with the engineers in the ministry to ensure the delivery of quality roads that could.last for a long period of time.
The minister equally warned those expatriates handling the roads to comply with with the new directives urging them to respect the laws and culture of the country pointing it out that they could not try what they were doing in this country anywhere else in the world.