Federal Ministry of Works and Housing (FMWH) Federal Republic of Nigeria
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The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, Wednesday began the defense of the budget proposals for his Ministry in the 2021 Budget with the assertion that focus would be on  the completion of priority road projects, especially those on the routes A1-A9.

The routes, which are those leading to ports and major agricultural hubs across the six geopolitical zones, Fashola said, include 18 road and bridge projects which have already attained some appreciable physical achievements for completion within a 12-15 months period (December 2021).

Making his presentation, which encompassed the defense of the Ministry’s 2020 Budget Performance and 2021 Budget Proposals, before the Senate Committee on Works, the Minister, who said focus would also be on roads that have attained 70 per cent completion to enable such projects achieve substantial completion levels, added that the Ministry has also taken the maintenance of bridges as a priority “to avoid further deterioration of these critical structures”.

He told the Committee Members, “What you will see of these roads, which crisscross our country from East to West and from North to South, is that they connect most of the important sectors of our economy. They connect our fuel depots so that we can move our fuel, they connect our manufacturing agro-industries so that we can get agricultural goods from farm to market for processing, they connect our ports so that we can do export and import business”.

Saying that 18 of such roads had been identified by his Ministry, Fashola, who said the projects cut across the six geopolitical zones of the country declared, “If you accept our proposals, we should finish them between 12 and 15 months and take them of our list”, adding that on a graduating basis they were at different stages of completion.

Listing some of the Bridges to include the Third Mainland Bridge with an Average Daily Traffic of 122,978, the Bodo Bonny Bridge, the Koton Karfe Bridge and the Makurdi Bridge among others, the Minister, who said they were part of about 50 Bridges being rehabilitated simultaneously among others, added that some of the bridges require replacement of expansion joints and hand rails while others require major underwater repairs of exposed piles, pile caps and piers.

He said the Ministry also intends to complete the construction of Chanchangi Bridge along Takum-Wukari Road and Ikom Bridge along Calabar-Ikom Road within available fund allocated to it adding that provisions had been made to ensure that the rehabilitation of the listed bridges was not hindered during the budget year.

Fashola, who solicited the support of the law makers “to achieve these national objectives” , pointed out that in the course of each year there was need to address washouts and erosion envisaged  with the subsiding discharge of floodwaters nationwide.

“We are mindful of the limitation of resources but the frequency of these natural disasters caused by climate change and aging infrastructure must compel us to think of making provisions for emergencies”, the Minister said adding that Best Practice was between 5-10 percent of the Capital Budget.

He said the Ministry has also selected two roads and a bridge in each of the six geopolitical zones as target projects for enhanced funding in the 2021 Budget to achieve appreciable progress on the projects adding that also targeted for adequate funding is the Federal Government of Nigeria Counterpart Fund for the projects financed by the China Exim Bank.

On the interventions which the Ministry made between 2018 and 2019 on roads in tertiary institutions, the Minister, who noted that 18 out of a total of 43 such projects nationwide have been completed, however, added that the amendment in the 2020 Budget which cut the budget by about 17.35 percent, made it impossible to pay Contractors who have completed their projects as well as to complete the remaining projects, putting the amount owed the contractors at N3.4 billion while the amount needed to complete the rest stands at N3.54 billion.

Calling for a review of regulations guiding the release of funds allocated for the execution of projects, Fashola who blamed the delay in funds release for the slow pace being experienced in the completion of the various projects, said most of the contractors were being owed significant amounts for completed projects adding that most of those still working on sites were doing so on trust.

“The major challenge to the Ministry’s efforts towards the timely completion of projects is inadequate budgetary provision and releases for projects to sustain annual cash-flow requirement levels”, the Minister said adding that although the additional funding from the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF), the SUKUK Bond and the Tax Credit Scheme had been helpful in bringing some form of relief, “the Ministry’s exposure continues to expand as the roads age and deteriorate and require attention”.

He said although the total sum of N276.244 billion provided for Highway projects in the 2021 Budget was an improvement over the N154.2 billion allocated to the sector in the 2020 Budget, it was still inadequate to address the funding challenges of highway projects where, according to him, the year 2021 project cash flow requirement was estimated at about N1.2 Trillion.

Expatiating on the expansion of the exposure of the Ministry, Fashola, who again called for a halt to the introduction of new projects while old ones were yet to be completed, pointed out that various demands for new projects were still being made adding that currently and in spite of the dearth of resources, the Ministry was contending with 711 uncompleted projects, up from 601 last year.

The Minister, who commended the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed for her committed efforts to source funds for the execution of capital projects, said in order to enable the Ministry make a significant impact in the improvement of the Federal road network “so as to boost economic activities and create more jobs”, it was imperative to improve the funding of highway projects by enhancing the release of funds for projects under the Amended 2020 Budget to defray the outstanding payments.

He said there was also a need to enhance the budget ceiling for Highway projects in the 2021 Budget proposal to cover the execution of works during the year and leverage on other alternative funding sources like the SUKUK Bond and the PIDF.

During the question and answer session, some Committee members, including the Chairman, Senator Adamu Aliero, commended the Minister and his team for the good works and the impacts they have made in project execution across the country.

On the question of equity in the allocation of funds to projects which some of the members raised, Fashola clarified that some of the projects which seemingly had low allocations compared to others were being funded by other sources of funding like the SUKUK while the one with seeming high allocation was funded through China Exim Bank with Nigeria contributing a small percentage as Counterpart Fund.

Earlier in his Welcome remarks, Chairman of the Committee, Senator Adamu Aliero, said the Senate Committee was focusing on the Infrastructure based on the emphasis laid on that sector by President Muhammadu Buhari during his 2021 Budget Presentation adding that although allocation to the Ministry of works remained one of the highest, it was still not enough to address the challenges of infrastructure development in the country especially the road network.

Some Committee members present included, Senator Gabriel Suswan, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, Senator Kashim Shettima and Senator Kabiru Gaya, among other distinguished Senators while the Minister was accompanied by the Minister of State, Engr. Abubakar Aliyu, the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Ernest Umakhihe and Directors from the Ministry.

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After concluding urgently needed repair works on Eko and Marine Bridges in Lagos, the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, has directed that both bridges be reopened to traffic on Monday, October 19, 2020.

The approval for the reopening of the completed First Phase of the repairs on the Bridges by midnight on Sunday 18th of October, which was given by the Minister on Friday was sequel to the report by the Contractor handling the projects, Messrs. Buildwell Plant & Equipment Industries Limited that the repair works on the First Phase had been completed 100 percent.

In his directives for the reopening of the Bridges, Fashola thanked Lagosians for their patience, understanding and cooperation while sections of the Bridges were closed also directed that members of the public should be informed of any restrictions to traffic while work is ongoing on the Second Phase of the project.

The Minister added that while the completed section of the Eko Bridge (Lagos Island Bound) should be reopened to traffic, work should commence immediately on the Alaka Bound side of the project.

Explaining further on the next phase of repair works on the Bridges, the Director Highways (Bridges & Designs) in the Ministry, Engr. Emmanuel Adeoye, said work was taking off without the need for either partial or complete closure of the Bridges, adding, however , that the public would be informed adequately should such a step become necessary.

The 1,350 metre Eko Bridge, built in phases between 1965 and 1975, links the Lagos Island to the Mainland. It was closed to traffic in March this year in order to replace faulty joints and bearings. But, as a result of COVID-19 lockdown, actual repair works commenced in the first week of June.

Work commenced in May on the first of the three phases in which repair works on the Marine Bridge was divided. The repairs on the Bridge, which is part of a network of complex bridges with several loops taking traffic in and out of the Apapa area of Lagos, included jacketing and skin repairs of the piers, lifting the bridge section deck in order to change the electrometric bearing, milling and placing a new wearing course of asphalt among others.

The repair works on the Eko and Marine Bridges is part of the ongoing Federal Government’s Bridge Maintenance Programme which involves the repairs and rehabilitation of over 37 bridges nationwide with a substantial number already completed while others are at different stages of completion.

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The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has identified housing development as a veritable tool to eradicate poverty among Nigerians.

This was revealed by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo who was represented by the Minister of State for Works and Housing, Engr. Abubakar Aliyu, FNSE while declaring open this year’s National House Fair 4.0 at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.

Acknowledging the aptness of this year’s theme, “Gateway to better life: Affordable housing solutions,” to Nigeria’s housing journey, the Vice President disclosed, “President Muhammadu Buhari is determined to uplift 100 million Nigerians from poverty in the next 10 years and housing has been identified as a major tool for its realization due to its multiplier effect.”

Prof. Osinbanjo noted that in line with the Federal Government Sustainability Plan, the Central Bank of Nigeria has approved the sum of N200 billion for 300,000 households to enable Family Homes Funds Limited (FHFL) finance the construction of social housing units for low-income earners.

In addition, he disclosed that the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing had unveiled a programme titled “Affordable Housing Development and Management Initiative" (AHDMI).  According to the Vice President the programme was designed for the purpose of reducing the housing deficit through collaboration with public and private   entities by creating a robust housing management of public buildings, hostel accommodation, redeployment of unoccupied houses for either rental or rent –to- own initiative, urban renewal/regeneration and community upgrading.

Prof. Osinbanjo further revealed the pilot project of the Affordable Housing Development and Management Initiative (AHDMI) would commence in October, 2020 in Gwagwalada with the construction of 2500 mixed housing units under the Public- Private Partnership (involving Family Housing Funds Limited, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria and private developers.

Reminding the States and Local Governments that they are the custodians of Land in the country due to the Land Use Act, he appealed to state governments to reduce the bottlenecks associated with the issuance of Certificate of Occupancy (C-of – O) and quicken same because government has identified it as a tool for stimulating the economy.

In his words, “As a Government, we have identified “Land Titling” as a rapid tool for economic development as it creates basis for land taxation, access to credit, increased market value and investment stimulation amongst others. I therefore wish to appeal to the State Governments to ease-up and quicken the process of the issuance of Certificate –of –Occupancy (C-of O) and other title documents as this is a sure way of stimulating economic activities and improve the lives of the citizenry and lift them out of poverty."

The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, in his remarks called on the Federal Government to make policies that would enhance the provision of affordable housing for Nigerians, noting that national development could only be possible when basic needs are given to humanity.

Oba Ogunwusi enjoined traditional rulers in the country to work very closely with   government and the private sector in the development and provision of affordable housing for the citizenry, adding that by their status they are natural custodians of land and therefore relevant in the development of their communities through the provision of affordable housing for their citizens.

The event was organised by Bstan Group. It is a group of companies headed by Engr. Becky Olubukola. Bstan group has various departments of housing development which includes: construction, mortgage and cooperatives as w
ell as homes and properties. The House Fair has become a yearly event since 2017.

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The Federal Ministry of Works and Housing (FMW&H) is aware of the condition of the road and committed to repairs of the damaged portion.

The portion had been adequately assessed, redesigned and procurement process completed as an additional work to the subsisting contract for the rehabilitation of the road and FEC has approved.

The bad portion which is about 11km sits on clay soil called black cotton soil which cannot support traffic. The removal and replacement of this black cotton soil was not part of the original contract, but approval has been given by FEC to augment the contract to include the removal of the black cotton soil and replacement with stones and laterite.

However, the contractor cannot embark on the removal of this clay until after the raining season. In the interim, the contractor is carrying out palliative works to keep the road motorable. The contractor is on site working even now.

The contract awarded involves massive excavation of the soil and replacement with stones to make the road last long. We therefore appeal for patience and understanding of the citizens and other road users. Full re construction of the bad section on the road will commence as soon as the rains subsides.

It needs no restating that President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to alleviating the pains of Nigerians wherever they reside.

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He made the statement at the virtual commemoration of the 2020 World Habitat Day (WHD) celebration held on Monday at the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja with the theme:” Housing for all: A better Urban Future.”

Mr. Fashola acknowledged the adverse effect the Coronavirus pandemic had made on an already difficult situation, but he reeled out activities set out to improve access to affordable housing, mobility, sanitation, jobs and socio-economic opportunities despite the challenges posed by the pandemic.

He said the approach for implementing this was multifaceted “from house refurbishment loans to mortgages with reduced service conditions, direct housing construction, improved speed of titling and Issuance of documents with plans underway to unlock unused properties as well as accelerate advocacy for reduced rent demands”.

He also emphasized that a people-centred approach was key to addressing housing issues which would be the basis for character shape and socio-economic vibrancy of cities, as it is in all the urban centres around the world.

The Honourable Minister said the Federal Government was committed to delivering “Housing that is obtainable, healthy, inclusive and adequate, safe and affordable as this was the key to sustainable and transformation of societies and communities.”

He further disclosed that to relieve citizens from economic challenges,  President Muhammadu Buhari has initiated the development of an Economic Sustainability Plan of 2.3 Trillion naira to improve payroll support, Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Collateral Fund, Loan re-strengthening for businesses, industries support and agricultural support to mention but a few.

He gave assurances of his obligation to the realisation of the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan and hoped to strengthen partnership with the private sector and other government agencies at all levels to effectively deliver on the mandate.

Speaking earlier the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Mr. Ernest Umakhihe in his welcome address said the World Habitat Day was established in 1985 by the United Nations General Assembly through Resolution 40/202 of 17th December, 1985 and was first celebrated in 1986.

He said first Monday of every October was recognised as World Habitat Day, a day set aside to focus on the state of human settlements and the basic rights for all for adequate shelter and to remind all that we are responsible for the habitat of the present and future generations.

Mr. Umakhihe said the celebration would wrap up with the observance of the World Cities Day on 31st of October 2020 with the Focal Theme: Better Cities, Better Life and a Sub-Theme:  Valuing Our Communities and Cities. The central celebration was going on in Surabaya, Indonesia, he added.

He was certain that during the dialogue session, the well selected resource persons would deal extensively on affordable housing delivery and urban development as economic revival strategies in the COVID19 era in Nigeria, initiate innovative and transformative actions to seek pragmatic solutions to overcome them. He was optimistic that we could build a better life and a better future for all Nigerians.

The high points were the different presentations on:Towards A Sustainable Housing Delivery:Optimizing The Opportunities; Providing Affordable Housing In Cities; The Role Of Partnerships, Advocacy And Community Mobilization; And Financing Options For Affordable Housing Delivery In Africaamong others.

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The Minister of Works and Housing Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN has said that the Federal Government would support infrastructure development of Niger State as articulated by the State Government because of the state’s economic activities and its strategic North-South connectivity.

The Minister stated this when the Chairman of the Niger State Council of Traditional Rulers led by His Royal Highness, Dr. Yahaya Abubakar, CFR, the Etsu Nupe paid him a courtesy visit in his office.

Speaking on the importance of Niger State to the nation, the Minister stated that amongst the nine areas of commitment of the Buhari led administration as announced during the recent Presidential Retreat in Abuja, fuel supply and power supply were strategic areas related to Niger State.

Continuing, he said that apart from the fact that the state is well known for its commerce, it also hostedone of the nation’s hydro power plants. “We cannot therefore achieve anything if we do not support the development of Niger State as articulated by the governor,” he stated.

Fashola stated that there are fifteen projects in Niger State inclusive of construction and rehabilitation of road and bridge projects pointing out that most of the roads that pass through the states are A1 roads.

He promised to expedite works on the projects adding: “We are mindful of the important role Niger Statehas to play in national development and Mr. President is determined to continue to invest in infrastructure development like roads and bridges across the country.”

Earlier, the Chairman, Niger State Council of Rulers and the Etsu Nupe,His Royal Highness, Dr. Yahaya Abubakar, CFR said that the purpose of their visit was to thank the Federal Government for on-going notable road projects in Niger State.

He said some of the projects, which included the award of the dualisation of Mokwa bypass when completed, would be a great achievement as it would relieve the people in Mokwa town from traffic hardship.

Speaking in the same vein, he said that the award of Bida Nupeko, Sachi, Patigi road when completed would be of a great relief to the Nupe kingdom in Niger and Kwara States.

While calling  on the Federal Government to complete all the awarded projects in the state, the Monarch appealed to Federal Government to look into the dilapidated Lambata, Lapai, Agaie, Bida roads which are major links between the North Central, the South West Region and the country at large.

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* Directs Ministries of Petroleum Resources, Mines and Steel to develop strategies to enhance, stimulate, and encourage local production
* Fashola calls on entrepreneurs to tap into the production of bitumen locally as he presents Memorandum on  Initiative to FEC
* “We see a demand of 500,000 metric tonnes of bitumen locally per annum,” he says
* Local production is also expected to generate no less than 30, 000 jobs for the unemployed in the country

Local and foreign investors with focus on the immense opportunities in the production of Bitumen in the country have received further boost with the Federal Government approval of investment by manufacturers, in the local production of bitumen and other construction materials that are being imported currently for construction of roads across the country.

The Federal Executive Council (FEC), which gave the approvals sequel to a memorandum presented to it by the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, also directed the Ministries of Petroleum Resources and Mines and Steel to develop strategies to enhance, stimulate and encourage local production.

The memo, which originated from an initiative of President Muhammadu Buhari, who had made inquiry about the sources of the major components in Road Construction and the possibility of producing them locally, will boost job creation and preserve foreign exchange.

In the Policy Memorandum titled “Approval For The Local Production Of Bitumen And Other Construction Materials In Nigeria”, Fashola, who drew the attention of Council to the fact that bitumen and other major road construction materials were currently being imported, submitted that when produced locally bitumen was expected to be sold at about N125, 000 per metric tonne, which, according to him, is 48. 8 per cent of the cost of the imported one which stands at N285, 000.

Also, according to him, in terms of job creation, producing bitumen locally would, aside reducing the cost of road construction significantly and other benefits earlier mentioned, would also generate no less than 30, 000 jobs for the unemployed in the country.

The Minister informed the Council that the Policy Memo which, was meant to stimulate local production of bitumen as a component of road construction, was an initiative of President Muhammadu Buhari, adding that the President has accordingly challenged the Kaduna Refinery and Petrochemical Company to key into the policy by collaborating with related agencies of government to realize the goal.

Noting that, in buying bitumen at such reduced price, the nation would be saving 56.2 per cent of the cost of importation, the Minister also argued that aside boosting the nation’s construction capacity, the local manufacture would also create thousands of jobs for Nigerians adding that the product, which he described as “a low grade crude oil which is either extracted from the ground or gotten as a by-product of refined crude oil”, has an estimated 38 billion barrels of reserve and extra heavy oils that have remained untapped for years across the country but especially in Ondo, Lagos and Edo States.

Also drawing the attention of Council to the fact that the Kaduna Refinery and Petrochemical Company (KRPC) is the only refinery in the country that has the capacity to produce bitumen deposits, Fashola pointed out that with current installed capacity of 1, 796 metric tonnes per day, well above the present annual local consumption which, according to him, stands at 500, 000 metric tonnes, the company could produce bitumen to satisfy the nation’s requirement and even for export, adding, however, that to achieve that the company has to function at full capacity.

Some of the advantages derivable from the local production of bitumen and other construction materials, the Minister said, also include the diversification of the nation’s economy, improvement in technological growth, establishment of contracts vital for international cooperation in the new expanding technology and socio-economic impact on the areas of operation, among others.

According to him, local production would also help to maintain quality control on production through the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) and related Consumer Protection Agencies to ensure that the right quality of bitumen is produced for use by the construction companies while also ensuring further diversification of the nation’s economy.

Assuring investors wishing to invest in the local production of bitumen of government patronage and encouragement, Fashola said local production would also free the foreign exchange currently being expended on the importation of the commodity for other socio-economic needs of the country.

“It will preserve local jobs and also create thousands more that are currently being created in countries from where we import the commodity”, the Minister said adding that the envisaged employment boost, especially in transportation haulage was in line with the President’s projection of lifting 100 million Nigerians from poverty’ and his mandate, “to use what we produce and produce what we need”.

In order to implement the initiative, he recommended that the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Kaduna Refinery and Petrochemical Company should come up with strategies and requirements that would enable the KRPC to resume the production of bitumen at its plant.

Assuring the Council that President Buhari has directed the reconstitution of the Bitumen Committee for auctioning of the Bitumen Blocks while the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA).is also engaged in exploration of more blocks, the Minister informed Council with delight that upon reviewing the Memorandum, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development had already given his “No Objection” to the position of the Ministry of Works and Housing on the need for local production of bitumen to reduce cost of road construction.

Aside bitumen, Fashola also sought the improved local production of other essential road construction materials such as cement, crushed rock and steel explaining that while cement constitutes the major component of reinforced concrete utilized in the construction of bridges, drains, culverts and rigid pavement, crushed rock is used as the base course to give road pavement the desired load bearing strength while steel is utilized as reinforcements in the construction of drains, culverts, bridges and other hydraulic structures on roads.

In inviting the Council to approve the Memorandum, the Minister noted that there was need to encourage local production of essential construction materials in the country to reduce the cost of road construction, create employment and stimulate growth adding that the spiral increase in the cost of construction materials over the years has resulted in the rise of road construction cost and led to repeated requests for augmentation of ongoing contract sums.

He said while efforts were on to revamp the Ajaokuta Steel Complex to achieve full local production, the required quantity of bitumen for construction of roads across the country are being imported because the Kaduna Refinery and Petrochemical Company had stopped the production of bitumen since 2017 adding that road construction utilizes major part of the average 500, 000 metric tonnes of the product made locally when it was still in production.

Stressing the importance of bitumen in road construction, Fashola declared, “Bitumen is used at almost all levels of road construction, from sub grade, sub base, base course and asphaltic course (Binder and Wearing)”, reiterating that the lack of the product contributes significantly to the high cost of road projects in the country.

Speaking to newsmen later on the approvals, Fashola, who also disclosed government’s intention “to give encouragement and support to all those who take up the opportunity of manufacturing bitumen”, said the Kaduna Refinery and Petrochemical Company was expected to also raise its game by participating in the production sub-sector of hydro-carbon industry, adding, “We expect that it will improve the quality of bitumen that is produced and goes into our road construction just as we are now able to control the quality of cement that goes into local construction”.

“We are also promoting the use of more cement, stones, and rocks in road construction”, the Minister said adding that his Ministry was now developing a design manual of rock and stone used in road construction in the country which, according to him, formed the framework of the policy documentations that he presented to Council and which were approved.

“So, we expect the Nigerian entrepreneurial community to now respond to all of the existing government policies for setting up businesses and embracing this policy as part of ways to develop our made-in-Nigeria capacity”, Fashola said.


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The new executive management team of the FHA has Senator Olugbenga Ashafa as Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer while Honourable Abdulmumuni Jibril is Executive Director, Business Development and Mr. Maurice Ekpeyong is Executive Director, Housing Finance and Corporate Services.

While congratulating the management team for the confidence reposed on them by the President, the Minister expressed the hope that the trust and confidence would be well kept in the discharge of their duties.

Fashola said, “Mr. President has chosen well because the team members have the requisite skill and experience needed to move the FHA forward”.

The Minister who took time to analyse the positive qualities of the appointees, stated that the combined effort of the trio would form a strong team that would actualize the aim of the current administration of providing affordable houses which is being addressed in various fronts.

While explaining that the Act establishing the FHA sets out clear responsibilities for the organisation, he urged the management team to work assiduously to ensure that the challenge of housing gaps in Nigeria is addressed.

Accordingly, the Minister pointed out that, through the Federal Government Housing projects, people are empowered at the grassroots by way of strategic and planned maintenance. He also urged the management team to commit to developing new estates in urban centers in order to address the housing needs which are greater in urban centers.

The Minister also assured the management team of the Ministry’s readiness to give them the necessary support to ensure their success, adding that the ministry would not meddle in their affairs unnecessarily.

“We don’t interfere on what Parastatals do but we will intervene if we see you veering off”, he said.

In a goodwill message, Senator Sam Egwu, Chairman Senate Committee on Housing enjoined the members to work as a team so as to realize their mandate while assuring them of support by the National Assembly.

Responding on behalf of the Management team, the new MD/CEO of FHA Senator Bareehu Olugbenga Ashafa expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for the trust and confidence reposed on them by the appointment. He pledged his team’s unalloyed support and commitment towards providing affordable houses for Nigerians.

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The Honourable Minister of Works and Housing Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN has described the commitment of the Buhari led Administration to Infrastructure development as monumental and unprecedented. The Minister made this description while responding to questions on Radio Nigeria phone-in programme “Have your say” this morning.

Fashola hinged his commendation on the Infrastructural transformation work being implemented in the various sectors of the economy such as works and Housing, Transportation, Digital communication and economy, adding that if
these were done in the past, the situation of the economy of the country would not have been as bad as it is now.

While responding to the question on why many Federal roads were still in bad condition and why it was taking time to be completed, Fashola attributed it to procurement process, limited resources and the process of road construction.
Citing an example of the Abuja - Lokoja road, he said the road which is about 300kilometre long was being expanded from 2 lanes to 4 lanes, which means that the entire work on that road is about 1200 kilometres.

He added that a section of the road had been completed remaining only the section from Kotonkarfe to Lokoja, “some section have been completed, what is remaining is from Koton Karfe to Lokoja, which we are trying to finish”, he said.

Fashola mentioned Lagos -Ibadan, Enugu –Port Harcout, Kano –Maiduguri, Ekpoma –lokoja roads among those that have been partially completed. The Minister said most of the roads were being reconstructed as some of them
were impassable before now, citing Benin- Ore - Shagamu, Enugu –Port Harcourt roads. He urged Nigerians to be patient with the government considering the fact that these bad roads which were left undone by the previous administration when oil was selling at $140 per barrel are now being reconstructed and rehabilitated by the Buhari Administration at a time that oil price per barrel is less than 50 dollars.

The Minister who disclosed the plan to finish 22 roads between 2020 and 2022 explained that the Federal Government was currently concentrating on Federal roads which are interconnecting states. “Our roads are those that connect state
to state. We are focusing on them, it is when we have done these key roads that we will concentrate on others”, he said.

On the housing sector, The Minister who was asked why some houses that had been completed by the Federal Government were yet to be allocated, said, “Some of the houses have been completed but there is still a lot to be done. In
some cases we have not finished electrical connection to public power, we have not finished internal road work, there have been cases of theft and pilfering and we are doing replacement”.

Fashola revealed that a digital framework was been worked out to ensure that application is done online to avoid undue influence from anyone. He also said that Federal Government was considering giving some allocations to State
Governments for onward allocation to their indigenes since the States donated the land.

He called on State Government and the Private sector to complement the effort of the Federal Government in the provision of houses to the people in overcoming the housing deficit.

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The Minister of Works and Housing Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN has said that the focus of the 2021 Budget Proposal of the Ministry remains the completion of priority road projects in the country.

The Minister who stated this during the Presentation and Defence of the Ministry’s 2021 Budget before the Senate Committee on Works said that given the wide disparity between the Ministry’s liabilities in unpaid certificates and the volume of road projects, it has become imperative for the Ministry to prioritize its 2021 Capital proposal in order to make appreciable impact in road infrastructure development.

He said that Ministry was currently undertaking a total of 711 Highway Projects spread over the Six Geo-Political Zones of the country. The 711 on-going road projects were categorized according to funding mechanisms which included; Highway Projects financed with Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF), Highway Projects financed with Sovereign Sukuk Fund, Highway Projects financed under Tax Credit and Highway Projects funded from Multilateral.

Speaking on Highway Projects financed with the Sovereign Sukuk Fund, he explained that the Ministry was financing a total of 44 roads and bridges across the country using the 2020 Sovereign Sukuk issuance. He added that the roads were mainly dual carriageways on the major arterial routes A1 to A9 on the Federal road networks.

On the 2021 Budget proposal, he said that the focus of the Ministry remained the completion of some priority road projects especially those on routes A1 to A9 saying that these roads and bridges lead to ports and major agricultural hubs across the six Geo-Political Zones of the country.

In furtherance to this, he said Mr. President has repeatedly emphasized the need to focus budget on completion of projects. “Therefore, the Ministry has given priority first to about 18 road and bridge projects that have attained some appreciable level of completion. We are focusing on roads that have attained 70 percent completion levels,” he said.

Fashola appealed to members of the National Assembly and other well-meaning Nigerians to build a national consensus as adults to stop the agitation for new road projects but to agree on completion of ongoing road projects that cut across the six Geo-political zones of the country due to budgetary constraints.

On the impact the proposed 2021 budget would have on the economy and its citizenry, he said: “In order to enable the Ministry make a significant impact in the improvement of the Federal road networks to boost economic activities and create jobs, it is imperative to improve the funding of Highway Projects by releasing funds for the projects under the Amended 2020 Budget to defray the outstanding payments,” he said.

He also appealed that budget ceiling for Highway Projects in the 2021 Budget proposal be made to cover the execution of works during the year as well as leveraging on other alternative funding sources like the  Sukuk Bond and the PIDF.

Earlier, in his opening remarks, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Works, Senator Adamu Aliero stated that although budgetary allocation to the Ministry remained one of the highest, but was not enough looking at the humongous work to be done on the nation’s roads and the current debt profile of the Ministry.

The Chairman assured the Minister that the Committee would continue to work with the Ministry to ensure that it succeeds.  “The Committee is poised to work in line with the principles of the 2021 Budget. We will strengthen the outcome of our oversight duties,” he said.

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The Minister was speaking as a Special Guest of Honour at the 18th International Conference and Annual General Meeting, (AGM) , of the Nigerian Institution of Civil Engineers (NICE), which was held in Abuja, with the theme “ Reform of Engineering Education: A Strategy for Sustainable Development in Nigeria.

In his reaction to the theme of the Conference, he said “… it is only fair that we focus on quality engineering education in order to ensure the delivery of world class infrastructure to better the lives of our citizens”

Engr. Aliyu also explained that, it is only through a better adoption and adaption of Engineering that we can share in the good life that it offers in other climes, and this he said can solely be achieved through quality Engineering education

Accordingly, the Minister noted that Sub-Saharan Africa seriously lacks engineering capacity and relies heavily on imported expertise, which he said was attributable to insufficient output from training institutions, poor- quality education, and lack of practical experience among graduates.

He said that according to UNESCO landmark report on Issues, Challenges, and Development Opportunities, Nigeria produces 3,500 engineers a year, a modest number relative to its population, but suffers significant unemployment among them because of the lack of the requisite training.

However, the Minister assured the delegates that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, in line with its change mantra, is committed to development of the engineering profession considering its critical role in bringing about sustained economic growth.

He added that this administration has heavily invested on Research and Development generally and particularly on engineering education, however only modest achievement was made due to challenges that are huge but not insurmountable.

He also pointed out that synergy and harmonization of programmes, cooperation and collaboration can link Nigerian engineers’ consultancy services to global practices and marketing frameworks

Earlier, in a welcome address, the National Chairman of the Nigerian Institution of Civil Engineers (NICE), Engineer, Mrs Aishatu Aliyu Umar stated that the annual Conference which is the second in her tenure is exceptional to Civil engineers who gathered from different sectors of the economy to deliberate on the sustainable ways to enhance the profession.

She added that the conference is also an opportunity for the engineers to individually analyse their performance, asses impact and restrategise on ways to practice the profession for sustainable development of the nation

Engineer Umar described the 2020 theme as well thought out considering the fact that the World is being reshaped for better technological advancement and Nigeria cannot continue to be left behind.

While delivering an opening address, the President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, (NSE), who was also the Chairman of the occasion, Engineer Babagana Muhammed described the annual conference and AGM as a gathering of professional engineers for the advancement of engineering practice in Nigeria in line with the global best practice.

Engineer Muhammed urged engineers to talk to stakeholders in their respective states on the water bill so as to give it the necessary support that will be in the interest of the people. He charged Nigerians who have the wherewithal to give back to society especially those that enjoyed free education.

Among the dignitaries that graced the occasion were: Engineer Umaru Bago Tafida, the Emir of Lapai and Royal Father of the day, Engineer Alimasuya  Rabiu, President of COREN, Michael Jiang Yigao, Chairman/MD CCECC, Engineer Chris Okoye, Chairman/Principal Consultant CCGE Ltd

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The assurance was given by the Director of Highways and Bridges in the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Engineer Emmanuel Adetunji Adeoye who was at the site to access the progress of work on the bridge. The Director said, “ Before the rains came, around May and June they did a lot of under water works and at that time the public was not noticing.”

“Because the water has come up now and they cannot really do much of the underwater works, that’s why they are doing the surface work that everyone is seeing but when we get towards November and December they will go on to continue the underwater works”. Looking at the time and the work they have done so far, I believe they are still within the schedule.”

Engineer Adeoye added that although the contract was awarded on the 10th of March, 2020 but due to the Covid 19 pandemic, work commenced on the 11th of May, 2020 and the work is expected to be completed by 10th May, 2022.

He appealed to the public to show understanding and be patient as government was committed to the repair of the bridge. The Director said, “My appeal to road users is they should be patient and know that government is committed to the repair of the bridge.” He advised people to follow the instructions of the security personnel on ground so as to enjoy free flow of traffic.

The representative of the Contractor Engineer Ebenezer Princewill said the company, Hallekem Limited was prepared to deliver the contract within schedule as long as funds were provided. On local content he said available local materials were being used while most of the workers were from within the area.

He said, “In this community we are training people on the project. We are also empowering the youths and have employed about thirty Nigerians for the job.”

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The new Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Ernest Afolabi Umakhihe has promised to actualize President Muhammadu Buhari’s Next Level Agenda. The Permanent Secretary made the promise during the formal handing and taking over ceremony of the affairs of the Ministry between him and the Director Overseeing the Office of the Permanent Secretary, Engr.Yemi Oguntominiyi.

The Permanent Secretary said “Mine is to make sure I am able to mobilize all of us to work in achieving the mandate of Mr. President’s Next Level Agenda and of course our Honourable Minister and I promise you, we will all work as a team.”
Umakhihe who noted the enormity of work in the Ministry assured all that he was poised to take up the responsibility. He said “I want to thank you for this reception to the Ministry of Works and Housing where I am told that there is a lot of work.”

“Like the Minister told me yesterday, when he said I had joined a moving train, I told him no matter how fast that train is, I will make sure I am able to log onto it and then within a short time I will be fully on board and even join the Driver.”
Umakhihe called for openness and transparency in official dealings. “ I am open and transparent in all my work and I do hope you will extend same to me in the course of our duties,” he said.

Earlier,  the Director who was Overseeing the Permanent Secretary’s  Office, Engineer Yemi Oguntominiyi and who is the Director Highway Construction and Rehabilitation of the Ministry, expressed happiness and confidence that the new Permanent Secretary would move the Ministry to greater heights due to his robust experience having  served in similar capacity  in other Federal Government establishments .

He said,“Permit me to first of all welcome our new Permanent Secretary who has served in no less important ministries, with a rich pedigree and requisite experience to man the affairs of this ministry, he is undoubtedly suitable for the new assignment.”

Oguntominiyi who described the staff of the Ministry as competent, diligent and experienced assured the Permanent Secretary of the unalloyed support and loyalty of management and staff of the Ministry. He thanked his colleagues and the entire staff for the spirit of comradeship and cooperation extended to him while overseeing the office of the Permanent Secretary.

Born on the 5th of April, 1964, Umakhihe is a professional accountant of high repute and a core technocrat. He has plied his trade in the public service for years; served in the office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning and Office of the Head of Service of the Federation.

The occasion was attended by Directors and Heads of Units of the Ministry.

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The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN said the construction of the Loko-Oweto Bridge across River Benue has offered shorter route for travellers , reduced travel hours to its barest minimum and facilitated redistribution of wealth in the local communities.

Fashola made the remark on the bridge during an inspection tour to the project with his counterparts from ministries of Informational and Culture,Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Relations, Senator  George Akume.

The Loko-Oweto Bridge Mr. Fashola said “Provides a shorter route cutting off about four to five hours. For someone coming from Cross River to Abuja by road, ordinarily will have to go from Calabar to Ikom, Ogoja to Katsina-Ala and then join Markudi, come through Lafia then Keffi and Akwanga into Abuja; but now you have a bifurcation through Oweto to Nasarawa."

Apart from the Loko-Oweto bridge project, Fashola said work was going on at the 2nd Niger Bridge, the Ikom Bridge   and 37 other bridges across Nigeria were being constructed, repaired or rehabilitated by  his Ministry.

According to the Minister of Works and Housing some of the bridges being constructed, rehabilitated and repaired were: the 3rd Mainland Bridge in Lagos, the Murtala Mohammed Bridge in Koton Karfi and the Isaac Boro Bridge in Port Harcourt.

Others were Chanchangi Bridge in Niger state, linking Niger and Ilorin and the Tambuwara Bridge in Kano.

Mr. Fashola further said “This government in spite of very limited resources and having to borrow is simply doing almost the near impossible in terms of infrastructure. Mr. President continues to give his support and commitment to infrastructure. His understanding of the purpose of infrastructure for growth and development is very clear”.

Speaking earlier the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed was enthusiastic that with the completion of the bridge, the South-South and the South-East will be connected to the North and this would save five hours of travel time on the road. He said Benue state would automatically be the food storage of the Federation by drawing people from every part of the nation while generating economic growth on one hand it would advance social cohesion on the other hand.

On foreign loans, Mohammed said, "Yes we are taking loans.We are also making judicious use of the loans. And while these loans have a life span of 20-50 years, the roads we are constructing will have 50-60years lifespan and outlive many of us”.

Also lending his voice, the Minister for Special Duties and Inter-governmental Relations, Senator George Akume urged the people to maintain peace and order among the various communities where the project is sited owing to the fact that the project was a huge one intending to serve not just Benue and Nasarawa states but also the larger Nigerian population.

The Emir of Loko, HRH Alhaji Abubakar Ahmed Sabo Sarikin Loko and Second-Class Chief of Agatu HRH Chief Godwin Ngbede Onah   expressed appreciation to the Federal Government over the construction of the Loko- Oweto Bridge which had impacted on their lives positively.
 The Loko- Oweto Bridge Project is 97.37% completed.

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The Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigeria has commended the Federal Government over interventions in 44 Federal tertiary institutions as well as the on-going infrastructure development across the country just as the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN charged the nation’s universities on the need to produce men and women of character worthy to take over the leadership of the country.

Fashola, who spoke when the Committee of Vice Chancellors/Association of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVC/AVCNU), paid him a courtesy visit, also stressed the importance of universities as a place where the characters of young people were finally shaped in readiness for leadership.

Stressing the importance of universities as platforms for character molding, among other functions, the Minister, who described investment in universities as “casting a stone of faith into the future”, said it was an investment that always yielded very enormous profit for any nation. 

“It is a place where young boys and girls transit to becoming young men and women and that is where their characters are finally shaped in readiness to take over the leadership of the country”, he said adding that as overseers of the institutions, the Vice Chancellors have daunting tasks to accomplish.

Assuring the University dons of government support to ensure success, Fashola declared, “Somebody like me, I am a product of an investment of those who set up the University of Benin. Also there are many Nigerians who, like me, are products of that act of faith that happened in the 1970s”.

“I sit here today, and there are Senators, Senate Presidents and so many other professionals who were also products of that investment. And what is true of the University of Benin is also true of all other universities across the country”, he said.

The Minister, who also charged the Universities on the collation and use of data, said the world was now chasing data and there was, therefore, need for the universities to put in useful form the data they have accumulated over the years to assist governments and businesses in the country in national development.

“The world is chasing data, collating data. This data is sitting in our universities. Almost every lecturer I know asks students to write one research paper or the other. The data is there, but can we put it in a useful form to inform our governments, to inform our businesses, to inform our society?” he said.

Recalling his years as Visitor to the Lagos State University (LASU), Fashola, who noted that they had meetings which they christened “The Town and Gown”, with the Town representing Government and the Gown representing Universities, said his administration gained a lot in terms of research outcomes and development.

“It was a time when we had lectures, symposia, not just in LASU but in other universities”, he said adding that the University of Lagos Consult was one of the state government registered consultants which his administration used to do a lot of research and a lot of consultancy work.

The Minister, however, expressed regrets that not enough universities were investing in such consultancy today pointing out that there are many areas in which Nigerian universities could do research and consultancy such as on general elections and other political issues arising from elections across the country.

Noting that every government would be interested in such research results, the Minister asked, “How many universities have hosted Presidential Debates? You have the auditorium, you have the students, If you put it together you will have sponsors”, adding that governments and the universities could work together to ensure that the right persons were elected into office.

On collaboration between his Ministry and the Universities in infrastructure development in tertiary institutions, Fashola, who expressed readiness to work with the institutions to strengthen their infrastructure, however, urged them to come up with a structured plan adding that any such plan that would ensure security of investment would attract investors.

Assuring the university dons of his readiness to collaborate with them in infrastructure development in the tertiary institutions, Fashola asked them to develop a plan for such investment adding, “When there is a plan, money will come”.

“Let us start from hostels. Students are paying something or the other, but is there a structured plan to ensure that there is land, to ensure that the land is safe, to do a survey about students’ willingness to pay. What is the average size of rooms available? What is the market cost, transport cost that is safe? Those are the things that any investor would want to know”, he said adding that an investor would also be interested in knowing that the academic year would not be disrupted by strikes of either the academic or non-academic staff.

Expressing confidence that investments in infrastructure would happen in universities in the country, Fashola declared, “I offer myself willing and ready to work with you along this line anytime”, adding that the Ministry was currently in 44 tertiary institutions owned by the Federal Government, both Universities, Colleges of Education and Polytechnics building their internal roads.

“Some of those roads have not been touched for 20 to 30 year”, the Minister noted expressing dismay, however, that when people complain about the budget for education, they do not put into account such investment as road rehabilitations and other interventions from other sectors outside Education.

He told his guests, “We want the universities to come out and say, no this is also investment in education. So it is not only what you see in the Ministry of Education that is the sum total of the investment in Education”, adding that there is a lot that the universities could do

Fashola also decried the proliferation and abuse of Honorary Degrees by universities in the country recalling that in his eight-year tenure as Governor of Lagos State and Visitor at LASU one of the things his administration  did was to put on hold the award of any Honorary Degree for about two to three years.

“We said, look we are going to be different and for two or three years we did not award any Honorary Degree because truly the idea of Honorary Degree is an important building block of society and once we throw those blocks away or make them unviable then the purpose for it is lost”, the Minister said.

He recalled. “In my eight years in office I had 17 offers and I didn’t take one. I told them to wait until when I was out of office and if they still find me worthy they should then come. And when I was out of office only one came back”, adding, “The point I want to make is that we have to encourage our children to work hard. What have these honorees of the universities done to deserve the honour? What of those who have become undeserving, will you go back and tell them to return the degrees, that they don’t deserve it anymore?”

Noting that there was need to have an acceptable version of the History of Nigeria, Fashola charged the Committee to assemble the many professors of History in the universities and assign the task to them to produce such a version that would be a true History of Nigeria, acceptable by all Nigerians, including the Historians themselves.

“There is one thing you can do for Nigeria. Bring all these people together to start work on one acceptable version of Nigeria’s history. It is that version that can be thought in primary and secondary schools. Because that is what is happening in other countries. They fought wars too but they have written one final version of their history. When you have written that final version it will be thought in our primary and secondary schools”, the Minister said.

Earlier, in his opening remarks, the Chairman of the Committee, Professor Yakubu Aboki Ochefu, said the Committee had come to express gratitude to the Minister for the interventions in 44 tertiary institutions across the country adding that it was the first time government was undertaking rehabilitation of roads in the institutions.

Professor Ochefu, who also informed the Minister that the Committee was preparing a Compendium of Achievements as part of programmes being lined up to celebrate its 60th anniversary in October this year said the Committee had prepared a questionnaire for the Minister to fill that would give them an insight into his infrastructure development at the Lagos State University while he was Governor of Lagos State, which would form part of the Compendium.

Giving a brief background of the Committee, the Chairman said it was established in 1962 with eight universities, including the Universities of Lagos and Ibadan as members adding that the membership now stood at 174 consisting of 46 Federal, 48 State and 79 private universities. He noted that the Committee was working to improve the number of women Vice Chancellors in the country.

Professor Ochefu, who later handed a copy of the questionnaire to the Minister explained further, “We will devote a section of the Compendium to share with you how you turned the fortunes of the Lagos State University (LASU) during your tenure as Governor of Lagos State and Visitor to the University.

Also present at the occasion were the Minister of State, Engr. Abubakar Aliyu, Acting Permanent Secretary, Engr. Yemi Oguntominiyi, Directors, Special Advisers and other top Ministry functionaries while on the Committee’s side were three other executives including the Secretary General of the Committee.

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The Minister said, “The world is chasing data, collating data, this data is sitting in our Universities, almost every lecturer ask students to write one research paper or the other. We can use this data in a useful form, to inform our government, to inform businessmen, to inform the society”. He added that for instance such information could be used in the analysis of a local government with a view to yielding positive results.

In response to the call for his support by the Vice Chancellors, he said, “In terms of collaborative relationship on infrastructure, you can take my cooperation for granted”. Fashola stated that the Ministry of Works and Housing had intervened in the building of roads in 44 tertiary institutions in the country under this administration but lamented that when people criticize government on the state of roads no University came to inform the public on those interventions.

The Minister who described the University as an investment into the future urged the Vice Chancellors to be discreet in the award of honourary degrees which he described as very important building blocks that should be given to only deserving people and not for those whose achievement is just the occupation of a political office.

He said this would encourage the youth to work harder while charging honourary degree holders to bring their impact to bear in the development of the universities. Fashola also advised them to bring Professors together to write an acceptable version of the Nigerian history that will be taught in schools like it was done in some other climes.

Speaking earlier, Secretary General of the Association and leader of the delegation, Professor Yakubu Aboki Ochefu informed the Minister that the Association which was established in 1962 is a platform for sharing ideas and engaging Nigerians on issues that affect the Nigerian universities. He added that the organization which had the universities of Ibadan, Lagos, Ife, Nsukka and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria at inception now has 174 universities.

Professor Ochefu who praised the Minister for his commitment to road construction and maintenance, expressed gratitude to him for the intervention of his Ministry in the building of internal road in 44 tertiary institutions across Nigeria. He informed Fashola that they were in the Ministry to seek his cooperation in their plan to produce a compendium on the forthcoming celebration of the 60th anniversary of their association in Nigeria, and his support to tackle the problems facing Nigerian universities.

Professor Ochefu said that the group decided to seek partnership with the Minister to share experience in view of the pivotal role he played in the development ofLagos State university when he was the Governor of Lagos State.
 Present an the occasion were the Minister of State for Works and Housing, Engr. Abubakar D. Aliyu, [FNSE], the Director overseeing the office of the Permanent Secretary, Engr. Yemi Oguntominiyi and other Directors of the Ministry.

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The Federal Government has announced the partial closure of the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos, Nigeria, from Friday July 24, 2020 to January 24, 2021 for repairs.

The Federal Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola announced this on Tuesday during a Press briefing to the nation on Government’s plans of assuaging the pains the closure would cause the over 132,702 light and vehicles that ply that route on a daily basis.

Fashola during the Press briefing also announced alternatives routes: Costain, Ebute-Metta and Ijora as road users could use during the period of the repair.

He also called for patience and understanding of road users adding that it was well-meaning Nigerians who drew the attention of the government to the bridge through comments and videos, pointing out that the maintenance was a direct response to those calls which was what governance is all about.

Fashola explained:  “The Bridge is 11.8km; we are closing 3.5km so it is a partial and not a total closure.” He said that the Third Mainland Bridge was conceived in 1970 as a result of rapid modernisation of Lagos and that the construction work of the bridge spanned over three decades and was done during the oil boom, pointing out that the need for maintenance of the bridge was inherited by the current administration.

According to Fashola, the Federal Government had so far intervened on thirty–seven bridges across the country, maintaining that Lagos has the highest number of bridges. He further said that the work on the Lagos Mainland Bridge is a collaborative effort between the Federal and Lagos State Governments.

He commended the commitment of the present administration under President Muhammadu Buhari in the maintenance of the nation’s infrastructure nationwide.

Acknowledging the pains the closure may cause, Fashola called road users to be patient as the construction works last.  “The best will happen if we all show understanding, restraint and patience, because we will have a better and safer bridge in a short while to come,”he said.

In his presentation, the Director of Highways Bridges and Design, Engr. Emmanuel Adeoye  stated that the Third Mainland Bridge which is about 11.8 km long links Lagos Island to the Mainland and it is the busiest bridge in Nigeria with a daily average of traffic count of 132,702.

Explaining further, he stated that the bridge provided the most direct route for commercial and industrial traffic leaving Lagos Island to other parts of the country and vice versa, pointing out that, it was necessary to always ensure regular maintenance to keep it in a serviceable state.

“The periodic maintenance of the bridge was carried out in 2008, 2012, 2018 respectively and the present maintenance was a continuation of the process” he said

On his part, the Director of Highways South-West, Engr. Adedamola Kuti said that the bridge would be partially closed for six months and that the partial closure would be in two phases to ensure operational efficiency. He said alternative routes have been provided to ease traffic flow during the maintenance work on the bridge.

Accordingly, he explained that the two phases would be sub-divided into morning and afternoon traffic to minimize disruption of traffic during peak hours which are mainly from the Mainland to the Island in the morning and a return traffic in the evening from the Mainland to Island.

He further disclosed that during the phase one, the Mainland bound carriage way would be partially closed to traffic from Adeniji-Adele up to the Ebute-Meta axis and that of phase two, the partial closure would be from the Ebute-Meta axis of the Island bound carriage way to the Adeniji-Adele axis.

Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Commission, Boboye Oyeyemi, who also spoke during the briefing said that  “The partial closure has therefore placed the Corps in a position to provide strategic plan that will ameliorate the envisioned traffic situation the closure is certain to throw up,”

He said the Corps has deployed massive personnel and logistics to guide and administer road traffic within the six months of the closure, adding that the Corps had commenced publicizing alternative routes to the teeming road users.

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Mr Hakeem Bello, FNGE is Special Adviser
Communications to the Hon. Minister

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Works and Housing Minister, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN has stated that private sector engagement in the development and management of roads is an avenue to mitigate paucity of funds which has hindered road development in the past.

Fashola stated this in his presentation on Public Private Partnership (PPP) on Highway Development and Management Initiative to the joint National Assembly Committee on Works, Wednesday June 17th, 2020.

He explained that Highway Development and Management Initiative (HDMI) was created by his Ministry to manage and develop the federal road networks, with the objective to attract sustainable investment and funding in the development of road infrastructure and to maximize the use of assets along the right of way.

" The rationale behind the private sector engagement under the HDMI would provide an avenue that would mitigate paucity of funds, which had hindered roads development in the past" he said.

Ten (10) roads are to be concessioned under the first phase of the HDM initiative, namely: Benin – Asaba, Abuja – Lokoja, Kaduna – Kano, Onitsha – Owerri – Aba, Shagamu -Benin, Abuja -Keffi – Akwanga, Kano – Maiduguri, Lokoja – Benin, Enugu-Port Harcourt, Ilorin-Jebba.

The total length of the federal road network is 35,000km, but the proposed project in the first phase will cover a total lenght of 2.275km.

The project will attract a capital investment of N163.323bn at a cost of about N16bn per each of the 10 roads, in addition to about 23,322 jobs that would be created.

Explaining further, the minister said investors are expected to provide streetlights, toll plazas, rest areas, and weighbridge stations.

Accordingly, the Minister further explained that the HDMI was broken into two categories, namely: Value Added Concession(VAC) and unbundled Assets Approval (VAA).

He added that the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, (FMWH), Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission,(ICRC), Bureau of Public Procurement, (BPP) and Special Purpose Vehicle Concessionaire were the defined stakeholders to provide the regulatory framework in the implementation.

Earlier, Senator Adamu Aliero, Chairman Senate Committee on Works who co -chaired the Joint Session with Honourable Buba Abubakar, Chairman House Committee on works, stated that it was imperative to engage private sector partnership to tackle the bad roads in Nigeria as government alone could not bear the burden of fixing them.

He said the Public Private partnership reduces the financial burden of government thereby allowing funds to be utilized in other relevant social economic sectors.

Senator Aliero assured the Honourable Minister of the tacit support of the National Assembly and promised to provide legislation that will strengthen and protect the laudable investment initiative.

Present at the presentation were the Minster of State for Works and Housing, Engr. Abubakar Aliyu, the Permanent Secretary, Mohammed Bukar, some Directors of the Ministry, and the Director General/CEO of Infraustructural Concession Regulatory Commission, Engr. Chidi Izuwah and and some other stakehokders.

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Hon. Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola,SAN (2nd right), Minister of State in the Ministry, Engr. Abubakar Aliyu (left), Acting Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works and Housing, Engr. Yemi Oguntominiyi (right) and Secretary -General, Committee of Vice Chancellors, Prof. Yakubu Aboki Ochefu (2nd left) in a group photograph shortly after a courtesy visit to the Hon. Minister’s Office by the Committee of Vice -Chancellors and Association of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVC/AVCNU) at the Ministry of Works and Housing Headquarters, Mabushi, Abuja on Tuesday, 18th August 2020

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Hon. Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola,SAN (left) joined by the Federal Controller of Works in Lagos, Engr.Olukayode Popoola (left) and Chairman of Buildwell Plants and Equipment Industries Ltd, Riad Abou Habib as he explains work being done underneath to Journalists during his inspection of the Ongoing Emergency Repairs of Marine Bridge in Apapa, Lagos State on Thursday, 8th October 2020

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