Federal Ministry of Works and Housing (FMWH) Federal Republic of Nigeria
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The newly redeployed Permanent Secretary to the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Alhaji Babangida Hussaini has resumed office.

Alhaji Babangida Hussaini was Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defence before his redeployment to the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing to take over from Mr. Ernest Umakhihe who was moved to Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

At a brief handing and taking over ceremony at the headquarters of the Ministry in Mabushi, Abuja, the new Permanent Secretary assured management and staff that his leadership will encourage team work anchored on mutual respect.

He said "We all come from different backgrounds with different experiences and perceptions but the objective is one; service delivery anchored around serving the people to achieve the agenda of the government."

Hussaini, who was the Director Special Projects Unit in the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing before his appointment as Permanent Secretary, recalled that he had worked assiduously with the staff of the Ministry under the able leadership of the Honourable Minister of Works and Housing,Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN.

He said that he would build on the successes, integrity and transparency entrenched in the ministry by his predecessor, Mr.Ernest Umakhihe, as no one was an island of knowledge in service to our father land.

Hussaini  described his predecessor, Mr. Earnest Umakhihe as a friend, a brother and an adviser and assured all that he would add value to the achievements already recorded by him.

He further assured Umakhihe of continued cooperation and support. "We will be working together  for the good of our nation because no man is an island,  we must interrelate and interdepend on each other."

Earlier in his remarks the outgoing Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Mr. Earnest Umakhihe described his tenure in the Ministry as short and worthwhile. He said, "its being a short but worthwhile journey.  I have learnt a lot from the crop of professionals we have here."

Umakhihe urged the staff to accord the incoming Permanent Secretary the cooperation that was given to him.

While wishing the incoming Permanent Secretary success,  he assured him of his support, adding that they are pursuing the same purpose of achieving Mr. President's mandate for the country .

In a vote of thanks on behalf of the management, the Director Human Resources Management of the Ministry, Mr. Abdullahi Umar Utono assured the new Permanent Secretary of the cooperation and support of staff while wishing the former Permanent Secretary success in his new office.

Alhaji Babangida Hussaini, a seasoned administrator and technocrat attended the Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA), Ahmadu Belio University, ABU Zaria and Federal College of Arts Suleija.

He served the nation in different capacities  including working with international donor agencies. He hailed from Kazaure in Jigawa State.

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A one-day Sensitisation Seminar on Anticorruption Policy was organised for the staff of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing by the Anti-corruption and Transparency Unit (ACTU) of the Ministry.

With the theme " Whistle Blower Policy, Ethics and Compliance" the Seminar was intended to sensitise the staff of the Ministry on the provision of the Anti-corruption policy, as part of the functions of the ACTU to educate and enlighten the public servants on and against corruption.

In his opening remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Ernest Umakhihe, represented by the Director Human Resource, Abdullahi Umar Utono, said that the public servant who holds power, authority and trust for the people, must lead the vanguard of the crusade against corruption.

He stated that the Ministry of Works and Housing is committed to implementing the Anticorruption provision to the letter, reason why the Ministry's ACTU was given all the necessary support to perform it's functions, one of which is the Sensitisation Seminar.

Head of the Anti-corruption and Transparency Unit of the Ministry, Barrister Sonny Inyang, stated that emphasis on corruption was the bane of every country in the world and that was why the United Nations Anti-Corruption Committee made it mandatory for all member nations to establish a body that would regulate the conduct and management of economic affairs of the countries, in line with best practices.

Barrister Inyang disclosed that Nigeria as a member nation established the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses Commission (ICPC) which further gave birth to the Anti-corruption and Transparency Unit (ACTU).

The ACTU according to Barrister Inyang had been set up in all the Ministerial Departments and Agencies of the government by ICPC as one of the implementation mechanisms for its mandate on prohibition and prevention of corruption especially in the public service.

Among its functions, he numerated were; to educate and enlighten public servants on and against corruption; promote ethics and ensure compliance with ethical codes; as well as monitoring of budgets implementation.

Barrister Inyang said the one-day seminar was to see how the ministry could forge ahead to initiate a colloquium within the contest of best practices and brainstorm on its theme and at the same time proffer solutions.

Highlights at the Sensitization seminar were papers delivered on; Strategic Corruption Control And Institutional Integrity by Dr. Jaiyeola Akindipe; Ethics And Compliance Score-Card In MDAs by Barr, Obialor Ifeanyi and Whistle Blower Policy by Mr. Justin Kuatsea.

This was followed by the official unveiling of Domestication and Code of Ethics Booklet of the Ministry by the representative of the Permanent Secretary, Director Human Resources Management Abdullahi Umar Utono

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On behalf of the Federal Government, I convey the appreciation of the Ministry of Works and Housing to the Government of Rivers State and Governor Nyesom Wike, for Hosting this 2020 edition of National Council on Works.

The commitment to host this was made last year when the Cross River State hosted the 2019 edition and when nobody foresaw the outbreak of a devastating viral pandemic called COVID-19.

The impact of the disease on livelihoods and the global economy has led countries across the world into different stages of negative economic growth and recession.

The need to address the economic challenges has prompted countries and Governments to design and implement various measures and policies to keep their economies going and to reflate them.

The Muhammadu Buhari Administration developed and has started implementing an Economic Sustainability Plan, that incorporates and challenges Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to ramp up activities, inspite of COVID-19; in order to provide work, increase opportunities and sustain productivity.

The Ministry of Works and Housing, as a critical infrastructure provider of the Federal Government, is one of the focal MDAs assigned with responsibilities for sustaining and expanding the economy during and beyond the COVID period.

This in part explains the theme of this year’s Council which is, “Road Infrastructure Development, Job Creation and National Economic Growth”.

While the public looks forward mainly to the quality of the Highway pavement, the Government sees a larger economic impact of infrastructure and the way it helps to legitimately distribute wealth to the people at the bottom of the pyramid.

Road construction employs a large number of the urban poor, skilled and unskilled labour and vendors who depend on daily or weekly wages.

The lockdown period was a difficult period for them and it was not surprising that as soon as lockdown eased, the Agriculture Sector and Road Construction were the first to resume work.

Eleven (11) of the biggest contractors of the Federal Government were allowed to return to work in May 2020 in 26 states.

This was closely followed by the resumption of maintenance works in 92 different locations across 24 states by FERMA.

The Government then decided to increase the scope for local content, labour and materials by:

a) Advocating for the increased use of cement, stone and concrete which are all locally available

b) Advocating for the local production of Bitumen since we have large deposits of the raw material.

I am delighted to inform you that many of these policies are at different stages of implementation with consequences on the economy.

With safety guidelines for Social Distancing, face mask and sanitation issued to construction companies, construction work has resumed almost full time across the country even though the virus is still with us.

Although the Third Quarter GDP result is still negative at -3.62%, it shows growth in the following sectors:

a) Quarrying and other minerals production   41.81%
b) Cement manufacturing                               11.96%
c) Construction                                                  2.64%

With the sustenance of construction activities, a strong contribution will be seen on the road to economic recovery.

Regarding the need to use more cement, more stone and concrete, the Ministry had to produce a design manual for Rigid Pavement in consultation with all the stakeholders in the industry.

I am happy to Report that the Sub-Committee led by the Honourable Minister of State, Engr. Abubakar D. Aliyu, and the Director of Bridges and Design, Engr. Emmanuel Adeoye, have produced the first Rigid Pavement Manual for Nigerian Roads.

There could be no better place to unveil it than at the National Council for Works, where all State Governments and other stakeholders are present.

This should also form the basis for implementing the Government policy for more labour-intensive Road Construction to stimulate employment drive, and more use of locally available materials of stone, cement and concrete for improved economic productivity.

It is impossible to discuss roads and economic development without discussing:

a)   capital appreciation of 30-40% that infrastructure provision adds to the value of land;

b)   the supply chain of food, lubricants, construction materials like laterite, cement, Reinforcement (steel), Water, Energy (Diesel) that is positively affected by infrastructure;

c)   the sub-specialities of subcontractors such as Lane Marking, Highway Signage and Electrical fittings,

all of which benefit from the Construction of a Road.

I am aware that all the States are executing one infrastructure project or the other and this is how it must be. I was in Rivers State recently to commission a Bridge project undertaken by the State Government.

Our collective National Spending on infrastructure will contribute in no small way to our recovery from recession, but also propel inclusive and beneficial growth.

Examples abound of the positive impact of the investment in infrastructure through a value chain of inclusive wealth distribution that is immediately activated when one of our construction sites utilises 5,000 trucks of laterites at N30,000 per truck.

Such a value chain would include the owner of the quarries, the operators in the quarries, the truck owners and truck drivers, among several others.

When one of our contractors also recently paid N500 million to his diesel suppliers, another inclusive wealth distribution value chain got activated or sustained.

In closing this speech permit me to highlight the challenges we still encounter in some states and communities with respect to claims for compensation, which hinder our contractors’ ability to work.

Challenges in the area of compensation require further collaboration and for States to play a lead role.

The need for an interactive forum between State Commissioners and Federal Ministry of Works, which will occur more frequently than the annual Council, as recently suggested by the Honourable Commissioner for Works from Kwara State will also hopefully be considered at this Meeting.

I thank you all for your attention.

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The Permanent Secretary made this known this morning while delivering a speech at the on-going 26th National Council on Works in Port Harcourt, Rivers State which started on Monday, December 7, 2020.

Mr Umakhihe said, "The Federal Government is committed to completing some iconic projects such as the 2nd Niger Bridge, Bodo-Bonny Road, Abuja-Kaduna- Kano Express Way and Obajana-Kabba Road in Kogi State."

"In the same vein, Government is also committed to completing the Sukuk Bond financed roads projects across the six geo-political zones of the country and maintain schedule maintenance of 5,000 kilometers of roads annually."

He disclosed that the Ministry has over 700 on-going road projects across the country including road intervention projects in higher institutions of learning.

Mr. Umakhihe explained that the commitment of government was premised on the determination to reduce poverty by creating wealth through road infrastructure development in both rural and urban areas of the country, adding that the objective of this year's Council was to propose viable actions to impact positively on national economic development in the country.

Earlier in his address, the Rivers State Commissioner of Works, Elloka Tasie-Amadi Esq stated that the Rivers State Government was delighted to host the meeting because the theme of the Council meeting echoed one of the policy thrust of the Rivers State Government, which is road infrastructure development.

Citing the saying of the Chinese thus "If you want to be rich, build roads first" the Commissioner said his state government was aware that every positive step taken in the area of road infrastructure development impacts on the entire nation and its citizens.

Tasie- Amadi further said the indices upon which the development of a nation is judged are based on the happenings in the states that make up the nation added that Rivers State Government was adding value to the development of the nation.

He said, "For every infrastructure project we embark upon, we are fully aware that these contribute to the National Economic Growth be it a state or federal project."

The Council meeting continues tomorrow with the meeting of Commissioners of Works in the 36 States and FCT to be Chaired by the Hon. Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN.

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Permit the singular honour on behalf of the Organizing Committee, to welcome you all to the 26th Meeting of the National Council on Works on the theme:”Road Infrastructure Development, Job Creation and National Economic Growth” holding here in Port-Harcourt from today Monday, 7th – 11th December, 2020.

2.    As you are aware, the Meeting of the National Council on Works is the highest policy-making organ of the Works Sector, where stakeholders in the Works Sector deliberate on critical issues concerning the Sector with a view to proffering sustainable solutions.

3.    It is pertinent to highlight that the Council Meeting is heralded by a 2-Day Technical Meeting of the Directors and the Meeting of the Permanent Secretaries. The responsibility of the Technical Meeting of the Directors as you are aware, is to create a solid and resourceful foundation by the diligently reviewing the memoranda submitted by stakeholders and fine-tuning the recommendation made by the Meeting of the Permanent Secretaries for presentation to the Council.

4.    In view of the foregoing, I would like to urge all Directors present to rise to the occasion as usual. This is a task most of us here are very competent at and committed to doing year in year out. I am therefore, very confident of our ability to timely deliver on this assignment.

5.    At this juncture, I would like to assure you that all necessary logistics have been made to ensure the success of this year’s Council Meeting. The Secretariat is available to attend to enquiries and render any assistance needed.

6.    On a concluding note, I wish to express our profound gratitude to the Honourable Minister Babatunde Raji Fashola SAN, the Honourable Minister of State Engr. Abubakar D. Aliyu, FNSE, the Permanent Secretary, Ernest UmakhiheFCA,fnim for providing the enabling environment for the success of this Meeting. I also appreciate the support of all Directors and entire staff of the Ministry whose efforts made today a reality.

7.    Once again, welcome to the 2-Day brainstorming Session preceding this year’s National Council Meeting on Works. I wish all of us fruitful deliberations.

8.    Thank you and God bless you all.

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The Minister made the disclosure during an interactive session with a group of journalists under the auspices of the All Progressive Congress, (APC), Press Corps who paid him a visit at the headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing in Mabushi, Abuja.

The Minister said a total of 3,109 projects had been executed between 2016 and 2019 consisting of 1,100 classrooms, 179 road projects, 79 maternity and healthcare centres and 6,656 solar light projects installed across one hundred and four locations as well as some solar powered water facilities.

The Minster who explained that currently, rehabilitation and maintenance work on highways is going on across the nation said, out of 35,000 kilometres road networks in the country, 13,000 kilometres were currently at various stages of repair. Adding that work on some roads have been completed and being used.

Disclosing that the reason for the delay in Auchi – Okpella Road is ecological and environmental, Fashola added, “The contractor is funded but there is a drainage problem there, if we choose the option we have, it will flood an entire community. The alternative is to build a bypass around the community, it becomes a longer road that has to be designed. It is an environmental and ecological problem we have to find a way to solve it”.

The Minister explained that because roads and road materials will behave differently in different parts of the country as a result of ecological and environmental conditions that was why concrete roads were being introduced in some places.
While speaking on bridge construction and repairs the Minister said that a surveillance of all bridges in the country had been conducted and work had started from the most critical ones.

He gave examples of the Kotonkarfe Bridge, Tambuwal Bridge, Eko Bridge, 3rd Mainland Bridge, Marine Bridge, Chachangi Bridge and the old Niger Bridge which he said were being maintained while work is ongoing in the new bridge.

Earlier, the chairman of the Corps Mr. Jide Orintunsi who works with the Nation Newspapers said they were in the Ministry to interact with him on the activities of his Ministry as part of stewardship in public administration.

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If Premium Times investigated it would have found and reported that government in 2007 initiated a payment platform called Integrated Payment Platform and Information System (IPPIS).

Any well meaning and right thinking member of the public will recall that this administration has been engaging all sectors of Government to fully migrate to the IPPIS platform.

What has happened is that not all Government Officials who, from time to time, needed to be paid for approved expenses were registered on the platform.

In order to ensure that government work was not hampered, the DFAs sought and obtained approval of the Accountant General to pay these monies through the Accounts of an Approved few who were on the platform.

Those so approved then collect the money and disburse to the beneficiaries who sign Receipts all of which are retired and available for verification as approved by the Accountant General.

The Accountant General has recently issued new guidelines to deal with this process because not all public officials have fully enrolled on IPPIS and the DFAs have the mandate to comply and not FASHOLA.

In all, no money was stolen or is missing. There is No Smoking Gun to criminalize Fashola.

If anything has been stolen it is the Trust of the public by Premium Times.

I will not believe anything they write again.

This is not investigative Journalism. It is Irresponsible Journalism.



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…. Says Government will complete the road project even if oil price drops to zero

The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN has restated the Federal Government’s commitment to completing the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway project despite the scarce resources as a result of sharp drop in oil price.

The Lagos-Ibadan Highway is a trunk A road located in the South-West region of the country and was contracted in two sections (I and II) to Messrs Julius Berger Nigeria Plc and Messrs Reymond Construction (RCC) Limited respectively.

At the interactive town hall meeting with stakeholders at Ogere in Ogun State over the weekend, Mr Fashola stated that Section I of the project was the rehabilitation, reconstruction and expansion of Lagos-Ibadan dual carriageway of about 43.6km commencing from old-toll gate at Oregun/Ikosi-Ketu Lagos and terminates at Shagamu Interchange in Ogun State.

He stated also that the Section ll which is about 84km starts from Sagamu Interchange to Ibadan and is being handled by RCC.

According to Fashola, the rehabilitation, construction and expansion of Lagos- Ibadan dual carriageway, construction of 2nd Niger bridge and the rehabilitation, construction and expansion of Abuja-Kaduna-Kano dual carriageway are strategic infrastructure development projects of Mr. President.

“These Highway projects are financed with the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) funded from the Sovereign Wealth Fund and they are National Priority Highway projects,” he said.

He said that the Ogere town hall meeting was the third, in a series, his Ministry has organized in order to address the critical conditions militating against the timely completion of the projects explaining that this goes to show that the Buhari administration is committed in bridging the road infrastructure gap of the nation in demonstrating an unfettered funding attention to road projects.

Responding to questions from stakeholders at the town hall meeting on the delay in completing the project and other issues bothering on safety of the road users which have become a major problem, he appealed to the contractors to accelerate work to ease traffic flow especially during the forthcoming Christmas Season.

He also called on the contractors to build signages and hazard warning signs. “You contractors should remember that you do this work for the people and that you must be passionate in doing it by easing the trauma people go through while on the road, “he added.

While calling for the cooperation and patience of the road users, Fashola gave a matching order to truck drivers to move away from the road at the Ogere parking point. He explained that their activities along the Highway was constituting a menace to the road itself.

“Truck parking operation is a business, you must plan your parking space, you cannot run your business at the discomfort of other people.

Park away immediately today because parking on the Highway is a violation of Highway code.’

Delivery his welcome address, the Director, Highways Construction and Rehabilitation of the Ministry, Engr. Olufunsho Adebiyi noted that the Town Hall Meeting essentially was to enable the benefitting communities see themselves as co-owners and to partner with the Federal Government in achieving this laudable project aimed at cushioning the effects of gridlock on the corridor of the Highway.

He added that the initial contract was only for the rehabilitation, reconstruction and expansion of Section l (Lagos to Shagamu interchange) and Section ll (Shagamu Interchange – Ibadan and also the rehabilitation of existing bridges on the road.

He stated that considering the heavy traffic on the highway, both contract was changed to include the construction of new flyover bridges, Interchanges and Pedestrian bridges which made the contract sum to be at the tune of N134,861, 785,702.80 and N176, 503,901,413.68 for both Sections 1 & 2 respectively.

While explaining the progress of work on the expressway, the Managing-Director of Reynolds Construction Company Nigeria (RCC) Limited Mr. Nabeel Esawi stated that work was moving on well, he added that the total asphalt length in both direction of the road is 95km.  He promised that the work would be delivered on schedule.

He lamented the vehicular congestion on the road due to indiscriminate parking by articulated vehicles, vehicular and road traffic accidents, congestion due to inflow of traffic during peak periods etc.

Presenting his progress report, the Managing Director of Julius Berger Plc, Dr Lars Richter said the project had been a much-anticipated national infrastructure with immense socio-economic benefits for the adjoining states and the entire nation.

He said,” The Section l (One) has the highest traffic volume in Nigeria.  On this stretch of highway not only is there a high way volume of traffic with large commercial activities, but also a large number of commuters who travel in and out of Lagos daily”

He explained that despite the challenges, immense level of progress of work has been achieved and the target completion date of third quarter of 2022 would be achieved.

In attendance at the town hall meeting were the Minister of Works and Housing, Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, Director NSIA, Mr Uche Orji, Representative of Lagos State Governor & Special Adviser Lagos State Governor on Works Mrs. Aramide Adeyoye, and other stakeholders which include, Traditional Rulers, representatives of Igbo and Hausa communities and representatives of Civil Society Organisations.

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The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN has given assurance that the 2nd Niger bridge will be completed and delivered in year 2022 as promised despite delay caused by the impact of covid 19 and disagreement with some people from the communities around the project before they were resolved with the intervention of the Governors of Anambra and Delta States as well as some traditional rulers from the area.

Fashola gave this assurance while speaking at a town hall meeting with stakeholders of the project held at the bridge site in Asaba. He said, “Clearly 2022 will be the delivery date for this project as already planned, we might miss a few weeks here and there but nothing substantial.” Let me assure you of Mr. President’s commitment and the Federal Government’s commitment to this.”

The Minister,however, stressed the need for peaceful coexistence, sacrifice and patience to ensure the completion of the project. “We need peace to finish this work, we need peaceful coexixtence to finish this work, we need also some sacrifice, we have to give some things in order to get some things and we need some patience”, he said.

Fashola disclosed that the total cost of the project is four hundred and fourteen Billion naira. He explained that while the cost of bridge is two hundred and six billion, the 2A and 2B roads will cost two hundred and eight billion naira. He added that the Buhari administration is making the commitment even though the price of oil is now about forty dollar per barrel.

While speaking on the economic benefits of the project to the people of the area the Minister said in order to build this bridge the contractors will be buying 644 thousand tonnes of aggregates. They require four Million cubic metres of sand, sixty eight thousand tonnes of cement, 19 Million litres of diesel all of which will be bought from people around the area who deal in such businesses. He further said that the contractor employed over one thousand four hundred workers who are indigenes of the area.

On the issue of compensation, the Minster appealed to the Governors of Anambra and Delta states to help engage with the communities to make it easier for the Federal Governmnt to come to agreement with them. Fashola promised that the Ministry will look into the ecological and environmental consequence of the project.

Speaking at the occasion, the Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa who was represented by the Secretary to the state government expressed profound appreciation to the Federal Government for the project while urging the Minister to expedite action on some federal roads in the state.

Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State who deliverd the vote of thanks expressed gratitude to President Buhari for keeping his words on the project and commended the Minster for his commitment to the work. He assured that he will ensure that there is peace in his state.

Earlier in his address, the Managing Director of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Dr. Las Weiser described the project as a key national infrastructure with immense economic benefits. He said when completed it will minimize traffic congestion and strengthen the region by boosting trade and commerce nationally and internationally.

The Meeting which was well attended was graced by many traditional rulers some of which are: the Obi of Onitsha, , Eze of Okpo Kingdom and Eze of Obosi.

The Minister also inspected the progress of work at the bridge and visited the Zik Mausoleum where he promised that effort will be made to preserve the mausoleum and keep it in the pristine condition that it deserves.

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Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola SAN has reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to completing the ongoing reconstruction of the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano dual carriageway.

He stated this at the town hall meeting of stakeholders organised by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing held in the Kaduna State University Conference hall, Kaduna on Thursday.

Fashola said, “ Mr. President is more passionate and concerned about finishing this road and many others before his constitutional term ends.”

He also said the objective of the town hall meeting was to expose the realities and explain the challenges involved in the construction of the road.

Responding to various questions from stakeholders who wanted to know why the construction work on the road was taking too long, the Minister explained that one of the reasons why work could not commence early on the road was as a result of the request made by the some members of the National Assembly to expand the road from two lanes to three lanes.

In his words, “Shortly after we flagged off the road, we received a letter from the Senators in the National Assembly asking the Federal Government to expand the road from two lanes to three lanes, that was not from us ,it was from the National Assembly,  the Senators and they wrote to the President and copied my Ministry.

Explaining further, Fashola stated that based on the directive from the Presidency to undertake that expansion, “we needed to redesign an expansion to accommodate about 40 different bridges on this road to align with the lanes.

"So if they are going to expand from two to three lanes, a new design needed to be created. The process for doing that required us to hire a design consultant. We had to follow the procurement process established by the National Assembly,” he said

Accordingly he said, the procurement process is a long one which entails advertising, waiting for a period of six weeks after advertisement, reviewing of tender, picking of consultant and going to the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP) and finally to the Federal Executive Council for approval to hire a consultant to do the design requested.

The Minister also disclosed that, after going through all the processes of procurement for redesigning to three lanes, the Ministry received another instruction to revert back to two lanes due to paucity of fund.
Fashola also attributed the delay in completion to the total length of the road and the process of construction.

He explained, “Each Lane is 375km. So if you multiply that by four, we are building a thousand and five hundred kilometres of highway. No matter how hard you tried to work, if there was 25 hours in one day to do this work, we will commit to it, but the truth is that materials take time to react, minimum and maximum processes must be observed. “

Responding to a question on the Kaduna  Western By-pass, the Minister explained that the Kaduna State government  initially requested it to be transferred to  the State and the request was granted, but later due to the inability of the state to raise the financing for it , the commencement of the work was stalled.

He added that, a recommendation to put the project under the Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme was later considered and approved.

He explained, "As far as the Western By-pass is concerned, let me also say that it is on record, Kaduna State was the first State to apply for the transfer of Federal Road to them, that I recommended to the Federal Executive Council and Council approved and I transferred it to the State Governor in his first term. It was after the unsuccessful attempt by the Kaduna State government to raise financing that we recommended that it be put under the Infrastructure Tax Credit  Scheme.”

In her response to some of the questions raised at the the town hall meeting, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs  Zainab Ahmed stated that her ministry would work closely with the Ministry of Works and Housing and Messrs Julius Berger to expeditiously work on the reconstruction of  the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano dual carriageway in order to ensure completion before the end of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

She explained that the issue of funding has been addressed because the Ministry of Finance has given Six hundred and fifty million US dollars ($650,000,000 USD)  to the National Sovereign Investment Authority  (NSIA) whose responsibility is to generate additional fund to ensure that the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano dual carriageway and other designated projects are fully funded.

In his address, the leader of the delegation and Chief of Staff to President Muhammad Buhari, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, assured the people that  President Muhammad Buhari’s “commitment is real and is going to be realizable before the end of his tenure.”

The Managing Director of Messrs. Julius Berger, who also made presentation at the town hall meeting, revealed that the company has introduced a new innovative Cold Recycling method of constructing roads in Nigeria, which he said is being used for the first time on Nigerian roads for the on going  reconstruction of Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano dual carriageway way.

He listed the benefits of Cold Recycling as achieving shorter construction time, conservation of resources, cost effectiveness,  enhancing road safety and impacting positively on the environment.

The Managing Director also stated that the scope of work on the roads have been divided into  three sections which are; Section One,  Abuja to Kaduna road with 165.5km;  Second Section is Kaduna to Zaria with 73.4km and the Third Section is Zaria to Kano with 137.0km .

In attendance at the town hall meeting were the Governor of Kano State, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, the Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, Dr. Hadiza Balarabe who represented the Governor, representatives of the Niger State Governor, Commissioner for Works and Housing and that of the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Engineer Shehu Hadiza Ahmed.

Other Stakeholders at the meeting were legislators from both the National and State Assemblies from the concerned states ,  representatives of the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Community and traditional institutions.

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The ongoing reconstruction work on the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano road project has been progressing appreciably and would be completed in the life of this administration.

Engr Funso Adebiyi, the Director Highways Construction and Rehabilitation in the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing stated this during the ongoing visit to the project site to assess the progress of work on the project

"We are satisfied with the quality of work going on and we are working to increase the pace of the work. You can see that work is going on simultaneously on all sections of both lanes of  the dual carriage  375km longroad from Abuja-Kaduna- Kano" he said

Adebiyi explained that the work was initially for rehabilitation but now full reconstruction work is ongoing. He  appealed to Nigerians to be patient with the government in it's commitment to deliver a qualitative work that would stand the test of time

Similarly, he also appealed to the road users to bear the discomfort being experienced everyday as a result of blockages and diversions, pointing out that it was  a necessary action in a construction work of such magnitude above all on such busy road with high traffic volume and axle load.

On the level of work done so far, Engr Adebiyi said  " we have made a lot of progress. You can see that over  100km though not at a stretch, have been completed under section one to three (Abuja-Kano) , 40km completed under section two (Kaduna-Zaria), and 70km completed under section three (Zaria-Kano)"

He pointed out  that while some sections of the road are also at different levels of completion, palliative/remedial work are being carried out on the sections that are critically bad to facilitate ease of passage for motorists"

Reacting to the allegation of delayed  work, Engr Adebiyi said "It is important that I correct the wrong impression by the people  that work is not moving. We are working to meet up with the deadline and at the same time subjecting all the work to quality assurance test to deliver a good job"

He assured Nigerians of the commitment of the government to completing the work. " Government is desirous of completing this project , as such is not leaving anything to chance, that is why we are here regularly  tracking the progress of work with a view to sorting out any identified challenges"

Engr Adebiyi stated that the Honourable Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola, San and the Hon  Minister of State  Engr. Aliyu  D  Abubarkar had demonstrated a strong passion to this project and others across the country in order to ensure the  fulfillment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s  promise of bridging infrastructure gap in the country.

On the speed of work on the road, the Director Bridges and Design, Engr Adeoye  urged the contractor to increase the pace of work by deploying more men on sites to work simultaneously on both lanes

The team of engineers in the Ministry  led by the Director Highways Construction and Rehabilitation, Engr Adebiyi were on a routine assessment inspection of the various ongoing road projects across the country in order to ensure quality work delivery and meeting the completion deadline

The team carried out an engineering measurement and evaluation of some key components in road construction among others ; storm water drainages, shoulders, right of way, concrete slabs, U-turns, culverts reinforcement pipes.

TheAbuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano roa reconstruction project was awarded to Julius Berger Nigeria Plc on 20th December, 2017 and the project commenced on 21st May, 2018 with the 36 months completion period

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The entire building complex of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing in Mabushi Abuja had over the weekend been disinfected against the second raging wave of the Covid 19 in the Country.

The Offices and surrounding of the building complex in both work and housing blocks have been disinfected and fumigated to stem the rising wave of the Corona virus which hit the Country of recent, with Lagos and Abuja FCT being the worst hit cities in the world.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Ernest Umakhihe said that the Minister Babatunde Fashola approved that the Ministry should not leave anything to chance in the current fight against the virus as such directed with immediate effect that all necessary Covid 19 preventive measures be put in place in the Ministry.

To this effect, the Ministry has provided hand washing facilities and sanitisers in all offices and temperature check at relevant public places in the complex, in addition to displaying at strategic places the Covid 19 protocol requirements for public guidance.

It would be recalled that the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Musa Bello has reissued directives to all residents of FCT, offices and commercial environments to guard against violating the safety measures put in place by the NCDC since June 2020.

Of recent also, some States including Lagos and Niger States have already directed their Civil Servants to work from home as a result of resurgence of COVID 19

Mr Umakhihe therefore directed Staff of the Ministry to ensure wearing of face masks in and outside their offices and also adhere to all the existing safety measures put in place by the NCDC

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The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN has revealed the contribution of his Ministry to the efforts of the Federal Government to overcome the economic downturn occasioned by the impact of Covid 19.

Fashola made this disclosure in his address at the 26th National Council on Works in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State which took place from December 7- 11,2020.

Fashola said the impact of the disease on livelihood and the global economy led countries across the globe to design and implement measures and policies to keep their economies going and reflate them.

The Minister said the Federal Government under   President Muhammadu Buhari developed the Economic Sustainability Plan in order to provide work, increase opportunities and sustain productivity with the Ministry of Works and Housing as one of the focal MDAS for the implementation of the policy.

Fashola said by May, 2020 11 of the biggest contractors of government returned to work in 26 states in addition to maintenance work by the Federal Road Maintenence Agency in 92 locations across 24 states of the Federation.

All these according to Fashola contributed greatly to economic recovery with an increase of 41.81% in7 quarrying and other mineral deposits, 11.96% in cement manufacturing and 2.64% in construction.

He added that there is an increase in wealth distribution as a result of increased economic activities and job creation in communities where construction works are going on.

In his speech, the Rivers State Governor, Barrister Nyesom Wike who expressed happiness over the opportunity given to his state to host the event said, "Because most developed countries understand the critical link between transport infrastructure and economic advancement, they have successfully built their economic prosperity on the back of investing in adequate and modern transport infrastructure."

Governor Wike said Nigeria cannot be an exception if it must realise basic developmental goals and make life more meaningful for the people.

The Chairman Senate Committee on Works, Senator Adamu Aliero in his remarks commended the Federal Government under the leadership of President Buhari for initiating various financial mechanisms such as the SUKUK Fund, the Presidential Initiative on Infrastructure Development Fund for road construction and rehabilitation to complement budgetary provisions which was grossly inadequate.

He expressed the determination of the National Assembly to continue to support the developmental initiatives of the government.

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The 26th National Council on Works has kicked off in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State Capital with the theme: "Road Infrastructure Development, Job Creation and National Economic Growth." The Council will end on Friday, December 11, 2020.

In his remarks at the opening ceremony of the technical session, the Director, Planning, Research and Statistics of Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Mr. Jide Ode- Martin's reminded participants that the meeting of the National Council on Works is the highest policy making organ of the Works Sector where stakeholders deliberate on critical issues concerning the sector with the view to proffering sustainable solutions.

The Director stated that the 2-day technical meeting of directors and other stakeholders would create a solid and resourceful foundation through diligent review of memoranda submitted by stakeholders and would be fine-tuned during the meeting of the Permanent Secretaries for presentation to the Council.

He called on all the participants to rise up to the occasion by contributing their best to deliver the assignment successfully.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Works Sir Clifford Ndu Walter who delivered the welcome address on behalf of the Rivers State Government said that the theme of the Council was apt and significant to the socio-economic development of the nation.

Sir Walter said: “Road construction opens the door for network of development at every level as it provides avenue for job creation that drives national growth.”

He added that the meeting would rejig and articulate policy that would guide the path of boosting durable road construction and infrastructural development especially as massive road construction is ongoing in the country.

He disclosed that his Ministry would ensure that very high quality of Works are maintained and works completed within record time as the state government would engage in the provision of road infrastructure especially bridges.

In attendance at the meeting were stakeholders from the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, representatives of Federal Government organisations and the private sector.

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The Federal Government has assured Nigerians that the construction of the Bodo-Bonny road would be completed on schedule as funding would no longer be a challenge.

This was disclosed by the Director Highway Road Design, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Engr. Omotayo Awosanya during an inspection tour of the project to ascertain the level of work done and update Nigerians on what the present administration had achieved so far on the project.

According to Engr.Awosanya the project had a counterpart funding mechanism when it was awarded in 2014, 50% from the Ministry and the remaining 50% from the Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas Limited.

He stated that funding would no longer be an issue in the execution of the project because the Federal Government is adopting the Tax Credit Scheme with the Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas Limited to completely fund the project.

Out of the 37.9km road, Engr.Awosanya disclosed that 31km has been completed. He said that with the speed of work put in by the contractor,Julius Berger Nigeria Plc recently, the project would be delivered in November 2021 as scheduled.

He further stated that the project was important to President Muhamadu Buhari as it would open up Bonny Island in particular and generally lead to economic empowerment of the country as a whole.

Speaking during the site visit, the Project Manager of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Thomas Haug said since commencement of work two years ago, his company had completed all the parapets, started work on eight mini bridges and constructed 200m long pipeline crossing bridge. He said two mini bridges had been constructed and 1.4million cubic meters of sand dredged to the point of the inspection.

Mr. Haug disclosed that they would be constructing the major bridge at  Opobo next.

Also speaking, His Royal Highness, Chief Benson Egwenre, a community leader from Andoni said the community was happy especially with the prospects of economic benefits from the project.  He said as per local content, the contractor has promised to employ youths of the community from January next year.

However, a total of 587 persons have been employed by the Contractor, out of which 438 (consisting of unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled labour) are from the immediate host communities while more people will be employed from the host communities by the main contractor, Julius Berger Nigeria and subcontractors as the work progresses.

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The Federal Government will focus on the completion of ongoing road and bridge projects in the country rather than beginning new ones, in the implementation of the 2021 Budget, the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, has said in Abuja.

Fashola, who spoke during the defense of his Ministry’s proposals in the 2021 Budget; listed roads whose completion would be prioritized during the budget year to include those categorized as A1-A9 adding that 18 of such road projects, which have reached appreciable level of completion have been identified across the country for completion within 12 to 15 months.

The roads and bridges, the Minister said, include those leading to the ports and major agricultural hubs across the six geopolitical zones of the country adding that the decision to prioritize those projects was in line with the mandate of President Muhammadu Buhari, whom, he recalled repeatedly emphasized the necessity to focus the Budget on completion of projects.

According to him, other categories of road and bridge projects on which the Ministry will focus for completion during the budget year also include those that have attained 70 per cent completion adding that subject to the availability of funds, such projects would be completed as early as possible.

The Minister, who was accompanied by the Minister of State, Engr. Abubakar Aliyu, the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Ernest Umakhihe, Directors and other top Ministry officials, said the Ministry would also focus on the maintenance of about 50 Bridges nationwide as a measure to avoid further deterioration of the structures, which he described as critical.

Pointing out that some bridges which connect several geopolitical zones and Federal roads had not been maintained for several years before this administration, Fashola added that some of the Bridges required replacement of expansion joints and hand rails while others required major underwater repairs of exposed piles, pile caps and piers.

“Bridges like the Third Mainland Bridge, the Koton Karfe Bridge and the Makurdi Bridge are part of about 50 bridges being rehabilitated simultaneously among others”, he said adding that the Ministry also had its focus on the completion of the construction of Chanchangi Bridge along Takum-Wukari Road in Taraba State and Ikom Bridge along Calabar-Ikom Road.

Expressing the need for the support of the National Assembly in realizing the stated objectives, Fashola, who put the estimated cost of rehabilitating all the bridges at N80.984 billion, however, pointed out that there was need, in the course of each year, to address washouts and erosion envisaged with the subsiding discharge of flood waters 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”, he said adding that the international Best Practice for such Emergencies was between 5 and 10 per cent of the Capital Budget.

Fashola, who said the Ministry has also selected two roads and a bridge in each of the six geopolitical zones for enhanced funding during the budget year, also listed for adequate funding the Federal Government of Nigeria’s Counterpart Fund for projects financed by the China Exim bank.

On the Ministry’s interventions on internal roads in Federal Tertiary institutions across the country, the Minister, who said out of the 43 such projects 18 had been completed, explained that inadequate budgetary provisions had stalled the projects which, according to him, the Ministry started since 2018/2019, adding that the 17.35 percent cut in the 2020 Budget made it impossible to pay Contractors who were being owed N3.31 billion while the money required to fix the remainder is N3.54 billion.

Reiterating that the major challenge of the Ministry in completing ongoing projects on time was inadequate budgetary provisions, the Minister explained further that aside the fact that the funds were inadequate, there was also the problem of timely release of funds to sustain annual cash flow requirement level adding that although funds from the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) and SUKUK Bond had helped to bring some funding relief, the Ministry’s exposure had continued to expand due to annual addition of new projects.

He said although the sum provided for Highway projects in the 2021 Budget was an improvement over the 2020 Budget provision for the Sector, it was still inadequate to address the funding challenges of Highway projects pointing out that with about N1.2 Trillion as the Year 2021 projected cash flow requirement, funding for works planned to be executed on the projects in 2021 would have to be “efficiently optimized”.

Fashola said in order, therefore, for his Ministry to make significant impact in the improvement of the Federal road network and boost the nation’s economy, there was urgent need to enhance the release of funds for the projects under the Amended 2020 Budget to defray the outstanding payments; enhance 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 as well as make provision for emergencies to enable Government respond to damage and destruction caused by natural disasters, Climate Change and other unforeseen events.

The alternative funds, he explained include the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF), which is being used to rehabilitate, reconstruct and expand the Lagos-Shagamu-Ibadan Dual Carriage way, Construction of Second Niger Bridge and rehabilitation of Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Dual Carriageway.

They also include the SUKUK BOND being used to fund a total of 44 road and bridge projects, which are mainly dual carriageways on major arterial routes A1-A9 on the Federal road network using the 2020 Sovereign SUKUK Issuance and Tax Credit Scheme being used in the construction of Bodo-Bonny Bridge across Opobo Channel in Rivers State and the construction/rehabilitation of Lokoja-Obajana-Kabba-Ilorin Road Section II in Kwara and Kogi States, among others.

On the issue of delay in project completion raised by Committee members during the interactive session, the Minister said aside the twin challenges of inadequate funding and delayed releases, there was also the fact that some of the roads carry heavy traffics which had to be managed while construction, reconstruction or rehabilitation was going on adding that it was necessary to put some measures in place for the safety of both the workers and commuters.

The Minister told them, “When we talk about delay of projects, I would have loved you to have specifics of what is considered as delays. It is important to understand what happens at the construction site, especially on highways where we are reconstructing and commuters still have traffic”, adding that ideally on a construction site traffic should be shut down.

He cited as examples the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos with an average Daily Traffic (ADT) of 122,978 vehicles, the Koton Karfe Bridge with Average Daily Traffic of 11,942 vehicles and the Makurdi Bridge adding that the Lagos-Shagamu-Ibadan carries the heaviest daily traffic in the country followed by the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano Road.

On why the SUKUK could not be expanded to fund other road projects as a means of overcoming the problem of inadequate funding, he explained that at every issuance there was a specific amount which the Government could withdraw adding that no money would be left as reserve SUKUK fund.

In his contribution during the session, the Minister of State, Engr. Abubakar Aliyu, explained that the seeming delay in the completion of some of the road projects in the North East was as a result of security challenges citing the Yobe-Maiduguri Road where insurgents attacked the CCECC and burnt their equipment.

Some of the Committee Members, including the Chairman, commended the Minister for his commitment to and diligence in the pursuit of the Presidential mandate of Infrastructure Development across the country.

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...Members pledged to uphold and defend Memorandum and Articles of Association

The Nigerian Institution of Highway and Transportation Engineers (NIHTE) has inaugurated its Abuja Chapter with the aim of upholding and defending the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.

At the inauguration  and investiture  ceremony of the new members in Abuja on Wednesday 4th November,  2020 the National Chairman of the Association,  Engineer Oludayo Oluyemi, FNSE said that the Abuja Chapter would assist the Government  of the Federal Capital Territory and the nation in formulating good policies in the area  of Highway and Transportation Engineering, pointing out that their professionalism would come to bear in FCT Highway development.

He said, “The city of Abuja is very important in the history of Engineering in Nigeria and more particularly in the roles our members here have played in NSE and the infrastructural development in Nigeria."

Continuing, he said that the investiture of the Chairman for the NIHTE Abuja Chapter and its Executive would drive the affairs of the Chapter for two calendar years.

He therefore charged the newly constituted EXCO to serve the society with all their might and be fair to all in the discharge their duties.

According to him, the NIHTE division since its formation six years ago, had made tremendous achievements. " We are poised in keying into the new strategic plan and vision of the Nigerian Society of Engineers," he said.

Delivering his Vote of Thanks, the newly inaugurated Chairman of the Abuja Chapter, Engineer Musa Saidu, FNSE pledged and sworn on behalf of other members the to uphold and defend the Memorandum and Articles of Association of NIHTE.

He added that they would conduct their engineering practices with discipline, sincerity and fairness as well as to show interest in the affairs and welfare of their fellow engineers and members.

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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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Hon. Minister of Works & Housing and Guest Lecturer, Mr Babatunde Fashola,SAN(right) and the Kwara State Federal Controller of Works, Engr. Wasiu Atitebi shortly after the Hon.Minister delivered the  10th Convocation Lecture of Al- Hikmah University on, " University Education, Entrepreneurship and Employment Prospects: Survival Imperatives in Post COVID-19," at the University Auditorium, Ilorin,Kwara State on Friday, 4th December 2020

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