Babatunde Fashola, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, on Friday said the Federal Government was committed to alleviating the sufferings of Nigerians by fast-tracking development of infrastructure.
Fashola reiterated this commitment while inaugurating the 26-km Itori-Ibeshe concrete road in Ogun State built by Dangote Industries Limited.
The road was constructed by AG-Dangote as part of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility projects.
Fashola said government would soon commence aggressive road construction and maintenance programme across the country.
He said: “I want to use this medium to assure Nigerians that the present challenges being experienced, especially in the power and road sectors of the economy, will soon be a thing of the past.
“We are working round the clock to deliver lasting solutions to the challenges in these sectors.”
Fashola commended the commitment of Dangote towards the industrialisation of the country.
He said: “It is historic in the sense that this is the first time a road of this size will be constructed in Nigeria using cement concrete.
“Countries that have achieved self-sufficiency in cement production have found it expedient to adopt the construction of concrete roads because they are cheaper, more durable and environment friendly.
“I believe Nigeria should not be an exception.
“We must move with the times.”
Fashola said government would continue to encourage indigenous companies like AG-Dangote to compete with international construction companies to build quality roads at affordable cost in order to consolidate and extend national road networks.
Fashola said this would enable the government to actualise its cardinal objectives of job creation and economic empowerment of Nigerians.
Alhaji Aliko Dangote, the President of Dangote Group, urged the government to review the existing method of road construction in the country.
Dangote said concrete roads were more durable than asphalt roads.
Dangote said concrete roads were about 20 per cent cheaper than conventional asphalt roads and lasted longer with no potholes.
He said cement, which constituted raw materials for construction of concrete roads, was locally available compared to bitumen that is imported.
Dangote said the country was losing $1 billion annually due to the poor condition of roads in the country.
He said: “Roads play an important role in the social and economic development of any nation.
“I am happy today to announce that in another CSR initiative, we are reconstructing the Ijora-Apapa Wharf Road in Lagos State using cement concrete.
“I am sure those of you that are familiar with the road will appreciate just how critical it is to the evacuation of goods from Apapa Port.
“The assistance of your ministry is required to enable us to complete the engineering design and preliminary works for the early take off of the construction of this road.
“Within the next 18 months, we expect to complete the project and bring succour to Lagosians.
“This concrete road that we are commissioning today is just one out of the several corporate social responsibility initiatives that we have put in place for our host communities.
“This is in line with our corporate philosophy, which is to impact positively on the lives of members of our host communities everywhere we operate, including outside the shores of the country.”
The Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosu, said the Itori-Ibese Road would ease vehicular movement and promote economic activities within the state.
Amosun said his administration would continue to provide enabling environment for Dangote and other investors to thrive in the state.
Amosun said industrialisation remained the only way to rejuvenate the country’s ailing economy.