By Mashe Umaru Gwamna
President Muhammadu Buhari has commissioned the 24-kilometre Vandeikya-Obudu Cattle Ranch Road connecting seven communities in Benue State to Cross River State in Tsua town, Vandeikya local government area of Benue State.
Buhari who was represented by the minister of special duties and intergovernmental affairs, Senator George Akume, enjoined Nigerians to avoid these practices that could aggravate wear and tear on the roads and also report persons found committing them to the appropriate enforcement agencies.
“We must all do our best to avoid these practices, report them when they occur and act in a lawful manner to stop them,” he stated.
He charged Nigerians to be responsible in using the road so that it could last long because the design was of the highest quality.
He said, “This road has been built to the highest quality of design and workmanship and if is well used, it should last for the designed service life.”
He identified what constituted road abuse as “overloading of vehicles and trucks which accelerate pavement damage, spilling of petroleum products, which dissolves all the components and allows water to penetrate and converting the road shoulders to permanent parking places that brings the onset of road failure from the shoulder.”
He said his major concern is for the safety of commuters on the roads, Buhari declared, “Now that we have these new and well-built roads, we have duties to ourselves and to other road users. One of those duties is to ensure that we drive in accordance with the law as stipulated in the Highway Code”, adding that the “maximum driving speed on this and other Federal Highways nationwide is 100 (hundred) KM and no more”.
He also cautioned against abuse of the roads saying as the Federal Government committed to delivering on its promise to give Nigerians good and quality road network, it was incumbent on the people not to abuse the roads in order to enable them service the nation through their design life.
Earlier, the minister of works and housing, Babatunde Fashola said that the road projects across the nation, “represent a major investment in transport infrastructure which is a commitment of the Buhari administration as a driver for economic growth and prosperity.”
Fashola, who was represented by the Director Highways, North Central Zone, Engr. Rugba Emenoge, listed other such roads to include the 142.2 x 2 (dual) Kilometre Kano- Maiduguri Road (Section II) between Shuwarin and Azare, connecting Jigawa and Bauchi States, the 106.3 x 2 Kilometre Kano-Maiduguri Road (Section III) between Azare and Potiskum, connecting Bauchi and Yobe States and Nnewe- Uduma- Uburu Road covering 26.27 Kilometers with 14 Kilometers spur to Ishiagu connecting Enugu and Ebonyi States, in Ebonyi State.
He Also expressed delight at the commissioning of the Vandeikya-Obudu Cattle Ranch Road, the Minister declared, “These projects represent major investment in road Transport infrastructure, which is a commitment of the Buhari administration as a driver for economic growth and prosperity. They are visible and incontrovertible Assets in proof of what Nigeria’s resources are invested in, from a combination of our earned resources, and borrowings”.
Fashola also thanked the Ministry’s staff and contractors who, he acknowledged, “have worked very hard to bring these projects to conclusion” as well as the host communities for their cooperation without which progress would have been impossible. “I hold them out as examples of what peace can achieve, and the investments that collaboration and some sacrifice can deliver if we embrace partnership with Government”, he said.
The Minister’s gratitude also went to the Federal Executive Council, which included all Ministers in the first term and the current term, for their support, the President and Vice President “who presided for long hours over the Council meetings” and the Governors of Bauchi, Jigawa, Benue, Cross Rivers, Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger, Enugu and Ebonyi, who, according to him “bear witness to fruits and the evidence of change by the Buhari administration. “And there is more to come”, he said.