Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, has revealed that with the assent to the 2017 budget, the Federal Government is now keen on constructing the 2nd Niger Bridge.
This was in addition to the construction of Abuja-Abaji-Lokoja highway and the Lagos-Ibadan, Kano-Maiduguri and the Enugu-Port Harcourt highways, he said.
The SSA to the President also revealed that N7.5 billion had also been earmarked for the rehabilitation of the Obajana Junction-Benin and Onitsha-Enugu dual carriageway.
While another N7 billion was allocated for the Bodo-Bonny Road in the Niger Delta area, including other roads in deplorable condition like Ilorin-Jebba, Odukpani-Itu, Kano-Katsina and Gombe-Numan-Yola all earmarked for rehabilitation and reconstruction.
Shehu, who featured in an interview programme on the Abubakar Rimi Television station in Kano on Monday, also stated that the Federal Government intends to rehabilitate all dilapidated highways including the Kaduna-Kano dual carriage way on which accidents have risen to dangerous levels.
He noted that provision for the reconstruction of the Kaduna-Kano highway had been made in the 2017 budget contrary to insinuations that the Buhari administration had abandoned Kano and other roads to cater to the roads in Kaduna because of the temporary closure of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
“President Buhari has not been deaf to the cries of the people of Kano as some have been insinuating.
“Other projects, such as the Kaduna-Abuja highway had to be given priority because of the temporary closure of the Abuja airport runway.
“It’s not as if the Buhari administration preferred to cater to the roads in Kaduna instead of those in Kano and other parts of the country,” he added.
He said: “I assure Nigerians in every part of the country that there is no need to feel left out of the government’s plans for development.
“The Buhari administration has made adequate provision for every part of the country in the budget.”
Relying on road accident data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), in its 2016 Road Transport Data in Abuja sometime in May, the presidential spokesman said 11,363 road accidents occurred in Nigeria in 2016.
He listed speed violation as the major cause of accidents in 2016, which accounted for 33.86 percent of the total road accidents reported.
According to the NBS report, loss of control and dangerous driving followed closely as they both accounted for 15.43 percent and 8.53 percent of the total road accidents recorded in the period under review.
Shehu said the report also indicated that a total of 30,105 Nigerians got injured in the accidents recorded in 2016.
Meanwhile, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday visited the Ilorin-Mokwa-Jebba Road to inspect the failed portion of the road.
Osinbajo has also directed the commencement of work to make the road passable pending the commencement of work on re-construction of the collapsed Bakino Bridge at Tatabu community near Mokwa in Niger State.
He gave the assurance having received briefs from top government officials including Power, Works & Housing Minister, Babatunde Fashola, and the contractors on site that the project would be executed in due course.
According to the acting president, “The minister of works is working on a lasting solution but in the interim we have assurances from the contractors and engineers working here that this road will be made passable in about a fortnight.”
He said construction work on building a new bridge would commence but that it would take some time for it to be completed due to the slow movement of material from Ilorin to the site.
“The contractors have informed me that movement of material to this location would be difficult and slow because of the deplorable nature of the road but with the commitment and support of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and other agencies, the job would be done in good time,” the acting president noted.