The federal government has completed the costruction and rehabilitation of the abandoned Ilorin -Jebba federal high way.
Federal Controller of works, Kwara State, Engr. Atitebi Wasiu Kunle, who announced this on Friday told a team of journalists led by the minister of Information and Culture, Alh. Lai Mohammed, that the 93.6km completed road is part of the entire road contract awarded since 13th December 2013 by federal government, stretching from Ilorin-Jebba – Mokwa route at the contract sum of N14.579 billion. He explained that the Kwara state section is 93.6km in length, and starts from somewhere 6km behind within Ilorin township and ends at after Jebba bridge.
"The road was constructed over 30 years ago and since then there has not been any attention on this road. For more than 10 years, this road was virtually abandoned because it completely collapsed because no vehicle could pass the road again. But those who had no alternative like those vehicles from the west to the north have to be plying it. Sometimes they have to be spending up to 6 days to get to either Jebba or Mokwa or beyond.
"The contract started in January 2014 with a contract period of 3 years. However the contract period has been extended till the end of this year. "I can tell you that the contractor has been paid and you can see the road has been completed from beginning till end with road signs. “The quality of work is international standard and comparable to those all over the world."
On the quality of the road, Engr. Wasiu said: "With the current traffic, the road can withstand between 15 to 20 years,” and that government is not stopping at that because dualisation of the road has been awarded to the same contractor and is expected that within the next two to three weeks works will commence at a total contract sum of N130b.
According to him, the Kwara state section of the proposed dualization is 80bn, while Niger state section is 50bn. Responding to questions, the Minister described the road as a very strategic axis to the nation’s economy because “it serves as a link between the South West and Northern axis, leading to Algeas." According to the minister, "This administration took over the road at 15.9% completion and today the road has been 100% completed by the contractor."
Explaining further, Alh. Mohammed said "The Niger state portion had to do mainly with rehabilitation of the road, the shoulders, the escavation and also the calvert. “The focus of this administration is on infrastructure, you can imagine if this Mokwa bridge is at the original, what will be the cost of food items today? It means that commuters have to look for another route or they will stop bringing food stuff across the country.
"We are not a govt that will put money in anybody's pocket, if this contract cost N10bn and you are giving all the politicians one one million, when they have taken the one one million, they will join in abusing government, saying there is no road and no bridge.
We will rather slowly and painstakingly revive the economy. Govt is working and the result is there for all to see." When asked if the road would be tolled, the minister said: "Not all roads are for tolling, because if you look at the idea of tolling, a road is to be able to recoup the cost of construction because in most cases people take loans to do these projects and to make it sustainable.
"The study is being compiled and at the end of the study, it will be decided whether we want toll. For us as a government, our focus is to provide these infrastructure. Whether we toll or we don’t toll there is still vehicles moving. This road carries 7,500 vehicles a day and about a year ago it was carrying probably one-tenth of that so I am quite glad."
Attesting to the sincerity of the present administration, the Baale of Bode Sadu Community in Moro LGA, Barr. Bolakale Yusuf, who expressed gratitude to government over the timely completion of the project said: "The road is the life wire of economy between the North/South. "We are so grateful to government. The people in this community will do all they can to protect, we see it as important asset.We have tested and still testing dividends of democracy.
"Before now, the road was terrible, we couldn't do anything. Our market closed down because people were not secured. It affected everything. It could take weeks to travel out of this axis. Fixing this road has done a whole lots of good. It has positively affected our people. "Our market closed down because people were not secured. It affected everything. It could take weeks to travel out of this axis. Fixing this road has done a whole lots of good. It has positively affected our people."
Also speaking, the federal controller of Niger state, Engr. I.F Umeh, who was represented by the resident Engr. along Jebba-Mokwa road, Engr. Samuel Isa Sumangu told the journalists that "Before now, the surface of the road was undulating and there was a lot of failure at the location but remedy came when we excavated up to 6meters and reinstated it with boulders. After that we lay our stone base, our binder cost and our wearing cost that is on our carriageway subsequently on all. “We have about 38 failed sections from here to Mokwa and the shoulders. Also,we have reinstated them. We have also built 2 cell box Calvert. "At the second longest failed sections which we have reinstated it is at Tara.
At this particular place, we reinstated with lateritic material then followed by our stone base, binder cost and wearing cost on the carriage way. Continuing, Sumangu expkained that: “This road was terribly bad to a point that some vehicles spend more than one week and are prone to accidents. But now it is a route that vehicles can ply. This section of the work is being funded by ecological fund. We have 2 locations of U shaped line train, 4 pipe cross Calvert and the double Cell box calvert. "The amount for this job is N1.07bn for 34kms but out of it, we did only 4.3km that was the fell sections."