Governors of the 36 state governments of the federation have agreed to take over the construction and management of some federal roads under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
The governors are to submit to President Muhammadu Buhari a strategic plan that would guide the handover and management process.
Ebonyi State governor, Dave Umahi, who briefed State House Correspondents at the end of the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday in Abuja, decried the deplorable condition of roads in the country.
The development, he said, was worsening and needed states with capacity to manage them with a view to checking the needless carnage and loss of man-hours on these facilities nationwide.
Council was highly concerned about the failure of our roads, even after fixing them,” he said.
Umahi, who was joined at the briefing by his Kwara and Kebbi counterparts as well the Director General of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Segun Awolowo, also lamented that the axial load of more than 35 tonnes trucks carrying mostly fuel and other goods was responsible for the failing highways nationwide.
The NEC, which comprises the governors, ministers of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Finance, Budget, National Planning as well as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), directed the Minister of Power, Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola, to also come up with a strategy to regulate the weight of heavy trucks plying the nation’s roads.
According to the Ebonyi State governor, council members were worried that the highways “collapsed within six months after their fixing. We identified that the over-loading is one of the major factors, because in road design, you take an axial load, most of the time you don’t use an axial load of more than 35 tonnes but we have noticed that a lot of our trucks carrying mostly fuel do 45,60,70 tonnes and that’s a major concern to the state governors.”
Umahi said: “The state governors are very much concerned about these failures. It’s been agitating our minds, and we are soliciting that the Federal Government should give out some of these roads to states to fix through investors and toll them.
“And we believe strongly that in view of the number of roads that is being handled by Federal Government, there would be no amount of budget that can fix them.”