by Chris Nyamtu – Lafia
Residents Want FG to Ensure Completion of Keffi – Lafia – Makurdi Road.
Road users and residents of Nasarawa State have appealed to the Federal, Benue and Nasarawa State Governments to monitor closely the ongoing dualization of Keffi – Akwanga – Lafia – Makurdi road to ensure timely completion of the project.
The dualization of Keffi – Akwanga – Lafia – Makurdi road in Benue and Nasarawa States which is a 220 kilometre project was flagged off by the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola in November 2018 to the cost of 1.6 billion Naira.
Since then, contractors handling the project, China Harbour Engineering Company Limited had moved to site and commenced work on the dualization of the road between Benue and Nasarawa States.
When Radio Nigeria visited some of the communities between Keffi and Lafia axis in Nasarawa State, it was gathered that new settlements and business centres were springing up along the high way due to the ongoing dualization of the road.
In an interview, a Paramount traditional ruler, the Sangarin Shabu in Lafia Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, Alhaji Mahmoud Bwalla said with the level of work done so far especially the expansion of the road, it had given a them huge relief.
He said, “before, the road used to be submerged any time it rained thereby forcing motorists travelling to the northern and eastern parts of the country to wait for long hours for the water to recede. But now with what they have done by expanding the road and creating culverts and bridges, we did not experience flooding this rainy season.”
” Also the project has assisted in checking cases of insecurity in our area. Criminal elements used to hide in bush closed to the road to launch attacks or rob residents and commuters alike but the construction company has cleared the bush to construct road there.”
The traditional ruler called on the federal government to ensure timely completion of the project and pay compensation for owners of properties affected by the project.
A shop owner Mr. Okafor Ndukwe who said he relocated to Azuba Bashayi recently to operate his business because of the road dualization, called on Benue and Nasarawa State Governments to establish a strong collaboration with the federal government to facilitate completion of the project.
” Since they started the road construction we thought they would not continue but with the level of work we are seeing, the government is serious about the work. You can see more shops are being built along the new road. We hope they will complete the work.”
Similarly, a commercial driver Mallam Adamu Garba pointed out that the road construction had reduced the rate of road crashes especially along the spot between Lafia and Akwanga which is popularly called “Many Have Gone”
Federal Controller of Works, Nasarawa State, Mr Idah Daikwo called on communities residing along the Keffi – Lafia – Makudi road to continue to cooperate with the contractor of the road project to achieve the targeted time frame for the completion of the work.
Project Manager, China Harbour Engineering Company Limited, Mr Li Qiang Qiang said over two thousand youths drawn across the 36 states of Nigeria were engaged in the project.
According to Mr Li Qiang Qiang, ” We are taking advantage of the dry season to put more effort to the work. We shall complete and hand over the project before 2023.
” As part of our corporate social responsibilities to the people, we have donated learning material to school children, pipe borne water and provided solar electricity to some communities in Benue and Nasarawa States.”
He added that the federal government of Nigeria had commenced payment of compensation for people who were affected by the road construction.