Rehabilitation of the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano dual carriageway with a length of about 375km, a major trunk road linking the southern and northern parts of the country, has been flagged off by the Federal Government.
The Abuja-Kano reconstruction, according to the government, is among three critical road projects across the country that will benefit from the Infrastructure Development Fund it recently created.
The government had in May approved the transfer of about $650 million (about N198.9 billion) to the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) as initial funding for the take-off of the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The PIDF would be managed by the NSIA and the fund is expected to be invested in critical road and power projects across the country.
Ongoing projects mostly impacted by paucity of funding include the 2nd Niger Bridge, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, East—West Road, Abuja to Kano Road, and Mambilla Hydroelectric Power.
The Federal Executive Council in December 2017 approved the award of contract for the rehabilitation of the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria- Kano road to Julius Berger Nigeria Plc at the sum of N155, 470,626,078.07 with a completion period of 36 calendar months.
The contract was divided into three sections. Section 1 of the Abuja-Kano project starts from Zuba junction and terminates at the Kaduna Western Bypass in Kaduna with an approximate length of 165km; Section II begins from the Kaduna – Zaria road at the Kawo bridge junction and terminates in Zaria with a length of 73.40km, while Section III connects Zaria town to Kano State with a length of 137.00km.
Speaking during the flag off ceremony of the road projects recently, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola in Kano, said the Kano-Abuja road project; Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and Second Niger Bridge have been listed to be the first beneficiaries of the newly approved infrastructure development fund.
The gesture, the minister noted will ensure stable funding until the projects’ completion. The 375.4km road project had for 10 years suffered neglect despite buoyancy of the past administration, he said.
“These strategic roads which carry some of the heaviest traffic and which connect the north and south of the country, have either being stalled or simply deteriorated for about a decade for lack of funding at a time the country made a lot of money from the sale of crude oil,” he stated.
Fashola emphasised that there would be no reason to stop work on the three projects, stressing that President Buhari had already assured on their full completion.
Also speaking at the flag off, the Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, said the 375.4km project will improve livelihoods of the people and reduce road carnages.
“For many years, this road has become a death trap and we are very pleased that finally, the government is taking concrete action.
“A distance of 374km is a medium distance; most people will rather take their car from Kano to Abuja than go by plane. Many people have been forced to spend hours on the road waiting for airplane. So, it is clear that this is a road that needs to be repaired and this act will contribute in no small measure to the welfare of the people.
We appreciate the Federal Government for doing this while we look forward to speedy completion,” Sanusi added.
In his remarks, Kano State Governor Abdullahi Ganduje decried high rate of casualties on the road due to its neglect.
Ganduje, represented by his Deputy, Prof. Hafeez Abubakar, said the reconstruction would curb hardship regularly witnessed on the roads by commuters. He said mishaps were recorded almost on daily basis on the road.