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Yobe hopes to boost agriculture and commerce through road construction, says Works commissioner

Yobe is an agrarian state in which more than 90 percent of its people are farmers. What has the state government done to improve the…

Yobe is an agrarian state in which more than 90 percent of its people are farmers. What has the state government done to improve the lots of this people in order to give them confidence that there is hope for the future?

The state government under the leadership of Alhaji Ibrahim Gaidam has entered into a covenant with the people and for the next fifty years, by the Grace of God, the legacies we are putting on ground will sustain us through a robust social and economic development. We have recorded landmark achievements in all sectors of the economy including agriculture, health, education, commerce and human development. We are convinced in what we are doing and based on the mandate we got from our people, we believe this is the pay time and that is exactly what we are doing.

In the ministry of works, what are the achievements of the government in terms of infrastructrue development?

Without sounding too much, I want to say that in the last eighteen months, there is no state government in Nigeria that has constructed the number of roads that we have done in Yobe. What we have on ground now is about 1000 kilometres of new roads. Some of them include the 109 kilometres Kaliyari-Bayamari-Gaidam road; the 35km Gaidam-Maine Soroa road (completed) the 31 km Gaidam Bukarti (nearing completion), the 155km Garin-Alkali-Girgir-Jakusko-Potiskum and the repair of the 24km critical portions of the Nguru-Gashua road.

The 56km Nguru-Machina road will be completed in the next one week; the 3km road network inside the Bukar Abba Ibrahim University has been completed. We have also completed the 3.7km roads in the state House of Assembly and the premises of the high court. We also have 10.7km road network in the newly completed 300 housing units along Maiduguri road.

We have the 17km Dogon-Kuka- Wachakal road which has been completed; the 7km Bukarti-Azamkura road also completed; the 3km Uzuk-Azak road has been completed; the 35km Tarmuwa-Shekau-Koriyel road, the 15km Babban-Gida-Chirokusko road, the 17km Ngelzarma-Mashio road which have been completed; the 17km Ngelzarma-Ganshengele road that would be completed in the next one week; the 13km Dogon-Kuka-Daura road which have been completed; the 2km Fika town entrance which have been completed long ago and commissioned by the governor.

The state government has also completed the 15km Damaturu township road phase 1 and the 15.8 km Damaturu township road phase 11 is nearing completion. We have completed the 18km Damaturu inner ring road with its accompanying four new roundabouts. Before now, there was only one roundabout in the state capital.

The state government has also approved the sum of N1,619,485,041.36 for the construction of 10km road and drainages in Gashua town and another N1,599,958.666.69 for the 13.7km road and drainages in Potiskum town which is the business hub of the state.

Another N210, 493,718.75 has been approved for the survey and design of the 300km Machina -Kanamma road which will link six local government areas in the northern fringes of the state that are bordering Niger Republic.  The road will start from Kanamma and then pass through Kumaganam, Bukarti, Maila Lafiyi, Karasua, Maimalari, Gumsi and then Machina. When completed, the road will be the single longest road project carried out by this administration and it will grossly improve cross-border businesses which will bring wealth to our people. It is a good concept because we want to trace the famous trans-Sahara route that once passed through the northern parts of Yobe.

The proximity of the road to Niger Republic will also enhance trade and commerce. We have already linked Nigeria and Niger Republic through Gaidam-Maine-Soroa road but we need another linkage through Gumsi, another one through Machina and another one through Karasuwa.

Another approval has been granted for the survey and design of the 75km Bayamari-Yunusari-Bukarti road at the cost of N69,547,000.00. This will also give opportunity for our farmers to have value for their farm produce.

When you put together all these roads and many others that are ongoing, you will see that we have more than 1000km of roads to our credit and over 70 percent of them have been completed. It is really legendary for a state government to do this even though some of the roads belong to the federal government. We believe that these roads will open the corridor whereby people would be moving with their goods and services without much hindrance.

How much did it cost the state to construct these roads?

I am afraid I cannot give you the exact cost of all the roads now because I don’t have all the papers on my table and I don’t want to give you wrong figures. However, the truth is that we have sunk billions of naira into these projects and in 2010 alone, the ministry of works got the highest allocation of over N13.5 billion from the budget.

How long will it take for the remaining roads to be completed?

It depends on the contractual agreement and you know we are dealing with various contractors. Some have promised to deliver by December this year and some will finish their own in March next year. We have a template for the completion of all our contracts and we have made it clear that there is no room for variation. So any contractor who delays his work with the intention to seek additional money; will not get it because we will not entertain such complaints. Previously, contractors were being sceptical about completing projects on time because of the payment schedule. In our own case, there is no contractor who has not been paid his money.

From where are you getting the money for these projects?

The truth is that we hardly get more than two billion naira as statutory allocation from the federal government every month and we have twenty one ministries, many agencies and parastatals. The salary of the state government workers is nearing N1 billion every month. So the bottom line of our success is prudent management of resources. We always give contractors 40 percent of the contract sum as mobilization fees after they give us a bank guarantee from a reputable bank which assures that our money is in safe hands. We also have engineers in out ministry who are attached to the contractors for an on the spot assessment of work.

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