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Reps hold public hearing on concrete roads

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The House of Representatives Joint Committee on Works, Environment, Finance, Justice, and Science & Technology, on Thursday, held a one-day public hearing on the adoption of concrete technology for road construction in Nigeria.

Declaring the event open, the Speaker of the House, Tajudeen Abbas, lamented the poor condition of roads across the country.

Represented by the Chief Whip, Bello Kumo, the Speaker described road construction as a critical component of the ‘Renewed Hope Agenda’ of the Federal Government.

Speaking further, Abbas charged all stakeholders present to lay bare the issues, promising to address them through legislative intervention.

The Chairman of the Joint Committee, Akin Alabi, lamented that most road contractors engaged by the government do not give value for money, adding that the 10th Assembly will do its best to change the narrative.

“The committee will be thorough and transparent in its mandate. We will be thorough in our mandate and will be fair to all,” he assured.

He also spoke on the core objectives of the public hearing, emphasising that it is not meant to witch-hunt anyone but to deliver quality road networks to Nigerians.

Also speaking, the Chairman, Nigerian Institution of Highway and Transportation Engineers, Saidu Hassan, counselled the parliament to subject the policy to the scrutiny of highway stakeholders to ensure that the appropriate engineering procedures and processes are strictly adhered to.

The agency also told the lawmakers that to adopt the proposed concrete roads, ample time is required in order for the importation of new equipment and training of relevant manpower.

On his part, the Chairman, Board of Trustees, Nigeria Society of Engineers, Emeka Ezeh, argued that since several factors come to play during road construction, such as the amount of money involved, the contractors, and the equipment, among others, the role of the parliament should be to legislate but not to decide what model of roads to construct.

Representative of the Ministry of Works, Adedamola Kuti, said the use of concrete must be reconsidered in view of the harsh economic environment arising from fluctuation in the exchange rate.

Some of the invited stakeholders at the hearing include the Federal Ministry of Works, Federal Ministry of Environment, Federal Ministry of Finance, Nigeria Society of Engineers Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria and the National Union of Road Transport Workers NURTW, among others.

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