The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, yesterday declared that Nigerian roads were not as bad as many people were claiming. However, he identified that the roads needed to be adequately maintained.
According to the former Lagos State Governor, some of the roads had outlived their design life, some still within their design life, while others were being built.
The Minister said these in his keynote address at the United Nations-sponsored capacity building programme for the Federal Road Safety Corps.
Fashola said, “They were built in the 1970s, and not only have they outlived their design life, they have had to deal with tonnage and capacities well beyond what their design intended. Can such a road be truly expected to stay intact and deliver a pleasant motoring experience?
“Thankfully, these types of roads are now receiving attention under President Buhari, as the Calabar-Itu-Odukpani, Gombe-Biu, Ilorin-Jebba and other roads that fall within this category are being awarded for reconstruction, along with the third class of roads, which are just being built.”
He added, “Members of the public must know that roads are depreciating assets. They do not last forever and require regular maintenance and, with time, replacement, if they are to serve their intended purpose. These factors of abuse and lack of maintenance combine to reduce the quality of our motoring experience on the roads.
“With this background, I will now pose the question: How bad are our roads? Some have repeatedly said, ‘All the roads are bad.’ That is not true. We have good parts and bad parts caused by abuse and lack of maintenance.
“I undertook a tour of our roads earlier this year to see things for myself. We went by road and travelled in two buses, driving for at least 12 hours every day. We left at 8am daily and drove until 8pm at the least. On one occasion, we drove for 18 hours, from 8am to 2am the following day.
“We drove through different sections of roads that had outlived their design life, those that are within their design life with failures in some cases, and those that are currently under construction.”