Con­crete roads are cheaper, safer, stronger, Ag-dan­gote re­it­er­ates

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - NEWS -

THE Ag-dan­gote Con­struc­tion Com­pany has urged gov­ern­ment at all lev­els and en­gi­neers to switch over to rigid pave­ment for road con­struc­tion, say­ing it is more af­ford­able, durable, safer and stronger. Dan­gote Group’s Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor, Stake­hold­ers Man­age­ment and Cor­po­rate Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Mr. Ahmed Mansur, led the del­e­ga­tion of the Dan­gote Group to this year’s En­gi­neer­ing As­sem­bly of the Coun­cil for the Reg­u­la­tion of En­gi­neer­ing in Nige­ria (COREN) in Abuja with the theme: “The Nige­rian Built In­dus­try: Build­ing a Sus­tain­able Struc­ture with Al­lied Pro­fes­sion­als.”

Project Man­ager of AGDan­gote, Mr. Tunde Ji­moh, who made the ap­peal at the COREN as­sem­bly, said the max­i­mum life­cy­cle of flex­i­ble pave­ment, known as As­phalt road, is about 20 years.

Ji­moh, who added that the life­cy­cle of a rigid pave­ment or con­crete road is 40 years or more, said: “The pave­ment type cho­sen de­pends on a num­ber of fac­tors which in­clude ex­pected traf­fic wheel loads, load rep­e­ti­tions, cost of con­struc­tion, main­te­nance and so on.”

He said the Ag-dan­gote is cur­rently con­struct­ing the long­est con­crete road in the coun­try lo­cated in Kogi State. The Oba­jana-kabba road, he added, is a 43km con­crete road project due to be com­mis­sioned in De­cem­ber. He said the 24km Itori-ibese con­crete road had since been de­liv­ered and that the firm is also set to de­liver the dual car­riage Apapa Wharf Road in La­gos this month.

Ac­cord­ing to him, “this vi­sion of the de­vel­op­ment of con­crete roads in Africa is be­ing shared by more lead­ers and gov­ern­ments. The im­ple­men­ta­tion of con­crete roads can rev­o­lu­tionise in­fras­truc­tural de­vel­op­ment in Nige­ria and Africa as a whole.”

Be­sides, he said the cost of main­te­nance of as­phalt roads is higher four to seven times than con­crete roads.

He, how­ever, said the chal­lenge with rigid pave­ment con­struc­tion is that of lo­cally-sourced com­pe­tency of labour force.

gath­ered that due to the ex­or­bi­tant Right of Way (ROW) fees charged by states as against the agreed levy signed by the reg­u­la­tor, op­er­a­tors and the Gov­er­nors’ Fo­rum at a meet­ing, some op­er­a­tors have stopped ex­pan­sion drive, es­pe­cially the de­ploy­ment of fi­bre op­tic ca­bles, across the coun­try.

This chal­lenge is seen as a ma­jor im­ped­i­ment to the at­tain­ment of 30 per cent broad­band pen­e­tra­tion and 80 per cent In­ter­net cov­er­age of the coun­try by end of 2018.

Cur­rently, the coun­try has at­tained 22 per cent Broad­band pen­e­tra­tion, while In­ter­net pen­e­tra­tion mea­sured against the pop­u­la­tion (198 million) is around 48 per cent.

How­ever, the Nige­rian Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion (NCC) said about 200 ac­cess-gap ar­eas had been dis­cov­ered in the coun­try.

Ex­ec­u­tive Vice Chair­man of NCC, Prof. Umar Dan­batta, said at the draft of the NBP in 2013, min­i­mum and max­i­mum tar­gets were set, which were 20 per cent and 30 per cent for re­al­i­sa­tion by 2017 and 2018 from the four and five per cent pen­e­tra­tion then.

Dan­batta, who said the coun­try sur­passed the min­i­mum tar­get of 20 per cent last year, noted, ‘’ achiev­ing 22 per cent at this time means 75 per cent (of 30 per cent) suc­cess has been recorded, ad­e­quately sur­pass­ing the min­i­mum thresh­old.’’

He, how­ever, said the max­i­mum tar­get of 30 per cent would have been long achieved had other stake­hold­ers stepped up ef­forts a bit.

“The broad­band plan has two tar­gets; 20 per cent min­i­mum and 30 per cent max­i­mum. We have sur­passed the min­i­mum and are do­ing ev­ery­thing within our pow­ers to make the max­i­mum but other stake­hold­ers must also do their bits.

“It will in­ter­est you to know that the NCC is not the only stake­holder in the broad­band pen­e­tra­tion pur­suit. There are the Na­tional In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy De­vel­op­ment Agency (NITDA) vested with the re­spon­si­bil­ity of ca­pac­i­ty­build­ing, Nige­rian Uni­ver­si­ties Com­mis­sion (NUC), re­spon­si­ble for stim­u­lat­ing the in­ter­est of stu­dents to­wards In­for­ma­tion and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Tech­nol­ogy (ICT) and Galaxy Back­bone, which has the role of bring­ing ICT into gov­er­nance, among oth­ers.

“So, it is not in the hand of NCC alone to achieve the tar­get, but when all these stake­hold­ers do their own bits, we’ll achieve the tar­get to­gether,” Dan­batta stated. The NCC boss said the com­mis­sion, work­ing with an ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee set up by gov­ern­ment to in­crease broad­band ac­cess in the coun­try, is plan­ning to lay ad­di­tional 18,000km fi­bre in­fra­struc­ture to com­ple­ment the al­ready 40,000km on ground to im­prove ac­cess.

He stated that the Na­tional Economic Coun­cil is also work­ing to en­sure com­pli­ance with the har­monised price of N145 per me­tre for ROW.

Also, the Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer, Medal­lion Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Ikechukwu Nna­mani, who spoke with said states are not aware of the need for a vi­brant ICT in­fra­struc­ture, adding: ‘’The state au­thor­i­ties do not know what ICT can be­queath them. The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment needs to ur­gently in­ter­vene, or else, Nige­ria would also miss the gains of fourth in­dus­trial rev­o­lu­tion.’’

Global Pres­i­dent, So­ci­ety of Pe­tro­leum En­gi­neers, Darcy Spady ( left); Se­nior Vice Pres­i­dent, Ai­teo East­ern Ex­plo­ration and Pro­duc­tion Com­pany, Vic­tor Oko­ronkwo and Chair­man, So­ci­ety of Pe­tro­leum En­gi­neers, Nige­ria, Chikezie Nwosu, dur­ing a visit to the Ai­teo Group Head Of­fice in La­gos… at the week­end.

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