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