The Minister of Works, Dave Umahi, has disclosed that he was moved to tears during a recent inspection of federal roads, highlighting the challenges faced in achieving President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s ambitious plans due to procurement processes.
Umahi, the former Governor of Ebonyi State, expressed his distress over the condition of existing federal roads, asserting that none of them can endure for more than seven years. He remarked, “I shed tears for the kind of pains our people are going through.”
During a meeting with contractors representing the six geo-political zones at the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja, Umahi drew attention to the dire state of some roads, emphasizing that they are not just plagued by potholes but resemble “boreholes.”
He also expressed his disappointment with how contractors compromise on the quality of materials used in road construction across the country, stating, “There is no project being constructed right now in Nigeria that is going to last for seven years. The question is, are we going to be maintaining or reconstructing our roads every 10 years?”
Umahi recounted his own experience, travelling from Abuja to Benin City through Lokoja, where multiple stretches of the road were under contract. Despite these ongoing projects, he lamented the poor state of the roads, noting that he spent 14 hours on the journey and witnessed the hardships endured by the people.
President Tinubu had requested that Umahi personally visit these projects and report back on his experiences to provide an accurate assessment. Umahi stressed the need for improvements in procurement processes, citing delays and challenges arising from the Bureau of Public Procurement’s no-objection certificate procedures that hinder contractors from executing additional tasks as directed.