Economic activities in rural communities in the North East have increased with the construction and renovation of major road networks funded majorly with the Sukuk Bond raised by the Federal Government.
Reports shows that most of the ongoing road construction and repairs can be found in Adamawa, Gombe, Bauchi and Borno states.
In Gombe State, the roads under construction include the Gombe-Kaltungo road and emergency repair and reinstatement of failed sections of the Gombe- Bauchi road. While in Bauchi State, road construction is ongoing at Tudun Wuss to Dot-Kwanar road as well as Burga-Sum road.
In Adamawa, the controller of works, Salisu Abubakar, said the construction of 112km Mayo-Belwa road contract was awarded and started in August 2017 at the sum of N22.69bn.
Similarly, at the 46.3 kilometer Cham-Numan road which is a section of the Gombe-Yola road, the controller, Salish Abubakar, said that the road project had been covered up to 11km and is at 20.1 per cent completion.
The project manager, Wang Sang of Chinese Geo Corporation (CGC) Nig. Ltd, said the road construction has provided over 2,000 direct and indirect employments to Nigerians.
The story is not different at the 68km Gombe-Kaltungo road, where machines and workers were seen on site. The Controller of Works, S.K Ahmed, said the project is at 84 per cent completion stage as 60km had successfully been covered, adding that the company was working hard to complete and deliver it in April 2019 instead of December 2019.
However, the situation was not the same at the Tudun Wuss-Dot road construction project in Bauchi State. The 47km road only has about 19 per cent completion rate and it is expected to be completed by May 2019.
Asked why the road construction is slow, the project manager of the site Roni Samaah of Datum Nig. Ltd, said payment of compensation to the residents as well as the rainy season slowed down the work.
In Borno State, the 145km dualisation of Kano-Damaturu- Maiduguri road is at 47 per cent completion, the controller of works, Yahaya Ali, said.
The Project Manager of Messrs CCECC Nig. Ltd, Sende Titus, said the dualisation of the road is on course, adding that it will be delivered by December 2019.
He added that the stability of the security situation in the region has aided their work.
In the same vein, the dualisation of Kano-Maiduguri road (Azare-Potiskum section) has attained 89.64 per cent completion with 105.5km covered out of the 106km length.
The Project manager of Mothercat Ltd, Fadi Khoury, commended the Federal Government for prompt release of contract funds of N45bn which will ensure the completion and opening of the road in April, ahead of the scheduled completion date of November 2020.
The progress of road construction in Yobe State is no different when the inspection team from the Federal Ministry of Works visited.
The dualisation of the Potiskum-Damaturu road of 106.3km at the cost of N51.bn has recorded huge success.
Our business is now booming – Commuters, residents
A resident of Maparam village in Mayo-Belwa Local Government of Adamawa State, Sani Adamu, said the construction of Mayo-Belwa road has cut the cost of transporting his goods to half the previous fares.
“Before the construction of this road, I paid N200 or even more for motorcyclists to convey my purchases which I end up selling without gain. Now I pay N100 or even less,” he said
In Yobe State, the village head of Alaraba in Potiskum Area Council, Ibrahim Barde, said the dualisation of the Potiskum-Damaturu road has benefitted his community immensely.
“In this village, we rely mainly on rearing cattle to earn a living. Without good roads we can’t go anywhere with them to sell. With the road now, we can move the cattle to Damaturu and sell and also easily move to other places.
“We appreciate the effort of government in boosting our economic base,” the village head added.
Also, a commercial motorist who plies the Damaturu-Maiduguri road said that before, he hardly plied the road due to its bad condition.
“Before the Federal Government began the massive construction of this road I couldn’t carry passengers because I spent hours on the road, also the security situation was bad.
“Now, I spend no more than two hours on the same journey and have been carrying passengers to and fro to get money and feed my family,” he added.
Also, aside the economic benefits of the road, it was observed that the construction work has provided about 5,000 direct and indirect jobs for residents in the North East where the projects are taking place.
Most of the residents have been at home for years without having anything tangible to fall back on as income.
One of the workers, Jethro Samuel, who hails from Kaduna State, said he graduated from Kaduna State College of Education and as he had no job, traveled all the way to work at the construction site.
Another worker, Solomon Markson, a graduate of Gombe State University, said “I was teaching and earning N15,000 but left the job to be at the site where I am paid N32,000, more than double of what I was getting, because my intention is to make some savings and go back for my master’s degree,” he added.
Second Sukuk bond tranche to hasten work – FG
The Federal Government has assured contractors who appealed for speedy financial releases that plans have been put in place to release the second tranche of the Sukuk funded bond.
The Director of Works for Highway in the North East, at the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Mohammed Rufai, gave the assurance during the inspection of ongoing road projects in the zone.
Rufai said “You are aware that the Federal Government released the N100bn second batch of Sukuk bond, so modalities are being worked out to process them and ensure they are available for contractors to deliver the roads in due time.”