THE Nigerian government at the weekend restated its commitment to successful implementation of the $22.7 million highway project from Lagos to Abidjan in Ivory Coast.
Six years after the project was initiated, Babatunde Fashola, Nigeria’s Minister of Power, Works and Housing, said the nation has secured approval to kick-start Nigeria’s phase of the trans-national project.
The benefitting cities include Lagos in Nigeria, Accra in Ghana, Lomé in Togo, Cotonou in the Benin Republic and Abidjan in Cote d’Ivoire.
Fashola, who doubles as Chairman of the ministerial steering committee for the project disclosed this at the 12th Steering Committee and Experts Meeting for the Abidjan – Lagos corridor highway development programme, held Friday in Lome, Togo.
The Grant Retrocession Agreement between Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) member states and the African Development Bank (AfDB), including contracts for the feasibility, environmental, socio-economic and detailed engineering designs of the project was signed last February at the ECOWAS commission, Abuja to facilitate the project commencement.
The official remark, made available to The ICIR by Hakeem Bello, Special Adviser, Communications to the minister, Saturday emphasised that measures have been put in place where meeting would be held on quarterly basis among the member nations.
“The Nigerian Government has approved the commencement of works on the section of the road linking us with Seme Border with Republic of Benin,” says Fashola.
“This will be done in a flexible way to improve service to commuters, while making it adaptable to the results of the feasibility and technical studies.”
Fashola observed that from 2013 – 2016, there was no meeting held among the member nations.
However, he expressed satisfaction that the agreement which delayed the project execution has eventually been signed, as such the Nigeria corridor of the project would commence soonest.
He applauded the vision of the founding presidents of the committee who, according to him chose to go far as a team rather than going fast as individuals.
“Feasibility, technical, financial and related contracts which seemed so far from conclusion has now been signed,” Fashola said.
“Going together therefore means working as partners, recognising and respecting each other’s sovereignty and Governmental processes as well as diversity of languages.
“Therefore, while the personnel of Presidents and Ministers who launched this initiative have changed, the commitment to the project has not changed.”
Jean-Claude Brou, ECOWAS Commission President, during the signing had stated that the initiative was in recognition of the decision of the Presidents of Nigeria, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo and Benin in 2014 on the construction of the highway.
The six-lane Abidjan-Lagos corridor which is approximately 1,080 km is expected to connect some of the largest and economically dynamic cities in Africa and also link vibrant seaports which served landlocked countries of the region.
Source: By Olugbenga Adanikin