The Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) says it will continue to engage in the regular maintenance of the 16 existing federal roads, covering 1,275 kilometres, in Bauchi State.
Mr Nanfan Joroh, Roads Maintenance Engineer in charge of FERMA Bauchi Office, gave the assurance at a one-day workshop, which has “The Benefits of Stakeholders Engagement in Road Management and Maintenance” as its theme.
Joroh said that the agency, in a recent intervention, executed five different road projects, which included Kari-Yana, Bauchi-Kari-Yobe State border, Bauchi- Ningi, Bauchi-Tafawa Balewa and Bauchi-Katagum-Gamawa roads.
He also said that FERMA had also awarded contracts for the general maintenance of the Bauchi-Jos border, Bauchi-Gombe, Bauchi-Tafawa Balewa and Bauchi-Ningi roads.
According to him, the projects also include the reconstruction of damaged culverts, bridges and embankments.
Joroh, however, noted that the agency was facing the challenges of insecurity, particularly when working at night and, therefore, called on the police to provide the workers with adequate security cover, so as to make them feel secured while doing their jobs.
He also said that other obstacles hindering the operations of the agency included the lack of a befitting field office and operational vehicles, as well as natural disasters such as flooding, which often ravaged the roads.
Earlier, the guest speaker, Mr Mike Oluwagbemi, a civil engineer, said that roads, as critical infrastructure, were important in connecting communities, enhancing transportation and promoting economic activities.
Oluwagbemi, an official of Loftyinc Ltd., a consulting firm, stressed that road maintenance was imperative to national development, hence the need for private-sector participation in the process.
He commended the Federal Government under the present administration, for its priority attention on infrastructure development projects across the country.
Oluwagbemi said that out of the 200,000 kilometres of roads in Nigeria, only 34,000 kilometres belonged to the Federal Government, as against the 90 per cent of the Trunk B and C roads, which belonged to the state and local governments respectively.
He reiterated that road maintenance was a collective responsibility, adding that there was, therefore, the need for collective actions by all stakeholders to ensure that the roads were motorable.
He noted that factors such as population explosion, human behaviours and pressure were some of the negative challenges affecting the roads.
“Indiscriminate erection of speed beakers, abuse of pavements, waterways and deliberate creation of potholes are some of the bane on our roads,” he said.
The workshop, which was organised by FERMA in collaboration with Loftyinc Ltd., had participants from the National Union of Road Transport Workers, National Association of Road Transport Owners, Federal Road Safety Corps, Nigeria Union of Journalists and the Police, among others.