Succour may soon come to Ofeme Community in Abia State as the Federal Government and Dangote Industries Limited have kicked off the reconstruction of the roads and bridges in the community.
The reconstruction will be handled by AG-Dangote, a subsidiary of Dangote Industries.
The project is covered under Executive Order #7 of 2019, titled: ‘’Road infrastructure development and refurbishment investment tax credit scheme’’.
“Participating investors will use tax credits to reduce corporate taxes payable to government until they recoup the value of their investments in roads and bridges.”
President/Chief Executive, Dangote Industries Limited, Aliko Dangote, extolled the Federal Government for the Executive Order #7, which allows private sector intervention in the provision of critical infrastructure.
Dangote, represented by the Southsouth Regional Director of Dangote Cement, Mr. Okoro George, said a new dawn had come to Ofeme community as the deplorable state of their roads would soon be fixed.
He explained that the 16-kilometre road would form a ring road around Ofeme and connect it at two points to the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway, while the two bridges connecting the town to other communities, would be rebuilt.
According to him, “the entire road network will be built on concrete pavement instead of earth pavement, which has a lifespan of about 40 years. It will contain drains on both sides while the surface will be made of concrete also instead of asphalt”.
He added that AG-Dangote has established itself as a reputable construction firm having delivered the 26-kilometre Ibese-Itori concrete road in Ogun State, the two kilometre Apapa-Wharf dual carriage concrete road, the ongoing 43-kilometre Obajana-Kabba concrete road and the 35-kilometre Apapa-Oworonshoki Expressway.
Dangote Group, he said, pioneered the use of concrete for road construction in Nigeria, adding: “Countries that have achieved self-sufficiency in cement production have found it expedient to adopt the construction of concrete roads because they are cheaper, more durable and environment friendly. I believe Nigeria should not be an exception. We must move with the times.”
He said Dangote Group was ready to partner the government in providing critical infrastructure to lift the people’s living standard.
Minister of Power, Works and Housing Mr. Babatunde Fashola described the Ofeme Community road network reconstruction as a gigantic project that would open the community and surrounding towns to development.
The Minister, represented by Federal Controller of Works, Abia State, Mr. Nwankwo Chukwudike, an engineer, said the project on completion, would open up access roads to manufacturing clusters, reduce transportation cost and raise the people’s living standard.
It would make cheaper and easier movement of produce.
Ofeme Progressive Union President General Mr Ndubuisi Kanu expressed gratitude to the Federal Government and Dangote Group for selecting his community as a beneficiary of Executive Order #7, adding that Alhaji Dangote had shown so much love to Ofeme people.
Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okey Enelamah said the administration, desirous of providing critical infrastructure, enacted Executive Order #7, which involves partnering the private sector. He said the road reconstruction project is one of the many development oriented projects coming to the community.
Chairman of Dangote Cement, Aliko Dangote had earlier made strident calls for adoption of concrete roads in the country. He urged the federal government to embrace the option of using concrete for roads in the country. Aside from being very cheap, he said concrete roads are more durable and that its maintenance cost is near zero.
According to him:, “We are pushing for Nigeria to do a concrete road. It is cheaper to do a concrete road that will last over 40 years than to do a bitumen road. It will also help in eliminating corruption. The project is for the benefits of the community. It is obvious that the option for concrete roads will be the solution to solve the road infrastructural decay in the country. This is because concrete road is less expensive than asphalt road by almost 23 per cent and also we can build concrete road in less time.
“Even in terms of maintenance, we don’t need so much resources to maintain it like the asphalt roads. In countries like Brazil, Portugal, India, where they use concrete roads majorly, they don’t have the type of road challenges we have in Nigeria because concrete roads can last for a minimum of 40 years as against asphalt roads that can last for between seven and eight years. So, the good option for the Nigerian government will have to be for them to embrace the use of concrete roads,” he added.