“STRIKE MUST BE A LAST RESORT” - FASHOLA
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola has expressed that industrial actions such as strike should be the last resort and not the first option when trying to resolve problematic situations or issues.
Fashola stated this at a meeting with the leadership of the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) and the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD), branch of NUPENG when the former paid him a courtesy visit on Thursday, February 1st, 2018 at the Ministry conference room.
He revealed that the Tatabu Bridge will be completed before the end of the year but however denied corrupt practices in road execution as alleged, saying that the “solution to bad roads is a long process” while requesting that evidence and proof of corrupt practices concerning the sector should be brought forward for investigation.
The National President of NARTO, Dr. Kassim Bataiya, earlier in his speech commended the Federal Government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari and particularly applauded the Ministry for its commitment and performance thus far.
Dr. Bataiya noted that the present administration is making effort to reverse the situation of bad roads by approving the rehabilitation, dualisation, construction and re-construction of several Federal highways across the six geo-political zones.
While enumerating the causes of road failure to poor design and construction; poor maintenance; use of low quality materials, heavy traffic and so on, the association suggested both short and long terms recommendations such as banning the importation of 60,000-litre capacity tanks into the country, the use of rail transport for the movement of heavy equipment, FERMA to be directed towards ensuring routine maintenance are carried out on regular basis, dumping of refuse, as well as hawking to be prohibited amongst others.
The Association further appealed to government ‘to take cognizance of the non-availability of trucks”, and “think of how to provide enough trucks to transport the extra load that will be generated due to the application of the axle load policy. It stated that the total number of active trucks in the country is not more than 20,000.
A presentation of update and work done so far on Federal roads and bridges was done by the Director, HighWays Planning and Development, Chukwunwike Ogbonna Uzo, who explained that the ministry had already planned to meet with all stakeholders in the sector in other to wholistically fashion out the way forward for the sector.
Also in attendance at the meeting was the Minister of State I, Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Honourable Mustapha Baba Shehuri and relevant Directors of the Ministry.