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ECOWAS delegation updates the Federal Government on the development of the Lagos-Abidjan Highway.

A delegation from five member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has briefed the Minister of Works, Engr. David Umahi, on the ongoing construction of the Lagos – Abidjan Highway initiated by Heads of State and Government of five ECOWAS Member States.

The ECOWAS delegation which was led by the ECOWAS Commissioner for Infrastructure, Energy and Digitalization Engr. Sediko Douka, met with Umahi, in Abuja, recently.

This was contained in a statement signed by the Assistant Director, Information and Press and Public Relations, in the Ministry of Works, Clement Ezeorah, in Abuja, on Wednesday.

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He quoted the Minister as saying that for ease of work and speedy completion, the highway project should have a process for its achievement like “sectioning the project,“ considering the peculiarities of the areas across the corridor and also noting that some areas might be viable while some may not be.

Umahi said, “I think for ease of work and speedy completion, the project should be sectioned and put a process in place to make the project achievable because some sections might be viable while some other sections might not be.”

He underscored the importance of the highway project saying that the road project would propel rapid integration of the region, boost commercial activities, and improve social development among member states.

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Umahi also advocated for the use of concrete pavement on the Nigerian corridor noting that there are a lot of advantages to using concrete in road construction without having issues of portholes or washouts, concrete roads have a longer lifespan, it can withstand heavy traffic loads, low maintenance, less affected by temperature fluctuations and that this has been adopted by the Nigerian government.

The minister also said, “A lot of advantages to using concrete to construct roads, concrete roads last longer compared to asphalt roads reducing the need for frequent repairs and maintenance, it’s stronger and can withstand heavy traffic loads, it also has low maintenance and this has been adopted by the Nigerian government.”

He equally explained that while adapting to feasibility results and technical studies, Nigeria would fast-track the completion of her section of the highway describing it as laudable and would enhance rapid growth.

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Towards this end, he proposed that “We should fast track the completion of our section following the feasibility result and technical studies and design. A laudable project for rapid growth and development

Earlier in his remarks, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Infrastructure, Mr Sediko Douka, expressed gratitude to the Minister for granting them an audience.

He noted that Africa’s economic integration is hampered by large deficits in its transportation infrastructure and thus the 2050 ECOWAS vision seeks to enhance infrastructure development recognized as a factor for economic growth and integration of people that will greatly contribute to the creation of a regional environment favourable to the free movement of people and goods.

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Douka said the 1,028 km road project was initiated by the Heads of State and Governments of the Corridor Member States namely: Benin 128km, Cote d’Ivoire 155km, Ghana 576km, Nigeria 79.5km and Togo 89.2km in Yamoussoukro, Cote D’Ivoire on 28th February 2013.

He added that the steering committee of the project is made up of the Ministers of Work of Corridor Member States and the commissioner for Infrastructure of the ECOWAS Commission and the Minister is automatically a member. Their role he said is to provide oversight guidance for the implementation of the project and each of the Ministers reports back to their respective Head of Government.

Also speaking, the Director of Infrastructure Department, ECOWAS, Engr, Malik Ashoke revealed that the link bridge between Nigeria and Cameroon has been completed and commissioned, nevertheless scanning machine and weighbridges are yet to be put in place, and are therefore requesting that the Nigerian Minister of Works may graciously aid in obtaining FG directive for ease of clearance of the equipment from the wharf.

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