The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, says the ministry will revive its Bridge Maintenance and Rehabilitation Unit in order to ensure efficient maintenance of bridges across the country.
The minister said this in Abuja at NANForum, the flagship interview programme of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
He said that maintenance of public infrastructure was part of the Federal Government’s strategy of improving the human condition and creating employment.
“Maintenance is also part of that strategy of improving the human condition and creating work and employment.
“Divers are working under many of our bridges. These are people who were unemployed before.
“This ministry developed the maintenance policy, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved it and we budgeted for it in collaboration with Budget Finance and National Planning and the National Assembly.
” Now it is yielding impact on people. So, everywhere you go, whether it is Chanchangi Bridge or Eko Bridge, you see people working.
“We intend to sustain it because we are now reviving the Bridge Maintenance and Rehabilitation Unit of the ministry; it is going to
come back to life.
“There is also an industry connected with bridge maintenance; most of the expansion joints and the bearings are not made in Nigeria and they are largely fabrication and we are having to import this,’’ Fashola said.
The minister also gave an assurance of the ministry’s commitment to repair bridges that are in bad state.
” We already have an inventory of all federal bridges, I think 1,701 nationwide and when you say we have bridges in disrepair, America has close to 200,000 bridges in different states of disrepair.
“If you want to compare and contrast just go and read President Biden’s infrastructure plan; according to him, you cannot travel five kilometres without hitting a pothole.
“So, this is a global problem and we must also understand that infrastructure especially our roads are depreciating assets.
“Once you start building and they start being used, depreciation starts but we are working on all these bridges,’’ he said.(NAN)