Last week Monday the editorial board of this medium wrote an (FOI) letter to the Federal Comptroller of Works in Zamfara inquiring whether the ongoing reconstruction of Gusau Lalan to Lalan is being executed with his official consent.
The reasons why the editorial board picked interest on that particular ongoing project is because of the continued public outcry about the unprofessional nature at which the road is being reconstructed, especially the drainage component of the road.
Many people came to our office to complain that even at the local government headquarters you cannot reconstruct as tiny as that road with drainage at a measurement where a road shoulder is supposed to be constructed.
We reminded the Federal Controller about what the Federal government gazette has earmarked for a portion of a federal highway which is (45.72 mtrs) from the center line and where it is an express road in case of the current Lalan-Lalan the measurement should be for both the lanes.
We also reminded him what the same gazette provided in terms of provision of (10fts) on each of the Federal highway for road shoulder, which in the case of Lalan to Lalan is where the drainage is being constructed.
Furthermore, we also intimated him generally about the massive violation of “right of way” in Zamfara state especially at the capital city, and we cited many references for him, one of them is the ongoing construction of shops along Anguwar Gwaza round about adjacent Tankin Ruwa.
We have also copied the State Commissioner for Works and also the Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corp because the State Ministry for Works even if they are not the original clients of the ongoing road reconstruction they have the right of supervision.
The Sector Commander, on the other hand, has the responsibility of advising the Federal ministry of Works on the safety nature of state roads including the federal highways.
Generally speaking, from the information we have received the State government has failed to seek for the consent of the Federal Ministry of Works before it commences the reconstruction work of the Lalan-Lalan express road which is wrong decision in all ramifications knowing fully that federal highways do not belong to the state governments
Again we want to avoid pre-empting the response to be given to us by the Federal Controller of Works because the seven (7) ultimatum as provided for by the FOI Act do not elapsed, but we have learned that he has instructed for erecting of “Stop Work Notice” along the portion of the Lalan area where the construction of the drainage had started on Friday and that means he is becoming more alive to the concern of the people.
No serious people would welcome this type of road reconstruction because it does not make any sense at all. This is trying to sale Zamfara state out again as if “we don’t have professional engineers at the state Ministry of Works or even at private level who are to be keenly consulted before this type of embarrassment is done on our only image making highway in the state capital”.
We have learned that same day we sent our (FOI) letter the leadership of “Nigerian Society of Engineers” Zamfara State branch had visited the Federal Controller of Works to register their dis-appreciation on the reconstruction of the same road project.
This means the Federal Ministry of Works should stand firm to making sure that Zamfara state government and indeed the company handling the project have done what is necessary.
We cannot continue to be embarrassed as Zamfara people.
While awaiting the officials’ response of the Federal Ministry of Works, we would continue to watch things as they unfold.