Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has explained why road construction was suspended during the lockdown imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19 across the country.
Speaking with Funmi Iyanda on a Public Eye interview on Friday, Mr Fashola said the lockdown made production and transportation of materials needed for construction impossible.
“Most of the materials used to construct the road like rocks and laterites in Lagos for example come from Ogun State. So, if there is a lockdown at the boundaries, how do you move them?
“This is apart from the process of mining and blasting rocks in an environment that requires people to work and lift things together while complying with current rules and guidelines of social distancing.
“These were why work stopped,” the former governor of Lagos said.
With the government implementing a gradual and phased easing of lockdown, Fashola said the Federal Government and state governments have approved that 11 contractors who are executing 53 projects, across 26 states should start work.
“They are all remobilising back to site, but we are doing it under very stringent guidelines about how they would work and feed at the site because they cannot share utensils anymore.
“This a logistic challenge that nobody has a rulebook for, nobody prepared for this, so, we are adapting and moving as we go on.”
Before the lockdown, Fashola said his ministry had inspected all federal road projects across the country.
“We have over 600 road projects nationwide. There is no state in Nigeria where we are not executing a road project,” the minister added.
Recognising inadequate accommodation as a prevalent across the world, he said the President Muhammadu Buhari administration is committed to providing affordable housing for Nigerians.
Also speaking with Ms Iyanda, chairman of the Federal Government advisory committee on the impact of coronavirus on the creative industry, Ali Baba, said it “a fact-finding committee.”
He urged the public to not assume it is a palliative distribution committee for the creative sector.
“Maybe there will be a committee set up to hand out palliatives, but we are just a data collection committee,” he said.