Some lawmakers and stakeholders on Wednesday commended Federal Government’s move to include Lagos-Badagry expressway among 12 highways for concession in the country.
They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in a separate interviews that the move was a welcome development.
NAN reports that a total of 75 firms on Tuesday submitted bids to Federal Ministry of Works and Housing as concessionaires for 12 federal roads across the country.
Some of the firms that submitted bids include China Road and Bridge Corporation Nigeria Limited, Dafac Capitals Limited, Dantata & Sawoe Construction Company (Nigeria) Limited, Diamond Straples Limited, and EK Holdings Limited.
The ministry said the bids were for value-added concession for 12 federal roads under the Highway Development and Management Initiative (HDMI).
The 12 roads to be concession under the first phase of the HDMI are: Benin – Asaba, Abuja – Lokoja; Kaduna – Kano; Onitsha – Owerri – Aba; Sagamu – Benin; Abuja – Keffi – Akwanga; Lokoja – Benin; Enugu – Port Harcourt; Ilorin – Jebba; Lagos – Ota – Abeokuta; Lagos – Badagry; and Kano – Shuari – Potiskum – Damaturu.
Mr Babatunde Hunpe, the lawmaker representing Badagry in the House of Representatives, said the concession of the international road would be of great benefit to Nigerians and other ECOWAS travellers.
“If this is the only way that will get the the international highway done on time, the government should go ahead.
“The idea of concession is not bad as long as the road construction will be completed on time.
“The contract for the reconstruction of the international expressway has been on since 2018 but the contractor is very slow because of lack of funds.
“My appeal is that whoever is giving the contract should minimize the toll so that the residents and motorists will enjoy it,” he said.
Also speaking, Mr Setonji David, the lawmaker representing Badagry Constituency 2 in Lagos State House of Assembly, said the move was good as long as it would alleviate the suffering of Badagry residents.
“Whatever the government can do urgently to alleviate the sufferings of my people, I will support.
“We have suffered neglect for too long. How can a major and the only road that link us with the rest of the country be abandoned for so long?
” It is very unfortunate for this country. Don’t forget that this is a major link between Nigeria and the ECOWAS subregion,” he said.
Mr Suru Avoseh, a Commissioner in Lagos State Civil Service Commission, said the move was good if it would be the easiest way out of the “deathtrap expressway.”
“If concession of Lagos-Badagry expressway will be the easiest way out of the deathtrap we have now as an international route, so be it.
“I will only advise the Honourable Minister of Works and Housing to call for stakeholders meeting whereby all stakeholders are involved and the reason behind it explained and its aftermath effects.
“Also, if that is going to be, let the full expansion of 10-Lanes initially planned with Lite Rail especially the BlueLine by the Honourable Minister himself be accommodated as a continuation from Okokomaiko to Seme Border,” he said.
Mr Ovie Edomi, the publisher of South-South magazine and resident of Badagry, said concession of roads was not a bad idea provided the road users would get value for the money they would pay as toll for such usage.
“As for the Badagry expressway, it is an international route and for such road to be concession, it means that there has to be provision for an alternative route where motorists who do not have money can pass.
“This will take care of the free movement of goods and persons in line with the ECOWAS protocol.
“That way, those who have the resources to ply the concession road can gladly ply it and possibly get value for the money paid.
“Meanwhile, this road map of creating an alternative route should apply also to other routes after all, provision of roads and social amenities are core responsibilities of government the world over,” he said.
Mr Babatunde Ajose, a tourism expert, said that the move was a laudable step in the right direction.
“We should be able to face the reality that government at various levels cannot continue to fund road construction and rehabilitation in the face of continuous dwindling resources.
“Road concession seems to be the lowest hanging fruits we can explore as a country to avoid more borrowings and the issue of abandon projects.
“Several countries around the world have used this arrangement and it is working perfectly for them.
“Looking at roads that has been concession in Nigeria, we will discover that they are doing very well and a good example is the Lekki-Epe Expressway in Lagos.
“I welcome the announcement and I support it in totality, what we should do as citizens is to monitor developments and makes sure everything is done with due process and the right deal is signed,” he said.
Mr Sewhude Akande, representing Badagry Chamber of Commerce Industry, Mine and Industry (BACCIMA), said it would ease the movement of goods and services and revive the dwindling economic fortune of Badagry Division in particular and Lagos at large.
“The loss to businesses due to the bad state of the road cannot be compared to the tolls that will be paid when the road is concession.
“We can’t eat our cake and have it. Funds have been budgeted for the roads without required allocation perhaps due to the economic situation of the country.
” So, if concession will bring the required succor, the government should do so on terms that will be favourable to businesses and residents in the area and those plying the route.
“However, the government should also look at ways of giving businesses in the area tax reliefs to assuage the burden tolling on the road may have on businesses and economic activities in the area,” he said. (NAN)