The Federal Controller of Works in Kogi, Jimoh Kajogbola, disclosed during an on-the-spot assessment on Saturday to ascertain the extent of the damage in Obajana.
A section of the Lokoja-Kabba federal highway between Zariagi and Dangote Cement factory, Obajana, caved in on Monday evening necessitating diversion to other routes. Kogi residents have warned for years that Dangote Cement has failed to ensure adequate maintenance of the road despite its overwhelming use by its heavy-duty trucks.
Mr Kajogbola said the minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, approved the ever-busy road linking the cement factory with other parts of the country to be reconstructed with embankments and harder relief box culverts.
“The unfortunate incident here happened on Monday evening and since then we all have been putting heads together to find a permanent solution to it.
“On Tuesday, we called on the management of Dangote cement to assist us in creating a diversion which the vehicles are now using and to put safety measures on the ground. We have lighting fittings covering the ground now.
“The minister has not only approved for the reconstruction of the section but also the use of twin-cell three-by-three metre box culverts to relieve the existing hydraulic system of the two-by-two metre box culverts.
“He directed us to inform the A.G. Dangote to move to the site immediately. So, we have done that this morning and we are expecting them to move to the site immediately to do the reconstruction and relieve Nigerians of this hardship.
“We didn’t write to A.G. Dangote directly because we know they might be playing with it. We wrote directly to the Plant Director of Dangote cement, the biggest cement factory in Africa to effect immediate movement to the site.
“They are to ensure immediate reinforcement of all damaged box culverts at intersections where floods are heavy and ensure immediate reconstruction of the road embankments,” he said.
Mr Kajogbola attributed the deplorable state of the road to recent flooding and erosion, which, according to him, made it cave in, constituting a death trap and nightmare to motorists and residents of the area.
“For now an alternative road has been created to divert traffic from the failed road. The alternative road is also to avert road accidents in the area,” he said.
He, however, enjoined road users to make good use of the provided bypass and be patient to give the contractors the chance to work effectively.
Meanwhile, there are many dilapidated federal roads in different parts of the country that have been left unattended, causing untold hardship on citizens.