By Daud Olatunji
The World Bank and French Development Agency have collaborated with the Ogun State government on the construction and rehabilitation of rural roads in the state.
The project was to ensure upgrading of 125km rural roads, rehabilitation/backlog maintenance of 200km, spot improvement of 450km, routine maintenance of 700km rural roads and construction of 100m of cross-drainage structures (culverts and bridges).
Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project National Coordinator, Aminu Mohammed, who spoke through the Project’s Lead Infrastructure Engineer, Buka Abdulaziz, disclosed this during a stakeholders’ workshop on finalisation of legislation on the establishment of the Rural Access Road Agency and the State Road Fund, held in Abeokuta, the State capital.
Mohammed said the project is being executed through the state Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project and the state Ministry of Rural Development with a view to reforming all rural roads in the state.
He said that the plan for the programme is quality assurance, pledging that there would not be any compromise.
He explained that RAAMP is a third-generation rural access project with the objective of improving rural access and agricultural marketing in the participating states.
He added that the project would also strengthen the financing and institutional base for effective development, maintenance and management of rural roads network.
He said, “We have developed specification for the rural roads, we have also developed a standard. In addition to that, also under this programme, we have what is called quality assurance plan and quality assurance manual, so be rest assured, the programme is going to provide all season road, and the quality is not going to be compromised.
“Sustainability, on the other hand, has to come through sustainable funding, and we are looking into that, how the private sector, the road users, can also come and play role in maintenance management and the development of the rural roads in Ogun State, so that at least, the embodiment of the road users and the private sectors can also raise hands.
“We are going to complement the effort of government because, we know that government now has an over stretched need that has to do with healthcare needs, and other basic amenities, they can even change policies, but by and large, the sustainable funding, also the private sector has to come in, that’s the thinking and part of the reform.”
The state Commissioner for Rural Development, Jamiu Odetoogun, revealed that the state will make use of the interventions which he said would ease the transportation system of the rural communities.
He added that laudable efforts and mercenaries will be deployed to promptly address the challenges of bad roads on the rural roads.
He said, “it is no gainsaying that a larger percentage of our rural roads are such that could make use of different interventions that will alleviate challenges of our rural dwellers on roads and enhance the ease of transportation of agricultural produce from farms to the market and urban communities.”
Also speaking, the state Commissioner for Transportation, Gbenga Dairo, pleaded that more attention should be given to rural roads in the state, saying, it is a critical economic development of the state.
He added that the intervention is important to key into the agenda of the administration.
He said, “So this programme is important, it’s interesting and it would key into the agenda of the administration of Prince Dapo Abiodun.”