Hon. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN)
The Honourable Minister of Power, Works & Housing,
Federal Government of Nigeria, Abuja
I am a Nigerian who has been following the Dangote development plan in Africa over a long time. I must commend the Dangote Group for their consistency and hard work. The group over the years has provided employment for quite a number of the teaming population of Nigeria and other African countries.
However, I will like to bring to the attention of the Federal Government of Nigeria one of the reasons why Nigerian roads do not last long and how corporations such as Dangote and the oil and gas industry should be held accountable for their contributions to the rapid damage of our roads. This has taken a toll on infrastructural development in the country as a whole. Manufacturing companies operate heavy duty trucks laden with materials and goods thereby causing devastating impacts on our roads which include but not limited to traffic congestion, accidents, road deterioration, and disruption of the aesthetic beauty of cities.
Having had the opportunity to live and study abroad, I have some humble suggestions to help solve the problem. My solution is cost-effective in the long run as it helps save our roads and enhance durability. Nigeria needs to scale up investments in rail infrastructure by all means. Advanced countries like Canada rely extensively on rail transport to move goods and services from province to province.
Here are some of the benefits of conveying cargos via rail:
Investment in cargo rails will improve lives and make movement of goods and services more efficient. It will lead to less heavy duty truck accidents on Nigerian highways which over the years have contributed to high casualties and mortality rate of our young population. Safety measures should be top most priority to ensure lives and properties are well catered for.
There is no doubt that cargo rails are cost effective in terms of hiring truck drivers and also cost of maintaining and running chains of trailers. In addition, they provide better ways of managing logistics and the Federal Government can mandate stakeholders in the manufacturing industry to convey a large percentage of their services via rail. Furthermore, when heavy duty vehicles are reduced, it mitigates the rate of road damages as a result of weight and pressure which ultimately contribute to road compression and collapse. It is quite smart to generate revenue and increase returns on investment (ROI) by focusing on cargo rails.
The benefits of investing in the rail industry can easily be achieved by compelling private investors to contribute their quotas in this area. A typical case study of successful private investments is seen in the telecommunication industry in Nigeria. Over time, more investors can come into the country when commodities are easily conveyed from source to destination. An efficient rail system will steer Nigeria in the right direction of growth in terms of GDP and make us join the league of fast growing economies of the world.
The importance of using cargo rails cannot be overemphasized since the Dangote group is investing in oil and gas sector at the moment. Trucks in Nigeria are known to contribute to a high death rate because of the volatile content they carry and the devastating impacts they have when they are involved in accidents.
Lastly, modern researches in creating durable and sustainableroads with cements, waste product, etc. should be evaluated and appropriated in order to provide alternatives to asphalt and bituminous components for road construction.
More police patrols and road cameras are needed at major intersections to ensure heavy duty trucks comply to rules and regulations and they should be made to move at night to reduce traffic, accidents and high rate of casualties. The government should be actively involved as they bear the brunt of road maintenance and repairs.
For more on my work, please see my videos on YouTube on how to help solve the problems of herdsmen attacks in Nigeria and other related ways of developing Nigeria. I also touched on resolving the political crises in Cameroon.
Taiwo Tope Adetiloye
B.A. Sociology and Political Science (Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada)