From Isibor Osedebamen, Lagos.
President Mohammadu Buhari had at the 70th session of the Trans-Saharan Road Liaison Committee, TRLC, stated that. “Our commitment is to increase Nigeria’s road infrastructure in order to ease the cost and time of doing business and improve our economic competitiveness as envisaged under our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan. In view of this, our administration shares the aspiration of the trans-Saharan Road Liaison Committee aimed at encouraging member-countries’ development of the sections of trans-Saharan roads within their respective territories”.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, following in the President’s assurance,also promised Nigerians that Trans-Saharan highway projects would be completed to provide for an improved regional, economic and cultural integration in Africa. Fashola, who gave the assurance recently at the Julius Berger site of the Abuja-Kano Road, AKR, works when he led the members of the Trans-Saharan Road Liaison Committee (TRLC) to the project site. The members who were attending the 70th Session of of the Trans-Saharan Road Liaison Committee (TRLC) in Abuja included ministers of works from all six member states of the TRLC, which include, Algeria, Mali, Niger, T’chad, Tunisia and Nigeria. The Secretary-General of the TRLC, Ayudi Mohammed and the Tunisian envoy, Ambassador Jalel Trabelsi were also in the contingent led by Fashola to the AKR site.
Fashola said: “It is very useful for every African to be aware of the existence of a trans-Africanhigh way plan which seeks to connect the whole of Africa right from Cape Town up to Tunisia,either by driving through the East African border, or the West African border or through thecentre of Africa. There is a coast to coast connectivity from the West to the East of Africa to the Northeast of Africa to the Northwest of Africa, and the South-west of Africa to East Africa.A total of nine highways at different stages of connection are meant to achieve this connectivity and it is important for Nigerians to understand that three of these Highways pass through the territory of Nigeria out of those nine, Fashola added, “The first is the Lagos-Dakar highway, which passes through Seme border, and there to Dakar, Senegal. The second is the Lagos-Mumbasa, which links us through Yaounde in Cameroon. The third and the one about which we are gathered today is the Lagos-Algiers highway which is the object of this meeting. That road covers over 9,000km and 80 per cent of that road is now asphalted. It is important to contextualize that in what we all read about as the trans-Saharan trade road. This was the road of Camels and Horses. So how much Africa has progressed now is that with the partnership of all of the men sitting here and all of the experts,80 per cent of the roads used to be travelled by the camels and horses are now motorable and I think that is progress