Mr Babatunde Fashola, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, says that the Federal Government is committed to the dualisation of the entire section of the trans Sahara route in Nigeria.
The minister gave the assurance while declaring open the 65th session of the Trans Saharan Road Liaison Session on Monday in Abuja.
Fashola, who was represented at the occasion by Alhaji Abubakar Magaji, the Permanent Secretary in the Works and Housing sector of the ministry, described the session as appropriate.
This, he said, was so because it came at a time when there was a compelling need for integration of socio-economic activities among African countries.
The minister said that the session offers member countries the opportunity to strengthen their existing bilateral relations and provide avenues to assess the extent of work that had been undertaken.
“I will like to assure this gathering that plans are underway for all major routes in Nigeria that link the trans-Saharan route to be upgraded.
“It is evident that connecting Africa with an efficient road network remains the most effective way to improve the socio-economic development among nations.
“Nigeria attaches great importance to the development of the trans-Sahara route and government is making significant progress in ensuring the project’s success,’’ he said.
According to Fashola, the government’s effort is obvious in that the section of the road between Lagos and Ibadan dual carriageway, with a length of 127.70 km, is currently under reconstruction.
He added that the road was being expanded from two lane dual carriageway to three lanes on each side.
The minister said that other sections of the route from Jebba to Mokwa up to the border town of Kongolam were also being considered for reconstruction and dualisation.
He commended the efforts of member countries at developing other sections of the route within their borders.
Fashola further commended the other development partners for their roles in the realisation of the common dream of developing the route.
He said that it was a great achievement that out of a total length of 9,500 km on the route, more than 8, 000 km of it had been surfaced with bituminous materials.
The minister expressed optimism that more achievements were underway to maintain and ensure the serviceability of member countries and its people.
In his remarks, Mr Mohammad Ayadi, the committee’s Secretary General, thanked the Nigerian authorities and other member countries for their commitment.
Ayadi gave an overview of the continental highway, saying that the committee’s best achievement so far was not in road construction but in the exchange of information and technology amongst member countries.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Algeria, Mali, Tunisia, Chad and Niger were represented at the occasion.
The project is expected to ensure integrated development and help achieve economic prosperity by facilitating the traffic of goods and services among member countries.
Algeria has completed its section of the route–Algiers to the extreme south– which is over 3,000 kilometres. (NAN)