By John Ikani
Nigeria’s Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) says the Abidjan-Lagos highway would benefit at least 40 million Nigerians when completed.
The 1,028-kilometre highway is designed to connect five major cities in five West African countries – Lagos, Cotonou, Lome, Accra and Abidjan.
The corridor’s current alignment connects landlocked countries to ports and traverses all major economic centres of the five participating member countries, starting from Bingerville, a suburb of Abidjan, and ending at Eric Moore, in Lagos.
Mr. Fashola who doubles as the Chairman of the five regional ministerial steering Committee overseeing the project made these known while speaking at the 16th inter-ministerial meeting of the group in Abuja during the weekend.
According to him, resources were being mobilised to ensure the Nigerian axis of the project was completed soon.
“The Nigeria section is the famous Lagos-Badagry corridor. As the designs are going on, integration is going on and our government led by President Muhammadu Buhari through his tax-credit scheme, has mobilised the resources that will ensure that the Lagos-badagry section of this highway can be fully paid for.
“Money is now in place and work is now going on and those who are familiar with the corridor must have realised that between December last year and the first quarter of this year, there has been more rapid deployment of men, machines and materials along that corridor,” he assured.
The Minister went on to reveal that the the link bridge between Nigeria and Cameroon, which was largely funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) would be commissioned this month.
“We have completed a new link bridge that links Nigeria to Cameroon, and it was funded largely by the AfDB and we are hoping that the ECOWAS commission will give us the necessary support to ensure the formal opening of that bridge sometime in the month of June,” he added.
According to the minister, the commitment to the piece of infrastructure is to upgrade the road network into a first class six lane highway, stressing that although there was need for speed, quality must not be sacrificed.
“We’re trying to deliver a better life for five countries and over 40 million people who use that corridor, almost on a daily basis.
“The future is bright, this is an important investment for the people of Africa to achieve the objective of the Africa Union (AU) to create a trans-African highway,” he stated.