Abuja-Keffi-Makurdi Highway: Buhari’s Govt Fails To Meet April 2023 Deadline

By Miriam Humbe

With few hours before the May 29 hand-over date, Muhammadu Buhari’s Federal Government may have failed to meet its promise to complete and commission the highway expansion from Abuja to Keffi and Makurdi before April 30, 2023.

Humsimedia took a tour of the road within the week and found that some portions of the road under expansion were still being constructed with construction machinery, also called earthmovers sighted on duty.

Also, some parts of the road were yet to be graded for construction while still, a larger part had been completed to the ease and delight of users.

With the current state of the road, it may be unlikely that President Muhammadu Buhari would commission the Abuja-Keffi-Makurdi road before handing over to his successor, Senator Bola Tinubu.

Former Minister of State for Works and Housing, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo had in a statement on April 1, 2022, through the Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations in the Ministry, Stephen Kilebi promised that the road would be completed by April 30 2023.

Sambo had said that the project was being funded by China Exim Bank which contributed 85% of the funding, with Nigeria’s Federal Government contributing the balance of the 15% funding.

The road was being constructed by China Engineering Habour Company (CEHC).

Sambo said this while inspecting the project site accompanied by delegates of the Africa Road Builders (ARB) and Federal Ministry of Works and Housing on Friday, April 1, 2022.

The projects inspected were; the construction, expansion and rehabilitation of Abuja-Keffi (sections one and two) respectively.

Section one was the 5.4 kilometres from the Abuja Expressway that started from Kugbo West and the 220 kilometres road located in Nasarawa and Benue States which was further divided into sections 1, 2 and 3 respectively.

A resident of Keffi told Humsimedia earlier in the week that there were indications President Muhammadu Buhari might be commissioning the road before the hand-over date of May 29.

The resident said that at a particular spot on the road somewhere in Kokona area of Nasarawa State, things were being put in place awaiting the groundbreaking ceremony.

Recall that the contract for the Makurdi-Keffi-Abuja road expansion was first awarded by the government of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan also made huge financial commitments which didn’t yield much results.

Billions of Naira were injected into the project.

In 2001, due to a huge outcry as a result of the high rate of accidents on the Abuja-Keffi Highway, President Olusegun Obasanjo had directed the Federal Ministry of Works to ensure prompt completion of the road.

The President’s directive arose from complaints by Abuja residents that government was not showing reasonable concern over the constant loss of lives on the road.

In 2005, the Federal Government approved the review of the scope of works on the dualisation of Abuja – Nyanya – Keffi road, extending the terminal point of the project to Keffi township with huge sums invested.

The additional works were to cost N2,711,585,730.53, bringing the revised contract sum for the project to N13,213,079,575.70.

In 2021, the federal government said it would begin payment of compensation to those affected by the road expansion.

It took the political will of the Muhammadu Buhari administration to take the road to the stage of near completion before leaving office.

Some persons living along the road corridors appreciated the President Buhari government for the persistence at constructing the road up to it’s current state.

They encouraged the new government of Senator Bola Tinubu to brace up, give the road some attention towards fully completing it.


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