The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has urged states and communities to be affected in the Abuja-Keffi-Makurdi road project to collaborate with the Federal Government.
Fashola made the call on Thursday in Keffi at the inauguration of the 227.4-kilometer road in Keffi, contracted to China Habour Engineering Company Limited.
The minister said that the project had 36 months completion period, adding that the call for collaboration was to ensure prompt settlement and relocation of those to be affected by the project.
He said that the project involved the expansion of kilometer 0 to 5.4 of the Abuja-Keffi Expressway from the current six lanes to 10 lanes to ease transport bottlenecks in the area.
According to him, the other part of the project involves the dualisation of the 222-kilometer Keffi-Akwanga-Laffia-Makurdi from its current single carriageway.
“It is not going to be possible if the land owners, the farm owners and all of the traders along the road do not move back and give us the right of way.
“So we are going to rely on the government and people of the states to be affected by the project to cooperate with us quickly by moving back so that the contractor can work.
“The contractor is ready, we need the cooperation of the states and communities in the area of settlement and relocation of those whose lands and farms will be affected.
“We have made provisions for the compensation and we will commence payment as soon as claims are verified,” he said.
In his remarks, the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Zhou Pingjian, said the contractor handling the project was an internationally-renowned infrastructure service provider, adding that the project would be completed on schedule.
He said that Nigeria had become China’s largest engineering-contracting market in Africa with over 300 ongoing projects.