Ben Ezechime, Enugu
The Garrison Commander, 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Brig.-Gen. Murtala Abu, has lauded the Federal Government and MTN for commitment toward delivering a world standard Enugu-Onitsha Dual Carriage Highway.
Abu gave the commendation in Enugu on Thursday in his office during a strategic meeting with MTN/ Crown Crest Global Engineers (CCGE) Community Liaison Initiative (CLI) team led by the Chairman/Principal, Engr Chris Okoye.
The commander praised the Federal Government for coming up with such a novel scheme of funding road infrastructure and thanked MTN for its commitment toward delivering a world standard road for the good of Nigerians.
He explained that the challenges with a smart road include: indiscipline by road users and not having enough vehicles for patrols.
The commander added that roadblocks were tactically located as this area is prone to armed robbery and IPOB disturbances.
Abu, however, assured the MTN/CCGE-CLI team that their suggestions on the smart road and the role of security agencies would be further examined so that the best option can be adopted.
He advised the MTN/ CCGE-CLI team to partner with the police and the Federal Road Safety Corps to also reduce the number of checkpoints on the roads and with the state government to support them with patrol vehicles.
The Garrison Commander said: “A joint security meeting with all the security outfits and the construction companies to discuss the location of the CCTVs and how to ensure that the road remains smart would be the sure way to go.
“I will also appeal that the road be constructed to make room for future expansion into a four-lane expressway due to the growth and development of Nigeria’s South-East and the importance of this particular Highway.”
Earlier, Okoye said that when completed, the 107-kilometre Enugu–Onitsha Dual Carriage Highway would be a full option smart road; adding that MTN is funding the construction through the Federal Government novel Road Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme (RITCS).
According to him, smart roads are in vogue the world over and are good for traffic management and security; while it is planned to be a freeway to encourage a free flow of traffic from one end to the other.
“When completed, there will be no difference between day and night time driving on this Highway as there are plans to deploy solar light right from Enugu to Onitsha.
“Drones and CCTV Cameras will be deployed along the length of the road in which control rooms will be installed to monitor activities on the road.
“Checkpoints will also be a thing of the past if the smart road concept is fully deployed, instead lots of security patrols will be encouraged to guard against a situation where checkpoints hamper and slow down traffic on the Highway.
“The security personnel will be encouraged to do more of clear stop-and-search as stop by and clearing areas will be an integral part of the dual carriageway’s construction,” he said.
Okoye said MTN/CCGE-CLI was focused to ensure that the Highway remained beneficial to all stakeholders along the road corridor and “MTN/CCGE-CLI is committed to working with the Nigerian Army to create a synergy on security on the road.”
Okoye was accompanied to the meeting by Dr Reginald Facah, Coordinator of the MTN/CCGE Community Liaison Initiative (CLI) and the Community Liaison Officer in Enugu State, Mrs Chinenye Okwuosa.