The Federal Ministry of Works and Housing on Tuesday, inaugurated and handed the 1.62 kilometres internal access road it rehabilitated at the Nigerian Institute of Oil Palm Research (NIFOR), Benin.
Handing over the road, to NIFOR Management, the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said the rehabilitation of the road was part of Federal Government’s intervention on roads in tertiary institutions.
Fashola, represented by the Federal Controller of works in Edo, Engr. Ademola Aransiola, said the gap in the nation’s infrastructural needs was steadily being bridged.
The minister said that was being done by a gradual process of repairs, renewal and construction of major highways and schools.
“Today, we converge on NIFOR to hand over an important asset, 1.62 kilometer road rehabilitated/reconstructed by the federal ministry of works and housing, on behalf of the Federal Government.
“While it is true that a lot of work needs to be done in many sectors, including education, the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has stepped up to lead the process of getting that work done,” he said.
According to the minister, there are currently 43 road interventions within tertiary institutions across Nigeria being undertaken by the federal government.
“To date, 29 road intervention projects have been completed with 17 already handed over in 2020.
“Today, we hand over this one in NIFOR as a critical intervention to support education,” he added.
He explained that during the construction, 57 people were employed directly and indirectly, in line with the job creation initiatives of the federal government.
The Acting Executive Director, NIFOR, Dr Celestine Ikuenobe, stressed the need for the institute to render research outcomes that would drive the nation’s agricultural sector, as government strove to diversify the economy.
Ikuenobe lamented that the poor access roads until the government’s intervention, was a major challenge hindering effective service delivery in the institute.
“Before this timely and laudable intervention by the FMWH, the main access road to the NIFOR main station here was in a state of disrepair, negatively affecting our service delivery to the oil palm industry.
“For example, palm farmers found it very difficult to convey their seedlings, sprouted seeds and other palm produce out of the institute.
“This rehabilitation in no small measure has eased transportation.
“Staff and other road users now find it easier to ply the road with less risk of wear and tear which they hirtheto experienced,” he said.
Ikuenobe, who thanked the minister for the gesture, solicited more rehabilitation work in the institute.
The acting executive director noted that NIFOR was one of the foremost research institutes in the country.
He said that in its 82 years of existence, the institute had continued to play leading roles in research and development of crops.
He listed the crops to include oil palm, coconut palm ,date palm, raphia palm and shea.