President Muhammadu Buhari has urged the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) to adopt international best practices on road maintenance with a view to ensuring the safety of Nigerians by curtailing incessant road accidents.
Buhari made the call at the inauguration of the 5th Governing Board of FERMA on Tuesday in Abuja.
Mrs Winifred Oyo-lta, the Head of Service of the Federation, performed the inaugural ceremony on behalf of the president.
The president tasked the board members to work in line with the mandates of the establishment of the agency to ensure implementation of road safety standards.
“This is to carry out any other necessary activities as it pertains to the general wellbeing of road users amongst others, “ he said.
According to him, the act mandates the agency to monitor and maintain all federal roads in the country, evolve strategies for effective and efficient traffic flows.
“It is pertinent to note that the agency’s governing board is the highest decision-making body with the responsibility for formulating the policies and guidance to its general strategic direction.
“Thus, your wealth of experience should be brought to bear on maximizing the performance of the agency with respect to its mandate, vision and mission and to also align with the government’s policy of `Ease of Doing Business`.
“In this regard, you are expected to key into the Present Administration’s aspirations to provide a solid and first-class road infrastructure,“ she said.
Buhari noted that roads as major levers have significantly eased the movements of people, goods and services in the country, hence the need to adjust to international best practices.
Nevertheless, the President applauded FERMA in its sustainable progress in the last 20 months in the rehabilitation and maintenance of federal roads across the country.
“The Agency has made substantial progress, particularly in the last 20 months, in the rehabilitation and maintenance of Federal roads in Nigeria.
“You are expected to do more in terms of performance, effective and efficient service delivery through adapting international best practices in road maintenance in order to reduce vehicles operating costs, improve travel time and reduce accidents,“ he said.
Also speaking at the occasion, Mr Nurudeen Rafindadi, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of FERMA, described the event as the beginning of a new journey for the agency.
Rafindadi, who decried the financial constraint as a major challenge of the agency, gave assurance that the agency would not fail the federal government to fulfill its mandates.
“FERMA mandates is tough, we have a wide scope of over 36,000 km of federal roads as well as other roads that may be determined from time to time. And we have limited resources in terms of constraint from the budgetary allocation.
“Nevertheless, we shall try to fulfill our mandates by utilising the available resources sustainably and obtain maximum result through sustainable maintenance of roads in the country,“ he said.
In his response on behalf of other 11 members, Mr Tunde Lemo, chairman of the board, appreciated Buhari, members of the National Assembly and the head of service for finding worthy for such task.
Lemo pledged that in spite of the limited resources, the team would work together to execute its services in line with the federal governments vision on road transportation system.