A group, Kwara South Advancement Agenda (KSAA), has disagreed with the Kwara State government on the state’s plan to build a N3.7 billion bridge at the Geri Alimi Junction in Ilorin, the state capital.
KSAA described the proposed bridge as “a misplacement of priority”.
In a statement by its Chairman, Opeyemi Olabanji, the group urged the government to put the construction on hold and meet “the immediate needs” of the people.
The statement reads: “In a critical time as this, government should spend money on critical infrastructure to benefit citizens . Will the bridge put food on their table or grant them employment?
“We believe the traffic jam in Ilorin today or even in the future does not call for the building of such bridge at a period of distressed economy. Besides, 80 per cent of roads in the state are at impassable and they are reasons for the traffic congestion.
“If the government is sincere, it should rehabilitate roads, rather than embark on a white elephant project in the name of decongesting traffic. Proper traffic control and management is adequate for the Geri Alimi roundabout”.
Olabanji, who noted that the quoted amount would still be surpassed when the contract is reviewed, urged the government to give out the fund in form of soft loans to qualified citizens with a penchant for medium and small scale businesses.
But the government said the criticism lacked merit.
Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Communications, Muideen Akorede, said the government had a mandate to look after Kwarans and residents, including the providing infrastructure for their economic prosperity and comfort.
He said: “Kwarans from all parts of the state reside in Ilorin and will, therefore, benefit from the anticipated traffic decongestion. The project will also take care of current and future requirements of road users.
“In addition, other key roads, such as Ilesha Baruba Gwanara, Share-Oke Ode, Maigida Arobadi Road, Anilelerin Road Offa, dualisation of Michael Imoudu Institute for Labour Studies (MINILS) road to Ganmo, dualisation of Sango/University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH) Road have also been pencilled down for implementation under the IFK platform.
“Governor Ahmed will also launch the new asphalt plant in Ilorin as a prelude to major rehabilitation of compromised roads. This will begin once the rains stop.
“Besides, the government has a N1.8 billion Revolving SME scheme, which has benefited 50,000 businesses. We must realise that infrastructure is key to economic growth and welfare, and must be prioritised”.