FG signs treaty on acceptable axle load in West ’Africa
President Muhammadu Buhari has signed treaty obligations within the West African sub-region and beyond that would regulate the amount of load any goods vehicle can put on an axle and by extension on the road in order to do business within ECOWAS and beyond.
Besides, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola has said sensitising road transporters and imbibing the existing treaty obligations is the only way to optimise the opportunities that lie in road networks like trans-Saharan highway that connects Nigeria to Chad, Niger, Tunisia, Mali and Algeria; the Lagos- Abidjan Highway through Benin, Togo and Ghana, or the Enugu-Cameroon Highway through Abakaliki – Ogoja, Ikom and Mfum.
Fashola stated this, at a one-day public enlightenment on the developments in the road sector in Abuja, where he presented the ‘Federal Highways (Control of Dimensions, Weights and Axle Load) Regulations 2018.’
The workshop, which was declared opened by President Buhari, who was represented by the Secretary to the Government, Boss Mustapha, was specifically held for stakeholders, including the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), and Petroleum Tanker Drivers Association, among other road users.
President Buhari said the convocation of the workshop was an indication of the important role that road transportation plays in the nation’s economic development adding that the critical place of road transportation in the country’s evolution and the national life had never been more alive than presently.“Presently the haulage of industrial goods, agricultural produce and industrial raw material, petroleum products, power plant components and other economic materials required in the manufacturing sector, are carried out using the road network”, the President disclosed adding that it was this realisation that underscored the promise of change by the present administration in May 2015 with infrastructure as a priority.The Minister, who thanked the President for finally signing the instrument of ratification, after many years of delay prior to his tenure, added.
“This meeting is critical to the achievement of our common goal for shared prosperity. Our compliance with these regulations will open a massive door of opportunity and prosperity of cross-border trade to Nigerians engaged in the transport business.
Fashola, who noted that there is no state in Nigeria today, where contractors would not be seen busy at work, added, “The crux of this meeting is to first acknowledge the President is only one man who cannot be everywhere, and secondly to recognise that we are the actors of the change that is required to take us to prosperity and thirdly to recognise that, the way we use the roads when finally completed will determine how long they last and whether they deliver prosperity or not”.
In a Communiqué issued after the workshop, participants expressed appreciation to the Federal Government for the on-going rehabilitation and reconstruction of roads across the country, affirming the need for enforcement of axle load limit to safeguard the nation’s road infrastructure while also emphasizing the reintroduction of toll gates on federal highways as a means to improve revenue generation for the maintenance of roads.
Realising the damaging effects of overloading on the nation’s road network, participants advocated that all Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) owners and operators should abide by the the new Axle Load limit regime in Nigeria in line with the ECOWAS Supplementary Act/SP.17/02/12 relating to the harmonization of standards and procedures for the control of dimensions, weight and axle load of goods vehicles within the ECOWAS Member States.
Other highpoints of the communiqué are reaffirmation of the need to operationalise the weighbridge stations on Federal roads to check overloading, recognizing the need for adherence by motorists to road signage for safety, need for all stakeholders to join hands to halt the abuse on Nigerian roads and agreement that tank farm owners and sea port operators should comply with the axle load limits by installing weighbridges at their depots/ports.
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