TThe Kwara State Governor, Mr. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, has commenced the construction of 700 kilometres of roads at the cost of $60 million.
The roads are part of the World Bank's assisted projects in the state under the Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Projects (RAAMP) intervention.
AbdulRazaq said yesterday while flagging off the construction of the roads that the state government would "upgrade 125 kilometres of road to asphalt or sealed materials, carry out spot improvement on 450 kilometres of road and routine maintenance on 700 kilometres of road.
"The government will also carry out backlog maintenance on 200 kilometres of road, five river crossings will be fixed while some existing markets will be upgraded to hubs."
He also flagged off the construction of the Alapa-Arobadi pilot road in Asa Local Government Area, which is a 5.2 kilometres road.
He said, "All of these are to be done in partnership with the World Bank and other international donor agencies.
The governor said: "The projects are worth $60 million and would be spread across the 16 local government areas of the state in phases."
AbdulRazaq, who was represented by the Kwara State Deputy Governor, Mr. Kayode Alabi, added that his administration has so far contributed N400 million as its counterpart funding commitment to make the RAAMP intervention projects possible.
He said: "I commend the World Bank and the international donor agencies for their support. I also thank the Ministry of Works and Transport, the State Project Monitoring Committee (SPMC) and the State Project Implementation Unit (SPIU), among others, for their hard work and commitment.
"We cannot claim to promote food security or seek investments from outside when the roads that lead to farmlands and other agricultural settlements are in bad shape. We cannot claim to seek brighter future for future generations when our schools and other enabling infrastructure are in shambles."
The Speaker of the Kwara State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Salihu Yakubu-Danladi, described the initiative as a laudable project that would open up the rural areas and improve socioeconomic activities in the hinterlands.
Yakubu-Danladi said: "I want to appeal to the national coordinator of the RAAMP to continue to give maximum support to His Excellency, Mr. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, in opening up our rural roads. As the legislative arm, we are promising our continued support to the government in this regard."
In his remarks, the National Coordinator of RAAMP, Mr. Aminu Muhammad, promised to offer the needed technical support to Kwara State and saluted Governor AbdulRazaq for his exemplary leadership in paying the state's counterpart funds for the RAAMP initiative.
Also speaking, the Kwara State RAAMP Coordinator, Mr. Abdulwahab Akorede, said the 5.2 kilometres Alapa-Arobadi Road would improve rural access, trade and reduce post-harvest losses.
Akorede said: "Kwara State is the first among the 13 participating states in Nigeria to commence the 6-7 years with expected credit of $60m for each state. The RAAMP will no doubt transform the rural lives in Kwara State."