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Nigerian Army must re-invent self on road construction

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The Nigerian Army engineering Corps has proven over time as the most innovative of all the corps in the Nigerian military.  For over five years now, the corps has engaged in the construction of roads and building of barracks across the country. It has gone a notch further to take road construction away from military settlements into major cities in the country. A ready case in point is the 10km road constructed for the Dunamis church in Area 1, Garki, Abuja.
Only recently, the Chief of army staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika led the minister of defence, Dr. Mohammed Haliru-Bello, Chief of defence staff, Air Chief Marshal Oluseyi Petinrin, other service chiefs and top dignitaries to the commissioning of various roads and block of flats constructed and built solely by the army engineering corps in various barracks in the federal capital territory (FCT).
This must be commended, but, there is need for the generality of the army to be more inventive and innovative in their approach to road construction in the country.
When the 10km road mentioned above is compared to what its counterpart in Egypt and other countries where the army has become investors, it pales into insignificance.
Nothing stops the Nigerian army from inventing or procuring machines that can go into serious business of road construction that will in turn give all the foreign firms presently siphoning our hard currency to different countries of the world in the name of road construction a run for their money.
It is a thing of shame that all the construction companies engaged by various arms of government in the construction of roads in the country are foreign. These companies include Julius Berger, Setraco, RCC, Triacta, Gitto, Dantata and Sawoe  just to mention but a few.
It is a well documented fact that road construction is no child’s play since it involves a lot of money and mostly in foreign currency. With government preaching the need for local content, the involvement of the Nigerian army in road construction will make it a Nigerian affair since the army is peopled by only Nigerians. Aside this, it will go a long way in engaging men and officers of the Nigerian army who many see as redundant presently since we are not at war with any foreign enemy.
Road construction involves opening up of the country, which is a security matter. We have left our security in the hands of foreigners for too long by engaging these foreign firms in the construction of roads. After all, you are at the mercy of a man that constructs a road to your house since he can always find his way to that house when he so wishes even in war time.
Aside the security implications, involving the army in serious road construction that would compete favourably with these construction giants will help save foreign currency for the country since monies repatriated by these expatriates will be saved in the country. I
Another pointer to our retrogression into self deceit is the case of the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) which is the only indigenous agency involved in road rehabilitation.  Even at that, it is not encouraged into going the full hug of exploiting the full benefit of road construction since its activities are limited to road maintenance.
The Nigerian army can improve on the cold asphalt developed by FERMA through research and make more money from the success of such a venture.
Again it is apt to point to the Egyptian army that is into building of tractors and agricultural equipments. It is sad that the top hierarchy of the Nigerian army is more interested in purchase of weaponry thereby limiting the efforts of the engineering corps.
If more money is voted for the purchase and invention of construction machineries for the Nigerian army, our problems of bad roads would certainly become a thing of the past. Government should look into this area and see how this seeming anomaly can be corrected since it would save money for government and bring governance closer to the people through the construction of good roads on the long run.
It would amount to patriotism on the part of the army if they become more engaged in the construction of roads across the length and breadth of the country as the civil populace would come to see them as part and parcel of the society instead of the present toga of an army of brutality and occupation.

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