Dangote Group has called on Nigerians, especially professionals in the built environment, to support advocacy for the use of rigid pavements for road construction.
Anthony Chiejina, the Group Head, Corporate Communication of Dangote Group, made the call on Wednesday.
Chiejina made the appeal during the 2023 Annual Lecture and Awards organised by Property and Environment Writers Association of Nigeria, with the theme: “Technology As The New Normal In Modern Infrastructure Delivery.”
While delivering a lecture, titled: “Construction Using Rigid Pavement,” he said rigid pavement construction was more durable with a lifespan of over 40 years.
This, he said, was against the 15 years or less for asphalt.
He said the Minister of Works, David Umahi. should be supported in the advocacy because he was pursuing quality and durable road construction.
Chiejina commended Umahi for introducing rigid pavements, adding that the Minister was misunderstood in his good intention for quality road infrastructure delivery in Nigeria.
He said several people opposed to the use of concrete were not cement manufacturers, yet crying foul that rigid road construction would cause an increase in cement prices.
Chiejina urged journalists, engineers and other built sector experts to explain the benefits of the rigid pavement to Nigerians as the needed solutions to bridging road infrastructure deficit in the nation.
He explained the difference between rigid and flexible pavements as well as the type of construction materials used for the long term and short term benefits respectively.
He listed benefits of rigid pavement, also known as concrete road, to include resistance to fuel, hydraulics, grease and other chemicals discharged by stationary vehicles.
Chiejina said although concrete roads take longer to construct and may be more expensive, they are cheaper in the long term because of less maintenance cost.
He said flexible pavements, also called asphalt roads, might be cheaper to construct, but on the long run more expensive due to regular maintenance from constant degeneration.
He also listed environment-friendly attributes of the rigid pavements in addition to opportunity for recycling the materials, a situation not possible with flexible alternatives that cause high pollution and other dangers.
“From an environmental standpoint, the entire flexible pavement process is more polluting,” he said.
Chiejina, who received an award on behalf of the Dangote Group, commended PEWAN for the annual conference aimed at setting an agenda for infrastructure development in Nigeria.
He lamented poor reading culture threatening the real practice of journalism, urging practitioners to read widely to stay afloat and curb negative influence of social media.
He said the new media had increased proliferation and bastardisation of the profession such that disinformation and misinformation were on the rise.
“Journalism under threat, siege,” he said.
Earlier, the Chairperson of the Property and Environment Writers Association of Nigeria, Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie, said the annual lecture was recording landmark successes and proffering solutions to issues in the nation’s built environment.
She said PEWAN, a sub-group under the Nigeria Union of Journalists, had existed since 1995 with membership that cuts across print, electronic and online media platforms.
Iroegbu-Chikezie said: “The PEWAN Lecture and Awards is an avenue through which we the members of the pen-pushing profession steer the direction of public discourse on construction matters and volatile environmental issues.
“The lecture has the objective of inspiring ideas and robust intellectual conversations on issues affecting the built environment and the nation’s economy.”
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that award recipients at the event include Dangote Group and Adedamola Kuti, Director, Highways Construction and Rehabilitation, Federal Ministry of Works.
Others were Kunle Awobodu, founder/inaugural President, Building Collapse Prevention Guild; Deacon Babajide Durojaiye, Managing Director, Legrande Group; and Festus Adebayo, CEO, Fesadeb Media Group.
Also awarded were John Beecroft, Managing Director, Tetramanor Limited; Emeka Anyiam, Chief Executive Officer, PWAN Elite; and Samuel Oni, Managing Director/CEO, Convvy Estates Limited, among others who had made an impact in the sector.