The Director General/CEO, Nigerian Building & Road Research Institute (NBRRI) Prof Danladi Matawal made this declaration during this year’s Public Lecture of the Nigerian Academy of Engineering which held at the auditorium of the Medical Research Institute (NIMR) in Yaba, Lagos
Drawing from the theme “Road and Building Research in Nigeria; Panacea to Nigeria’s Quest for Infrastructural Development”, the Guest speaker said the measure of the state of development of any country could be made through the volume and state of roads within its geographical area.
According to him, infrastructure such as road and housing are amongst some of the most critical economic infrastructures that stimulate growth and development being used for freighting the citizens and goods for leisure, tourism and holiday, trade and commerce, and so on.
He lamented the sordid condition of this infrastructure in the country, stressing that this is particularly emphatic in Nigeria where other forms of transport are negligible, especially huge viable options that include the Railways, Air and Water transportation.
Matawal offered a statistics that the world total road networks (paved and unpaved) was approximately 70million kilometers in 2012 with 95.5percent of the entire network domiciled in North America, Europe, China, Japan, Brazil and India.
For example, he noted the total length of road networks, in kilometers (with the major highways/expressway lengths in bracket) are; USA 6506204(75238), China 4193000(95600), India 402000(10000), Brazil 1751868(N/A), Japan 1210251.
Japan, Canada, Russia, France, Australia, Spain, Germany and Sweden each have an individual country network varying between 1210251 and 572900, with Russian has major highway/expressway to be over 30000kilometres.
Road Network Statistics in different countries by www.statista.com
He noted that the United Kingdom (UK), has total network of 394428 kilometers of which 3519 kilometers are major highways/expressway, notwithstanding that its geographical area is pretty small with a highly dense and sophisticated railway network.
“Regrettably, serviceability conditions of the African paved networks are questionable with lengths; S/Africa 161868, Nigeria 35900, Ethiopia 25081, Zambia 18958, Mozambique 18067, Cameroun 9802, Rwanda 9383, Benin 7368, B/Faso 7108, Kenya 6314, Tanzania 5727, Chad 5162, Uganda 5000, Madagascar 3952, Niger 3518, Senegal 2392, Ghana 2360, Malawi 2208, Lesotho 641, I/Coast 516 etc. noting that the African figures are very low indeed with poor serviceability”.
On the fear of population explosion being expressed in some quarters if appropriate measures are not taken, Matawal said Nigerian population growing to an estimated 440million in 2050 at current increases that will constitute the third most populous country in the world, behind (in 2050) India (in 1st position) and China (in 2nd position); and ahead of USA which is currently third.
He revealed that an attempt has been made to estimate the current housing shortage in Nigeria, in terms of affordability.
The Professor also noted that Nigerian housing deficit currently estimated at between 16-17million shows the poor performance of Nigeria, an indication that the country continues to be classified as a developing country.
Earlier in his address, the President of the academy Prof. Rafiu Salawu revealed that the Nigerian Academy of Engineering was incorporated as a private company limited by guarantee in September 1997 for the purpose of promoting excellence in technological and engineering training and practice to ensure the technological growth and economic development of Nigeria, stressing that it is a non-profit and non-governmental organization.
“The academy was inspired by the need for a small, focused engineering body that would have the narrower objectives of the advancement and pursuit of excellence in technology and engineering and the provisions of a national platform for experts to proof their experience and insights and make input into public and private technical policy”, he said, noting that the idea was encouraged by the existence of similar academics in most developed countries and developing countries such as United Kingdom, Canada, India, USA, Russia, China and Egypt and others.
Source: Clarkson Eberu (The Guardian)