NEWS DIGEST – The Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) says it has engaged 14,000 youths in its on-going nationwide maintenance of highways tagged “Right of Way Maintenance Intervention Programme (ROW MIP)’’.

Mrs Maryam Sanusi, the Deputy Director, Communication and Public Relations, FERMA, made this known in a statement on Thursday.

According to Sanusi, the project is aimed at repairing the bad spots on the country’s highways.

She said that the bad spots on the highways had given hoodlums the opportunity to operate and cause problems for road users.

She said that the Right of Way (ROW) was 40 metres from the centre line which included the carriageway, road shoulders, and verges.

“This initiative, which has elicited positive feedback from stakeholders, is in consonance with the Agency’s mandate and the Federal Government’s drive to gainfully occupy the nation’s teeming youth populace.

“The intervention centres on vegetation control, cutting of over- hanging tree branches to aid vehicular visibility, de-silting of blocked drains and carriageways as well as carting away of refuse dumped on road shoulders.

“The initiative has garnered momentum and cuts across every state of the nation, being its first phase, a maximum of 14, 000 youths living around the road corridors identified for the intervention have been engaged.

“Thus, making it a singular government’s project that is taking these number of participants in its wake,’’ she said.

The deputy director said that the participants are viewed as partners with FERMA in ensuring the accomplishment of an aspect of the agency’s mandate.

She explained that the difference between the current programme and others in the past was the implementation strategy being used.

According to her, the on-going maintenance is labour-intensive and designed to provide safety net for the youths.

She said that the strategy being adopted made the repairs much more economical given that the usual practice of contracting the jobs had been eliminated.

“The programme has also encouraged some level of heightened economic activities in and around the areas where jobs are on-going, beneficiaries are paid through their personal bank accounts thereby also imbibing banking culture.

“At the successful completion of the first phase of the intervention programme, it is the goal of the agency to embark on a second phase.

“Though this will depend largely on availability of funds,’’ she said. (NAN)

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