The Nigerian Minister of Transportation has expressed the country’s readiness to adopt tunnel transport technology and underground space utilization.
This information was communicated by the Director of Road and Mass transport, Dr. Anthonia Ekpa during a three-day 2nd Annual International Conference on Tunneling and Underground Space, organized by the Tunneling Association of Nigeria (TAN) in Abuja, themed: “Exploring the socioeconomic benefits of developing tunneling and underground space infrastructure in Nigeria”.
According to Dr. Ekpa, the Minister has also approved for the inclusion of tunneling engineering in the academic curriculum of the Nigerian Institute for Transport Technology, Zaria.
In respect to the foregoing, the minister is also ready guide the ministry’s partnership with the organization in realizing its objectives. “In order for the country to fully embrace tunneling technology, the Nigerian Institute for Transport Technology has to consider research into the technology in addition to including it into the curriculum,” he said.
“Similarly, I urge TAN along with ITA to promote capacity building programmes in tunnel engineering and use underground space for railways and other forms of transportation. There is also the need to deploy appropriate communication channels to enlighten Nigerians and gain support for tunneling”, he explained.
Present at the conference was the President of TAN, Mr. Abidemi Agwor, who said that Nigeria is set to experience a boost in its urban infrastructure if tunneling with underground space is adopted as a national policy.
One of the ways which he mentioned includes, the use of tunnels in especially densely populated cities like Lagos, Port Harcourt and Kano in addressing transport, water, sewage, telecommunication, power and other socioeconomic sectors of the nation.
He therefore encouraged stakeholders to foster the adoption of tunneling in Nigeria, “I urge stakeholders to support the adoption of tunneling as a major development policy towards Nigeria’s infusion of the new engineering concept into its development.