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We must develop underground space to decongest cities -Afe Babalola

*Tunnelling conference holds 29th – 30th March in Lagos

Development of underground space to reduce surface congestion and bridge Nigeria’s infrastructural gap is overdue, Aare Afe Babalola has propounded.

The founder and chancellor of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD) noted this when members of the Tunnelling Association of Nigeria (TAN) visited him in Ado-Ekiti.

Babalola said Nigeria was ripe for the tunnelling technology, especially in expanding facilities for transportation, power and water supply to reduce stress in major cities, especially Lagos.

“I know tunnels in London, in France and other major cities in the world. We need it here in Nigeria also, especially in Lagos”, he emphasised.

The ABUAD founder said, although the idea of tunnels is not new globally, the move to introduce it as solution to Nigeria’s infrastructural challenges in national planning “is a very lofty idea that we should key into.”

He said ABUAD, as a leading engineering institution in the country, would partner with TAN in its bid to promote capacity-building in tunnelling as an emerging engineering field in Nigeria.

Engineer Imo Ekpo, who led the delegation, said they were in the university to seek collaboration and participation towards the association’s first international tunnelling conference scheduled to hold between 29th – 30th March in Lagos.

With the theme, “Developing the Tunnelling and Underground Space Industry in Nigeria”, Ekpo said, the association is currently working on a 10-year capacity building plan in partnership with one federal, state and private universities.

“We’re looking at the prospects of opening up our infrastructures to the best practices globally and ease off surface utilities by developing the underground space in Nigeria,” Ekpo said.

He noted that Nigeria, as a member nation of the ITA, now has access to specific international scholarships for tunnelling and underground development as well as exchange programmes with countries currently developing major underground projects.

Ekpo disclosed that the President of the International Tunnelling Association, Dr. Tarcisio Celestino, is leading other participants all over the world to the gathering at the Lagos Oriental Hotel later in the month.

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