Stakeholders lament deplorable state of federal roads, urge government intervention

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By Agencies

Some stakeholders have lamented the deplorable state of federal roads in their respective areas, saying the situation is adversely affecting the socio-economic lives of the people.

The respondents who spoke with our correspondents in Plateau, Taraba, Nasarawa and Kogi, urged the Federal Government to urgently rehabilitate the roads to ease the suffering of motorists and commuters.

In Plateau, a motorist, Miss Gwamkat Gwamzhi, described the federal roads as “death trap’’ because of their poor condition.

“The first thing that will make you know that you are in Plateau is that you will hit a major pothole when you are plying a federal road.

“The roads are in terrible shape and the agencies responsible of fixing them are not doing much if at all they are doing anything,” Gwamzhi said.

She, however, commended the award of contract for the dualisation of Akwanga-Jos-Bauchi-Gombe federal road and described the gesture as a welcome development.

Mr Josiah Buzun, a commuter in the state, described travelling on Nigerian roads as “a terrible nightmare’’.

Buzun alleged said that the roads were not receiving the desired attention from the relevant agencies.

He said he had been plying the Kaduna-Jos road for many years and branded the Jos to Manchok side of the road as “terrible, to say the least’’.

He observed that the roads were not properly constructed, thereby making the efforts to fix them almost useless.

Buzun also blamed articulated vehicles for the sorry state of the roads, saying that the situation would have been slightly better if not for the heavy-duty vehicles.

Similarly, Alhaji Yusha’u Mohammed, Chairman of the Plateau chapter of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), said some of the federal roads in the area were in fairly good condition but that others were in terrible shape.

Mohammed gave an example of the Jos-Abuja road which he said was in a deplorable condition and needed urgent attention by the Federal Government.

According to him, the bad condition of federal roads is adversely affecting their business as transporters.

“The bad roads have caused the death of many travellers, while others easily fall prey to kidnappers and armed robbers,” he said.

Corroborating the stakeholders’ observation, the Federal Controller of Works in Plateau, Mr Koya Olugbenga, said that some of the roads in the state were actually in a bad state, but that some others were in good shape.

Olugbenga said, however, that some of the federal roads were receiving government attention.

He said that due to competing demands for attention, just some portions of the roads were sometimes maintained instead of total reconstruction.

“Take for instance, if the government needs to fix an entire road for N1000 and if there is only N100 available, the government may go ahead and use the N100 to maintain a portion of the road.

“Sometimes when that is done, many people may not feel much of the impact, but something was actually done on the road,” he explained.

The controller listed the roads that as at Sept. 20, were in good condition; those that were in a bad state and those whose condition could best be described as fair.

According to him, the four-kilometre Jos Polo Round to Farin Gada road and the 20kms British-America-Kuru Round About both fixed with asphaltic concrete through the intervention of the State Government, and now were in good condition.

He further said that the 12kms Kuru Round About (Mararaba) –Heipang; 10kms Bauchi-Naraguta Junction Jos and 40kms Langtang-Lalin-Tunkus-Shendam roads were also in good condition.

“The 65kms Shendam-Namu-Nasarawa State border road with asphaltic concrete is undergoing maintenance and their condition can be said to be fair.

“The same applies to 43kms Vom-Manchok Kaduna State border currently undergoing maintenance and the condition of 7.5kms Bukuru- Kuru-Vom is also fair.

“Other roads whose condition is fair to include; 86 km Panyam-Shendam; Kabwir-Bauchi-Southern border; 54 km Panyam-Pankshin- Dawaki junction (Kabwir) and Jos-Bye pass (Ring road) British America Junction,” he said.

Olugbenga listed the roads in bad condition in the state to include; 54kms From Gada-Jengre; 75kms Saminaka-Pambeguwa road and 67 Kuru Round About-Gimi (Kaduna State border).

He also said that those in that category include; 110kms Wase-Bashar-Taraba, 26kms Langtang-Wase; 8.5kms Shendam-Longvel and 40kms Shendam-Wamba road.

The controller said that efforts were ongoing to improve the condition of some of the roads that were in bad condition.

In Kogi, Gov. Yahaya Bello described the condition of the Lokoja-Okene-Ekiti federal road as “deplorable’’.

”As the major road that connects the Northern and the Southern part of the country, the road suffers heavy traffic, and so, millions of Nigerians suffer the deplorable condition of the road,” Bello told newsmen at Okene, his home town.

“Due to the constant damages done to the road by heavy vehicles, maintenance could not be sustained by the state government due to dearth of funds,’’ he said.

He said that his administration had intervened in the maintenance of the road in the 2017/2018 fiscal year, but lamented that such maintenance could not stand the test of time due to heavy vehicular traffic on the road.

The governor decried the hardship the commuters were experiencing on the road, pointing out that the road users were citizens who had fulfilled their civic rights by electing their leaders at all levels of government.

”Therefore, commuters do not deserve to spend days on the journey they would have made in hours,” he said.

He, therefore, called on the federal government to commence comprehensive rehabilitation of the road to alleviate the suffering of the commuters.

Also in Taraba, the stakeholders decried the poor state of federal government roads in the area.

Alhaji Hadi Haruna, a motorist, who plies Jalingo-Numan road, said it was sad that such a horrible road was still existing in Nigeria.

While describing the road as a death trap, Haruna called on both the federal and state governments to take urgent steps to fix it.

“A journey from Jalingo to Numan that is supposed to be for one hour takes well over three hours because of the poor condition of the road,” he said.

Another, Mr Joseph Atando, who plies Jalingo-Wukari road called on the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) to redouble its efforts at fixing the bad portions of the road.

Atando, however, commended the federal government for the ongoing reconstruction of the collapsed bridges along the road.

“You will recall that in 2018 about four bridges collapsed along Jalingo-Wukari road alone, during the rainy season.

“Thank God, the bridges are being fixed but there are still so many bad portions of the road that demand urgent attention by FERMA,” he said.

Alhaji Tanko Gassol, the spokesperson of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Taraba branch, observed that apart from Jalingo-Sunkani-Garbachede federal road which was undertaken by the state government, all other federal roads in the state were not in good shape.

Gassol listed such bad roads as Wukari-Takum, Bali-Takum, Mararaba-Baisa, Bali-Gembu and Zing-Pantisawa.

Mr Bala Dan Abu, the Senior Special Assistant to Gov. Darius Ishaku on Media and Publicity, noted that the federal roads in the state were generally in a deplorable condition.

Dan Abu appealed to the relevant federal government agencies to intervene and fix the roads.

Similarly, in Nasarawa State, the Federal Controller, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Mr Adetayo Wasiu, said most federal roads in the state “are not good enough’’.

Wasiu said the ministry was in the process of carrying out rehabilitation and maintenance work on some federal roads in the state because although pliable, the roads were not good enough.

“For the Keffi-Akwanga-Lafia road, it is under dualisation, and where there are issues of potholes and so on, FERMA is taking care of that.

“The Lafia-Shendam road is also not in a very good state. We have some sections that need emergency repairs. Hopefully, after the raining season, we will work on it,” he said.

Wasiu said the state of Keffi-Nasarawa road had improved because of the emergency repairs done on it by the federal government.

He also said that the construction of the Loko-Oweto bridge had reached the advanced stage and would soon be completed.

“The Keffi-Nasarawa road is one of the roads that may be considered for dualisation in future but for now it is in a good state because last year, we worked on it and ensured that it is in a good condition.

“Presently, FERMA is also doing some works there but the work we did last year greatly improved the standard of the road,” the controller said.

Similarly in Niger, Gov. Abubakar Bello said the federal government had given approval for the construction of three federal roads in the state in order to reduce the pressure being exerted on Minna-Suleja road by trucks.

Bello was responding to stakeholders’ call on him to declare a state of emergency on the deplorable condition of roads and facilities in the education sector.

He called on transport unions to warn their members against blocking of road and indiscriminate parking of their fuel tankers within the communities.

He said plans were underway to enact a law against tankers loading fuel above 33,000 litres, thereby putting pressure on the roads.

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