Members of the House of Representatives on Friday lamented the bad state of roads across the country.
The lawmakers expressed their dismay even as they adopted no fewer than nine motions on bad roads across the country during the week, the same week the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), said roads in Nigeria were not as bad as being reported in the media.
The various bills which were adopted between Tuesday and Thursday have been compiled by Saturday PUNCH.
According to the sponsors of the bills, the dilapidated state of the roads have led to accidents, resulting in deaths and injuries as well as exposing road users to attackers.
The lawmakers said the attacks were by armed robbers, bandits, kidnappers, among others.
Fashola had on Wednesday, shortly after the Federal Executive Council meeting, dismissed reports on the poor state of the country’s roads as exaggerated.
“The roads are not as bad as they are often portrayed. I know that this is going to be your headline, but the roads are not that bad”, he had told State House correspondents.
On Thursday, however, members of the House from Niger State co-sponsored a motion titled ‘Deplorable State of Federal Roads in Niger State.’ Adopting the motion, the House urged the Federal Government to “declare a state of emergency on the appalling condition of its roads in Niger State.”
In the motion, the Niger lawmakers noted that Niger had about 52 ‘Trunk A’ roads, which “are now death traps, making it difficult for motorists to ply without recording accidents leading to loss of lives and enormous damage to vehicles.”
The sponsors cited statistics from the Niger State Command of the Federal Road Safety Commission, which showed that between January and September, 2016, about 147 people lost their lives and 915 persons were injured in 361 road accidents in the state; and in 2017, not fewer than 516 road crashes recorded resulted in 197 deaths; while in 2018, 476 crashes resulted in 289 deaths.
They said, “The House is concerned that in addition to the adverse effects of the poor state of the roads, kidnapping and armed robberies, loss of vital man-hours on a daily basis are recorded, thus adversely affecting the growth of the developing economy like Nigeria’s. The key to economic growth and development in any nation is the provision of basic infrastructure such as good road network.”
The House also on Thursday adopted a motion moved by Mr Julius Ihonvbere titled, ‘Completion of the abandoned Sabo-Sobe Road in Owan-West Local Government Area of Edo State.’
Moving the motion, Ihonvbere said, “The Sabo-Sobe Road is a 19km major link between Sabo, Ugbubezi, Atoruru, Ugbeturu, Eti-Ose and Sobe communities in the Owan-West LGA of Edo State and the Ifon LGA of Ondo State, which are all agrarian communities in the South-South and the South-West geopolitical zones of the country.
“The House is concerned that the failure to complete the construction of the road has led to the collapse of several sections, especially the areas from Ugbubezi, Atoruru, Ugbeturu, up to Eti-Ose, thereby forcing motorists to divert to the longer route through Uzebba road which exposes them to attacks by bandits and other miscreants. The high rate of accidents on the road due to its bad nature has resulted in avoidable loss of lives.”
The House also adopted a motion titled ‘Rehabilitation of Igboukwu-Isuofia-Ekwulobia-Umuchu-Nkpologwu-Ezinifite-Uga Road in Anambra State,’ which was moved by Mr Chukwuma Umeoji on Thursday.
Umeoji, while moving the motion, said the road, which connects Anambra State to Imo State, “witnesses heavy traffic accidents due to potholes and damaged drainage system along the stretch of the road. The road was captured in the 2019 budget estimates but it has yet to witness any remedial action which has led to its continued degeneration. If nothing is done to rehabilitate the road, serious erosion problem may occur in different sections of the road, thereby increasing the hardship being encountered by commuters.”
The House also on Thursday adopted a motion titled, ‘Rehabilitation of Rural Roads in Shira/Gaide Federal Constituency of Bauchi State,’ as moved by Mr Kani Faggo.
Faggo said, “The rural roads that connect villages and towns in Shira/Gaide Federal Constituency require urgent rehabilitation because their deplorable state makes it easy for criminals to attack unsuspecting commuters.
“The roads include the 15km Zigau-Faggo-Bukul-Balijam road; the 27km Zigau-Beli-Gagidiba-Zubo road; the 45km Yana-Jaka-Gaza-Dago Dutse-Tsafi-Nasarawan Tsafi road; the 10km Jaka-Bangire road; the 12km Tumfafi-Gazan Tumfafi- Nasarawan Tsafi road; the 7km Doguwa-Gulbun-Jugudu road; the 9km Giade-Jugudu-Kurba road; the 25km Giade-Zabi-Zirami road; the 15km Giade-Sabon Sara-Zadawa (in Misau LGA) road; the 10km Kwanar Faguji-Kwanar Uzum road; the 6km Chinkani-Jarmawo road; the 10km Sambowal-Andibun-Isore road; the 22km Kamaku-Kafin Gara-Katabarwa-Yakasai-Guda road; and the 15km Beli-Kilbori-Dalli road.”
Also on Thursday, the House adopted a motion titled ‘Rehabilitation of Benin-Agbor-Sapele-Warri road in Delta State,’ which was moved by Mr Anthony Afe.
The House, while adopting the motion, had urged the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to “improve police patrol on the road to curb of armed robberies and kidnapping.”
Moving the motion, Afe said, “The House is aware that the highway, which was completed in year 2000, has deteriorated over the last couple of years, with potholes in many parts, mostly within Delta State, where it is almost impossible to drive for 2km without having to manoeuvre through the numerous potholes.
“The House is worried that some portions of the road have been completely cut off, thereby forcing motorists to drive against the normal flow of traffic and, in some cases, leading to fatal accidents. The poor state of the road has paralysed socio-economic activities hitherto experienced along the highway, as armed robbers and kidnappers have taken over the ever-busy road that leads to Warri, Bayelsa and Port Harcourt, creating economic crisis in the area.”
Earlier on Wednesday, the House adopted a motion titled, ‘Construction of Kuta-Ede Road and Bridge over Osun River in Osun State’ moved by Mr Amobi Akintola.
Akintola said, “The House is worried that since the preliminary steps were taken, the contract for the construction of the said road and the bridge has not been awarded.
“The House is concerned about the harrowing experiences of the people of the area in accessing their farmlands during rainy season due to the bad road, flooding and the absence of a bridge to link Kuta and Ede.”
Another motion adopted by the House on Wednesday was moved by Mr Kolawole Lawal and titled ‘Rehabilitation and Expansion of Idiroko-Owode Yewa-Ota road in the Yewa South/Ipokia Federal Constituency of Ogun State.’
Lawal, while explaining that the road connects Ogun State to Lagos from Badagry and Sango-Ota, said it was important for the transportation of goods and services across Nigeria and neighbouring countries.
He said, “The road is a single carriageway with no separation between traffic moving in opposite directions, which poses great risk to commuters and leads to accidents. The quantum of economic activities that are carried out along the road, which is too narrow and thus slows down activities, leaves commuters frustrated over their inability to meet their targets.”
Earlier on Tuesday, the House called for the rehabilitation of various roads spread across Oyo, Osun, Ondo, Anambra and Enugu states.
The House unanimously adopted two motions calling for the Federal Government’s intervention on the roads through the Federal Roads Management Agency.
The first motion was moved by Olalekan Afolabi, entitled, ‘Call for the rehabilitation of Ikirun-Eko Ende Junction-Ore-Ilie-Ilosin-Ogbomoso road and the construction of Ilie Bridge connecting Ilie to adjoining communities.’
The House also adopted a motion moved by Vincent Ofumelu, entitled, ‘Need to rehabilitate Aguleri-Otuocha-Ezuanaku-Omor-Omasi-Adani road.’
About 24 hours after Fashola made the statement, a member of the House representing Ede-North/Ede-South/Egbedore/Ejigbo Federal Constituency of Osun State, Mr Bamidele Salam, had challenged Fashola to travel only by road for the next 90 days.
Salam, in a statement on Thursday, challenged the minister to the road trips in response to his claim that roads in the country were not as bad as portrayed.
“I found this statement (Fashola’s statement), which had been repeated by the honourable minister on two previous occasions as a clear indication that some of us in public offices are not in tune with the horrendous realities of our fellow citizens’ daily experience.”