In every part of Katsina State, one is sure to find illegal road blocks constructed by communities in the guise of guarding against over speeding and reckless driving. In virtually all the road side communities especially those on the highways the people are found to be using logs of wood, old car tyres, stones and a host of other objects to block roads there by making movements unbearable for most motorists who have meander through the obstacles on the roads.
This has raised concern among most road users given that while emphasis was being placed on the adherence by the Nigeria Police to the directive of Inspector General of Police IGP, Muhammad Abubakar that road blocks be removed from the nation’s highways, not much attention has been paid to this trend in Katsina and neighbouring states.
These road blocks which are serving as speed breakers of sorts though accepted by the communities, have not gone down well with drivers and other road users
The situation may not have gone all together unnoticed as the the Katsina State House of Assembly recently passed a resolution mandating its committee on works and transport to investigate these illegal road blocks and speed breakers constructed by communities across the state.
Although the resolution was pursuant to a motion sponsored by the member representing Katsina constituency at the assembly, Babangida Nasamu, the reaction that greeted the motion was an indication that the legislators were concerned over the trend.
Investigations by Leadership Sunday revealed that drivers of trucks and other heavy duty vehicles are having the worst deal from these road blocks as they find it difficult to successfully maneure between the objects which leave rather narrow spaces for vehicles to pass through all in the name of over speeding and recklessness on the part of the drivers.
Our correspondent reports that local government headquarters like Mashi and Charanchi among others, parade quite a number of these road blocks which are often manned by unemployed youths of the community who have overt support their leaders.
A youth leader, Mannir Ibrahim of Kafin Soli village, a town notorious for the existence of long stretch of road blocks, told our correspondent that the community resorted to blocking the roads following the loss of numerous innocent lives of especially children to reckless drivers on the routes.
According to him: “These road blocks have become permanent features of the community and indeed, other communities because of the reckless attitude of some motorists who knowing that they are approaching communities, rarely reduce their speed.”
The motorists who spoke to our correspondents on their part insist that the road blocks were illegal, just as they maintain that the continued existence of the road blocks was as a result of the failure of the Federal Road Safety Commission and other related agencies to address the menace.
Some of the motorists who spoke to Leadership Sunday accused the agencies of complicity, pointing out that the increasing number of these road blocks and speed breakers were source of concern to all road users who ply these routes especially as they are erected without approval from relevant agencies and in apparent disregard of dangers involved.
Mansur Danjuma, a commercial driver who spoke to our correspondent expressed displeasure at the existence of these road blocks and urged the FRSC to ensure their removal to avoid worse accidents on the route especially involving heavy duty vehicles.
He said: “The FRSC is too keen on ensuring compliance to use of seat belts but keeps mum on the existence of these road blocks even when they pose a threat to safe driving.”
However, when contacted the Katsina State Sector Commander of FRSC, Habu Dauda, who denied the accusation that the agency was indifferent to the existence if the road blocks said FRSC was working in conjunction with a joint task force to ensure the dismantling of the road blocks.
He decried the existence of the illegal roadblocks adding, they have potentials to cause accidents hence the agency could not ignore their existence but was working on providing a lasting solution to the fears of the people by ensuring the safety of the drivers and the communities.
Expectations are that the agency would fast track its efforts to avoid consequences that could lead to loss of lives and property which these communities claim are protecting by putting up these illegal road blocks and speed breakers as it were.