The bad condition of roads in the country has turned highways into death traps, causing accidents that have claimed many lives, SOLOMON AYADO reports
Nigerian roads are fast turning into death traps because of the ditches, potholes, and poor drainage systems that characterized our roads lately. Most times, the bad portions of the roads are filled with mud and stagnated waters that hinder vehicles from plying smoothly. The vehicles often involved in fatal accidents with scores of persons injured or killed. This is suggesting the general outlook of roads in the country which is deplorable, with no revamp.
Despite high premium placed by federal and state governments on road construction and rehabilitation, nothing meaningful seems to be in sight towards making the highways and rural roads passable. Although it is realistic that government is committed to making the roads accident free.
From the North to South, East and West, and in the central part of the nation, the state of many roads is bad. This ugly situation is alarming as commuters and residents narrates the difficulties they pass through everyday while plying the non-rehabilitated roads.
Alhaji Aliyu Mohammed Lade is a community leader in Patigi, a town in Patigi Local government area of Kwara state. He lamented the bad condition of the busy road from Tsaragi to Patigi and said it is totally in state of despair.
“The Tsaragi-Patigi section of Illorin-Patigi road is terribly bad. Gully erosion has eaten two-third of the road. If that portion of the road is not rehabilitated before the downpour becomes heavy, Oatigi will be completely cut of from Illorin which is the state capital,” he stated.
This is one out of many concerned Nigerians appealing for adequate attention to be given to roads by relevant authorities. Ofcourse, the duty of every government is to ensure infrastructural development, protection of lives and property of the people which include putting the roads in good state to traverse.
Ukan Kurugh is a youth mobilizer who was met struggling to unearth his vehicle that was trapped in the mud on the bad portion of the road at Gaando, a community situated along the Makurdi-Gboko highway. The ugly section of the road is found few kilometers to the Dangote Cement Factory in Gboko local government area of Benue State.
“This bad portion of road at Gaando which has been abandoned for over a decade is simply a death trap. Accidents happen here everyday and it is the only and major link to Taraba and North East, as well as Calabar and South East. Big men of all sort ply this route, including governors, senators and House of Representative members, as well as other top government functionaries. The truth is that they have simply kept blind eye to seeing that this bad road is revamped. It is simply terrible,” he decried.
As at now that the heavy rains have come, what commuters pass through everyday while plying the roads in varied parts of the country is worrisome. Some communities are totally inaccessible because the roads to reach them are bad.
When the President Muhammadu Buhari administration under the All Progressives Congress (APC) came on board in 2015, development of road infrastructure was one of the major promises it made to the people. Coasting in the mid of first tenure of the administration, it is however saddened that the government is still grappling with the challenges of roads in the country.
Apart from the collapse of major bridges across the length and breadth of the country, many have queried the pace of development under the ‘change’ agenda. The hope of the citizenry is dashed as many unwanted deaths have occurred due to accidents happening on the bad roads.
It is factual that the kind of vehicles used by leaders in various government or political positions can withstand the shackles of the roads and therefore, they do not necessarily appear to be more responsive in enhancing the well being of the common man. Perhaps, there is quick need for a rethink on how to rehabilitate the roads.
The 2017 budget has detailed how the federal government prioritized highway projects across the country in order of economic importance. In the budget , the Ministry of power, works and housing has N564.2 billion for the three sectors, out of which works gets N311.5 billion.
The minister, Mr. Babatunde Fashola explained that the highway projects were grouped into categories in order of priority and importance of the projects.
According to him, the “priority projects are national priority projects on critical economic routes on the federal road network.These are highly trafficked North-South, East-West routes used for the distribution of goods and services across the country and major river-crossing bridges.
On the onset, the minister had embarked on tour of all roads in the country to achieve first hand assessment and ensure that the projects are executed. What is the outcome of that tour is still inexplicable.
Also, the Director, Highway Planning and Development, Chukwinike Uzo, an engineer, said during the meeting of the National Council on Works that it became imperative to provide a forum in which stakeholders in the Works sector will deliberate concerning the roads with a view to coming up with the decisions on how to solve problems associated with the construction and maintenance of highways in Nigeria.
A public affairs analyst who simply gave his name as Uche said the national budget on roads may be huge but that nothing will ever be achieved tremendously unless government reinvigorate its political will. He advocated the involvement of local engineers and urged for completion of the projects.
“The roads in the country are really in bad shape. The sad experience is that government often award contracts to politicians and or the companies they establish. This always comes as means of political settlement which often result to non-completion of the projects. The state government must also show commitment to revamping local routes by involving home grown professionals,” he stated.
Insisting that government will not be ineptitude, Fashola said he had visited some countries in the world and observed that the quality of materials laid on Nigeria’ roads are far better than what they have over there.
The big question is, why are the roads still very bad? Why is government undergoing projects and the roads are still deplorable? Are the contractors not living up to contractual agreement?
As it stands, it is very imperative that government must intensify effort and live up to its responsibility. Placing high premium on road construction and rehabilitation is a good step in the right direction. But whether the government will match its words with actions and make the roads passable to enhance economic growth in the country, it is left to be seen.
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from LEADERSHIP. Contact: [email protected]