The state of Nigerian roads has raised concern about the safety of citizens. In fact, most of the roads have become deathtraps and kidnappers’ havens.
And despite the present administration’s insistence that it was keen to leave behind a legacy of world class infrastructure – a key explanation for its continuous borrowing – the sorry state of road infrastructure across the country points to the contrary.
LEADERSHIP investigation reveals that the federal government has budgeted about N1.2 trillion for roads in five years: N169.88bn in 2020, N280.44bn 2019, N344bn in 2018, N107.38bn in 2017, and N260.08bn in 2016, for a total of N1.12trn. Yet the roads seem to have defied government effort to provide succour to road users.
In Kwara State, paucity of funds has stalled the ongoing rehabilitation and reconstruction of thirteen federal roads.
Consequently, the roads have become a death trap for motorists and passengers alike.
Investigation by LEADERSHIP showed that there are a total of 16 federal roads in Kwara State. Out of this number, only three are in good motorable condition.
The remaining 13 roads are either undergoing rehabilitation or total reconstruction.
The roads include the dualised Ilorin-Ogbomosho single carriage, Ilorin-Ogbomosho, Ilorin-Jebba expressway, Ilorin- Share junction-Bode Saadu (Old Jebba road), Share-Patigi, Patigi- Kpada, Etchi- Sanyagi, Gbugbu- Lafiagi, Ilorin- Omu-Aran- Egbe and Ajase-Ipo- Offa- Erin- Ile (Osun State boundary road) .
Others are Offa by-pass, Afon-Aboto (Oyo State boundary road), Ilorin- Igbeti ( Oyo State boundary road), dualised Michael Imoudu- Ganmo- Amoyo, NITEL- Yidi praying ground road, Offa and Oba Charles Oladele Ibitoye road in Omu-Aran.
The three roads that are in good shape are the single carriage way Ilorin-Ogbomosho, Ilorin-Share junction-Bode Saadu (Old Jebba road) and Gbugbu-Lafiagi.
Findings by LEADERSHIP showed that the contractors had partially suspended work on the 13 roads undergoing rehabilitation or reconstruction due to non-release of the needed funds by the concerned authorities.
Transporters and residents of the affected areas have called on the federal government to hasten the completion of the road projects by releasing funds to the contractors.
Those who spoke with our correspondents include a driver plying the Share-Patigi road, Malam Ganiyu Abdul; Kwara State chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW, AbdulRasaq Ariwo- Ola and president of Ilorin Descendants Progressive Union (IEDPU), Aliyu Otta- Uthman
Both the NURTW chairman and IEDPU chairman lamented that the state of disrepair of the roads, especially the Oko-Olowo section of the Ilorin- Jebba expressway, pose serious threats to life and property.
When contacted, Federal Controller of Works in Kwara State, Engr Wasiu Atitebi confirmed that 13 federal roads “have ongoing contracts for rehabilitation while some are undergoing total reconstruction. Only three of the 16 federal roads in Kwara have no existing contracts on them and are motorable.”
The controller of works who spoke through an assistant chief civil Engineer, Babatunde Tajudeen, said that the federal government” is doing its best in the face of competing demands, to maintain the roads across the country.”
While urging Nigerians to help government in maintaining the roads, Atitebi cautioned transporters against overloading their vehicles and indiscriminate parking of vehicles on the road, noting that “asphalt and engine oil are not friendly. When engine oil spills on asphalt, it damages the roads.”
Millions Disappear in Failed Bauchi-Gombe Road Rehabilitation
In just three tranches, the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) collected the sum of N271,404,839.64 for the rehabilitation of the failed sections of the federal government road linking Bauchi to Gombe State.
Data from Open Treasury portal (the official portal of the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation) obtained by LEADERSHIP showed that on the 30th March, 2020 for instance, the sum of N58,434,345.58 was released to Luxious Synergy Limited for the repair of the failed section of the Bauchi-Gombe Road in Bauchi State. On December 28, 2020, Universal Touch Nigeria Ltd was paid the sum of N104,922,205.81 for the maintenance of the same road, just as Dari Investment collected N 108,048,288.25 on 12th February, 2021, for the renovation of the same Bauchi Gombe Road.
There are several releases amounting to hundreds of millions of naira to different companies by FERMA for the renovation of Bauchi-Gombe Road.
The releases analysed by LEADERSHIP were part of the N32 billion awarded by the federal government to rehabilitate the 84km failed section of the Bauchi-Gombe Road.
However, a visit to areas that ought to be rehabilitated by the agency shows negligible progress on the road. Motorists and commuters plying the road continue to groan, just as many have perished due to the terrible conditions of the road.
Several other federal roads connecting Bauchi to other states also got huge allocations by the federal government, but their conditions remain deplorable. Although there has been some level of progress on the rehabilitation of Bauchi-Kano road by FERMA, many portions of the roads are still in bad shape despite the huge amount of money released to the agency to fix the road.
In Ondo State, residents and travellers, especially on federal roads across the state, have lamented the terrible condition of the roads.
Roads like Akure-Owo expressway, Owo-Benin expressway, Ikare-Ikaram Akoko-Ajowa Road, Oka Akoko–Epinmi Road, Ipele-Ido Ani–Isua Akoko Road, and Akure-Ado Ekiti Road among others are in terribly bad shape.
Although, some of the road users say that heavy traffic poor and quality road construction contributed to its bad state, they however lamented that the bad portions on the federal roads are currently aiding criminal activities as kidnappers now utilise the areas as a trap to kidnap travellers.
Some motorists, who spoke to LEADERSHIP, called on government at all levels to find an urgent and lasting solution to the problem.
One motorist, Akinlade Abayomi, accused FERMA of neglecting its primary responsibility.
Akinlade said it is the job of FERMA to maintain and rehabilitate these roads regularly, but that most of these roads have been abandoned for almost four years without any attention from the agency.
Another commercial driver, Mr Ladi Adegoke, said, “The government says it wants to fight insecurity and when you have a road that is as bad as what we have on the Ido-Ani-Isua Akoko road, how would you fight insecurity – because when you stay at one point for a long time due to the bad road, hoodlums would take the advantage to attack commuters.”
A traveller who does not want his name mentioned said, “These roads need government attention. It has got to the point that when you want to travel on Nigerian roads, you need prayers, especially for God’s protection against banditry and accidents which are mainly aided by bad roads. We live in this country as if there is no more government. It is very unfortunate.”
The Federal Controller of Works and Housing, Akure, Olubakinde Olajide, however, said he could not comment on the matter.
There are several federal roads in Rivers State which connect the state to others parts of the country, especially states in the South-South and South-East geopolitical zones of the country.
Some of the roads include the East-West Road, the Port Harcourt-Aba Road and the Port Harcourt-Owerri Road as well as the G.U Ake Road, Tam David-West Boulevard and Rufus Ada-George Road
LEADERSHIP observed that the Rivers State government has dualised the Port Harcourt-Owerri up to the state boundary with Imo State, as well as some sections of the Port Harcourt-Aba Road.
It was also observed that it reconstructed other federal roads in the state, of which the federal government recently refunded the sum of N78billion to the state government.
The Eleme Junction-Imo Rivers section of the Port Harcourt-Aba Road was recently reconstructed by the Federal Government under the SUKUK Fund.
However, some sections of the East-West Road in Rivers State, which is under the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, has remained a nightmare for motorists more than 10 years after the contract for its repair was awarded.
Bad sections of the road include the Emohua-Mbiama axis and the Eleme Junction-Onne axis of the road, which protesting Ogoni youths recently blocked for seven days.
LEADERSHIP gathered that even though the contractor handling the project, Setraco, did more repairs on two sections of the road, the measures have not reduced the number of accidents recorded on a daily basis.
A visit to Setraco Camp near Trailer Park in Onne showed that it had already mobilised to site but work was yet to start. However, there was no person in the camp to speak with.
Speaking with LEADERSHIP, a passenger of Eket-bound commercial bus, Effiong Aniekan, said the equipment had been on that site since July after the seven-day protest by Ogoni youths.
Aniekan said it was regrettable that a journey that usually takes him less than two hours now takes up to three hours due to the bad state of the road.
According to the chairman of Ahoada-Mile One Unit of the NURTW, Uwoh Unukani, the deep potholes on the Emohua-Mbiama axis of the road have led to a lot of accidents and loss of lives.
Unukani said, “The potholes on the road had been causing accidents and damaging vehicles, especially from China Junction to C4i. Ahoada people find it difficult to come to Port Harcourt.
“Due to potholes, vehicles have been falling and somersaulting on that road. If you watch well, from Choba to Ahaoda, you see a lot of accidents. The double lanes have not been useful. We manage just one lane until we get to Ahoada.”
Also speaking with LEADERSHIP, a commercial driver, Gerald Andiwudo said: “The Eleme Junction-Onne section of the East-West Road is very bad. You cannot programme yourself on when to arrive at your destination.
When contacted, the Federal Controller of Works and Housing in Rivers State, Engr. Johnson Faderi, said he was on transfer out of the state and promised to send the contact of the new controller.
In an interview with LEADERSHIP in Jos, the Plateau State capital, the federal controller of works, Engr. Usman Abubakar Majin, said federal government was doing its best to ensure the maintenance of these roads but was constrained by paucity of funds.
According to him, the federal government had started the construction of Akwanga Road to Jos, Bauchi to Gombe while the construction of Panbegwa Road in Kaduna State which will pass through Saminaka to Jingir in Plateau State would soon commence.
Chief Audu Onoja who just arrived from the Eastern part of the country to Jos described his experience on the road from Forest in Kaduna State to Jos as horrible. He said the roads are a death trap to drivers and their passengers.
He appealed to both the federal and state governments to maintain the road.
Investigation by our correspondent revealed that the inter-state road from Jingir Plateau State to Saminaka and Panbegwa in Kaduna is almost unmotorable. There are so many potholes, and kidnappers cash in to abduct innocent motorist using the road.
Also speaking to our correspondent, the chairman of the popular NTA motor park in Jos, Alhaji Maikudi Ibrahim lamented that the inter-state roads from Jos to Kaduna passing through Kafanchan was in very bad state.
According to him, sometimes the drivers pass through the bush to avoid potholes.
In Cross River State, the roads, particularly those constructed by the federal government four to five decades ago, have become death traps due to the increasing number of bad spots on them.
However, the multi-million naira Ikom-Calabar Highway bridge in Ikom local government area under construction by the President Muhammadu administration is about 90 percent completed.
Apart from Calabar-Ugep, Ikom-Ojoja to Benue state road that has been in bad shape in the last three decades, the popular Calabar-Itu Road which links Cross River and its sister Akwa Ibom State is unmotorable.
The chairman of Cross River State branch of NURTW, Barr Efa Edet Essien said, “A situation where you make repairs today and tomorrow the same vehicle breaks down due to bad road and you keep making repairs on daily basis, a situation which leads to price hike on transport fare retards one’s business and leads to business breakdown.
“If you look around our roads, you will see many vehicles which belong to our members abandoned due to frequent breakdowns caused by the deplorable state of the roads.”
Federal highways undergoing rehabilitation in the state includes 60km Calabar-Uban Road project awarded to Setraco, 330km Calabar-Ugep, Ikom-Ogoja-Makurdi Road, Odukpani–Itu otherwise known as Calabar-Itu Road which has two contractors: Sematech Nigeria Ltd and Julius Berger.
The Controller, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing in Cross River State, Engr. Bassey Nsentip, averred that the government is working on all federal roads in Cross River State which include the 330km Calabar Ugep,Ikom Ogoja road which extends to Benue State borders.
He said there are four rehabilitation contracts which the federal government had engaged construction firms to make repairs in Cross River State.
“Although rains are not giving the contractors opportunity to work at full blast, as soon as the rain subsides, the contractors would come out in full force to work,” Nsentip said.
A resident of Akparavoni community along Calabar-Ugep Road, Solomon Edet who expressed happiness over the road repairs by federal government, said before now, road crashes had been high due to the bad roads, stressing that the rehabilitation had brought succour to the communities.
In Benue State, there has been unceasing outcry over the state of federal roads as the roads continue to collapse day by day.
Although Benue State is blessed with many federal roads, which span hundreds of kilometres leading into and outside the state, the roads are, however, in very deplorable shapes.
Farmers, who need to transport their farm produce from one point to the other, are the worst hit because thousands of trader, who usually thronged Benue State daily to make large purchases of food crops, are not coming again owing to Insecurity and bad roads.
Some of the farmers who spoke to our correspondent including the chairman of all Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) in the State, Aondongu Saaku, said many farmers are farming at a loss because there is no market for their products.
According to him, “Criminals are now using the bad portions of the roads to rob traders, farmers and other commuters. This combined with other security challenges have made traders to shy away from coming into the state to purchase food crops.”
The implication is that a large percentage of the food crops produced in the state cannot be conveyed to other parts of the country for sale. For this reason, they are abandoned in the barns to rot away. It has now become a common sight in parts of the state to see trucks carrying these food crops tumbling over on roads and spilling their contents due to the dreadful state of the roads.
Some of the federal roads in the state which are in bad shape are the Katsina-Ala-Abaji-Tordonga-Harga Road, Makurdi-Gboko Road, Yandev-Ugbema Road, Aliade – Otukpo Road, Otukpo – Enugu Road and Gboko-Lessel Road, Ihugh- Tse- Maker Vandeikya roads, Aliade-Oju road, Aliade-Gboko road, Ihugh-Korinya road and Ogobia-Oyangede Road.
Our Correspondent observed that the Keffi- Akwanga-Lafia- Màkurdi road, Màkurdi- Naka- Adoka- Ankpa roads and Màkurdi Gboko roads are under construction.
Although work has now commenced on the Màkurdi side of the Keffi- Akwanga-Lafia- Màkurdi road, the Federal Government attributed the suspension of the ongoing dualization work on the Keffi- Akwanga-Lafia- Màkurdi road within the Benue state axis to threat to the lives of construction workers.
This is even as the Minister of Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola disclosed that the federal government has commenced compensation to communities on the Benue section of the road whose properties were affected by the construction to pave way for the dualization.
Niger State is said to have the longest federal road routes, but apart from Minna to Suleja and Mokwa to Bida that are fair, all federal roads in the state are in bad shape.
Recently, articulated vehicle drivers blocked Bida to Lambata federal road, protesting its bad state.
Already, the Mokwa -Bokani-Tegina-Birni Gwari road has been abandoned by motorists and this has diverted traffic to state roads, making the state government to close her roads to articulated vehicles.
Similarly, Mokwa-Jebba Road is in bad shape while Mokwa-New Bussa Road is almost collapsing .It is the same for Wawa road linking Kwara State.
In Jigawa State there are nine major federal roads that linked the state with other neighbouring states and Niger Republic.
Most of the road are in good shape, some renovation works are in progress while some have been completed.
These roads include Danbatta Kazaure Daura road, Wudil Birnin Kudu Gwaram Kari road, and Kano- Gumel Malammmadori -Hadejia road. All these are in good shape but have some potholes that require minor renovation.
The Kwanar- Dumawa- Babura –Babbban Mutum -Niger republic boarder 52km road and Gaya-Jahu- Kafinhausa- Azare road are in bad shape but contract for their reconstruction was awards in 2020 and work is progress at the site.
Renovation work was completed on Hadejia -Nguru 70km road and Shuwarin – Dutse Kwanar Huguma road, while work has reached an advanced stage of over 80 percent completion in Kano-Wudil-Shuwarin and Shuwarin-Azare road under the Kano – Maiduguri 500km road renovation and dualization project.
All efforts to reach the Federal controller works in Jigawa state, Engr Akiyonla Oladele failed as he was said to on official assignment in Abuja.
Federal roads across the three Senatorial districts of Edo state are begging for urgent attention as motorists plying the busy roads have lamented their deplorable state.
The Benin/Lagos highway drainage is filled with sand which have caused flooding especially at Ogbowo axis of the road; there is also serious flooding issue at S % T Barracks, immediately after the University of Benin gate section of the road.
In Iruekpen/Ifon highway, the section between Ozalla and Uhonmora has failed completely because of the heavy traffic on the route owing to the poor state of Auchi-Benin highway.
Similarly, Uzebba-Ifon section of the road has also been in a bad state. The Ose Bridge has become obsolete.
The Ekpoma section of the road has defied every means of palliative work on the section of the highway. As a result of the poor state of the Ekpoma section of the road, it has become a common occurrence to see gridlock of over 2km of articulated vehicles.
Also, the Benin/Sapele highway section, popularly called RCC, has given motorists hell of a time, so also is the section shortly after the by-pass area of the same road.
The Auchi/Okene highway section between Okpella and Okene has given challenging time to motorists to the extent that they have an alternative in the Auchi/Ibillo highway. For the fact that it has become an alternative route as a result of the failed section of the Auchi/Okene highway, the Auchi/Ibillo has also failed, especially from the section between Igarra and Ibillo and also from Ibillo down to Okene.
In Enugu State, federal roads witnessed many years of neglect by previous administrations but the President Muhammadu Buhari led government has commenced moves to reverse the situation.
The deplorable condition of the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway especially at the Ugwuoba area attracted the attention of the state government.
During the last Yuletide celebrations, travellers were stranded as they stayed for several hours because of the deplorable condition of the road.
Perturbed by the development, the state government intervened at some portions of the old Enugu/Onitsha Road.
Ugwuanyi embarked on the rehabilitation of the roads. It is also believed that the federal government may reimburse the state.
Until recently, the Enugu/Okigwe- Umuahia road was a death trap to travellers but investigations revealed that the federal government has fixed almost every part of the road.
It was also observed that the Enugu-Nsukka Expressway is currently receiving remedial works by both the federal and state governments.
It was also discovered that Enugu has over five federal roads in the state and that the state government has been assisting the federal government to fix some of them.
For instance, the Enugu/Abakiliki road is currently being rehabilitated by the Enugu State governor. The Governor, it was gathered, is planning to build a flyover at the Enugu portion of the road to reduce traffic congestion.
The governor is also trying to dualize the Enugu portion of the road to cover many potholes that made the road almost a death trap.
Commenting on the state of federal roads in Enugu, Engineer Ibekwe Nnadi commended the federal government for intervening on the roads.
Engineer Nnadi also appealed to state governments in the South East to assist the Federal Government to repair federal roads especially those within their states, saying only the federal government cannot make all the roads motorable.
The Bayelsa section of the East/West Road and two others have been identified as Federal roads in a state of disrepair.
The Kolo Road project, awarded in 2009, is yet to be completed with 19.5km done and 33.5km remaining.
Officials of the Federal Ministry of Works however told LEADERSHIP that the Yenagoa-Kolo-Otuoke-Bayelsa Palm federal road project embarked upon by the federal government is near completion.
They said the Bayelsa State Government intervention on the resolution of compensation issues for the Yenagoa-Kolo-Otuoke-Bayelsa Palm federal road allowed the contractor to cover 10 kilometres out of the 20 kilometres dual carriageway of the project.
When the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), was in Bayelsa three weeks ago to inspect the state of Federal roads, he applauded the Bayelsa governor for his state’s collaborative efforts with the federal government on projects sited in the state.
Fashola also confirmed that refunds had been made to states on federal roads between 1999 and 2015.
According to him, the first tranche of N447.783 billion was shared among 24 states between 2018 and 2019 while the second tranche of N148.141billion was approved for five states between 2019 and 2020 with N38.4 billion allocated to Bayelsa.
An official of the Federal Ministry of works, who did not want his name in print said before President Buhari assumed office, many contractors who were mobilised to work on the Federal roads abandoned the roads and ran away.
“They only came back to the sites when they heard that Buhari has won and they were afraid that they will be probed and that was why they came back,” he stated.
Ogun Commuters, Resident Beg FG To Fix Highways
Motorists, residents as well as members of different transport unions have continued to lament the sorry state of federal roads across the Ogun State corridors which they termed as an eyesore.
The also continue to count losses in terms of the man-hours lost to traffic gridlock caused by potholes.
This development, which also attracted anger of members of the trade unions, particularly the State chapter of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), has continued to deny the traders their deserved profits in addition to making them spend extra money in the cost of transporting wares to their respective stores.
An instance of this was the demonstration staged by the Ogun State chapter of NLC penultimate Monday, when its members gathered under the popular Sango – Ota bridge along the Lagos – Abeokuta express road in the Ado – ODO/Ota Local Government in protest against the state of the road as well as the one leading from Sango – Ota to Idiroko Border.
At a demonstration held in Ado Odo Ota area of the state however, NLC, led by its state chairman, Emmanuel Bankole, issued a 21-day ultimatum to both the federal and Ogun State government within which to fix the deplorable road or risk the state being shut down by Nigerian workers.
The federal roads in terrible state are Sango – Ota – Idiroko, Lafenwa – Aiyetoro – Imeko Afon, Lafenwa – Oja Odan, Ilaro Owode as well as Papa Alanto – Ilaro in the Ogun West Senatorial districts, while Abeokuta – Sango Ota – Lagos expressway, Papa Alanto – Sagamu Interchange, Abeokuta – Ibadan highway, Sango Ota – Ijoko highway, as well as Abeokuta – Ajebo – Foursquare Camp expressway, terminating at the Lagos – Ibadan expressway in the Ogun Central Senatorial districts are also dilapidated.
In the Ogun East Senatorial districts are Ijebu Ode – Ibadan expressway, Ijebu Ode – Ilishan, Ilisha – Ago Iwoye, Sagamu – Mosinmi Depot – Ikorodu expressway to mention just few.
The few ones that are motorable across the state include: Abeokuta – Sagamu Interchange; Ijebu Ode – Epe expressway and the Abeokuta – Ibadan highway, rehabilitated by the incumbent Dapo Abiodun administration.
As of the time LEADERSHIP visited the Ogun State office of the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA), none of the three staffers met was ready to speak with the press on the ground that they lacked the capacity to do so.
The federal roads in Ekiti State are also in deplorable condition.
The most affected parts are the Ado-Ikere-Akure road, Igede-Aramoko-Efon road.
A collapsed bridge on Ijan Ekiti road connects Iluomoba, Agbado, Aisegba, Imesi and Ode Ekiti in the state to Ondo and Kogi states and the Federal Capital Territory.
Portions of Ado/Iworoko/Ifaki and Isinbode/Omuo road are also in bad state.
Over a year after the reconstruction and dualisation of Ado Ekiti/ Akure road was awarded by the federal government, nothing has been done on the road.
The dualisation of the road connecting Ondo and Ekiti states was awarded at the sum of N23.751 billion in June 2020 by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing.
The state of the road has been a source of concern to both motorists and passengers over the years with the journey of just 30 minutes becoming that of agony and bitterness.
A transporter, Oladotun Ajayi who said that he travels on the road almost every day decried the condition of the road.
He said, “I spend 40 percent of the money received as transport fare on repairing my vehicle, because there will always be one thing or the other fix after returning from any journey to or from Akure, so we beg the federal government act fast on the reconstruction of the road”.
When contacted, the Federal Controller of Works and Housing, (Works Section) Ekiti state, Mr Ishaq Lawal said his colleague in Ondo state was in charge of the project.
According to him, “My counterpart in Ondo is the one handling it.
The contractor even reports directly to him.
“He is in the best position to give you the information you need about the road project.”