Aside from the speaker’s regular but unjustifiable tirade against the media, the House On Wednesday recorded a commendable feat by calling on the Federal Ministry of Works to urgently carry out repairs on all federal government highways that have been affected by heavy downpour to ease the untold hardship of travelers.
Lamentations by the lawmakers from almost every part of the county exposed the reality of the federal government roads and the albeit, unprecedented risk and delay suggested of travellers on daily basis. For the lawmakers, it’s wasn’t an issue to be treated with kid’s gloves.
With specific reference to Onitsha-Owerri Expressway; Enugu-Portharcourt; Warri-Sapelle; Kabba-Omuo roads and other affected roads nationwide, the lawmakers noted the call was necessary with a view to easing hardship on motorists and Nigerians. The House emphasised that the lawmakers emphasised that the call was necessary with a view to easing hardship on motorists and Nigerians.
A motion moved by the deputy minority leader The House of Representatives has urged the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing to commence urgent emergency repairs on all unmotorable federal government roads, particularly those affected by the recent heavy downpours.
Given the importance and sensitivity of the motion, the speaker, Femi Gbajabimila could not help but ask you to be joined as co-sponsor of the motion. Although the motion was initially directed at specific interstate highways, the House was left with no choice but to amend the prayers to accommodate roads nationwide as other members including the minority leader, Ndudi Elumelu, Tajudeen Yussuff (PDP-Kogi), Fredrick Agbeni (PDP-Bayelsa), and Vitor Nwokolo sought an amendment to include affected roads in their federal constituencies,
Uninterestingly, the House had severally complained about the state of Nigerian roads and demanded an actionable response from the ministry.
Chairman of the House Committee on Federal Roads Maintenance Agency, Olufemi Bamisile had 2019 a during budget defense session for FERMA that said bad roads in the country had become nightmares to the users. The chairman specifically urged FERMA to identify all the roads in the country, stating their status, and furnish the committee with the details within two weeks after the conclusion of the budget defense.
In 2017, the naijaauto.com classified as terrible the Kaduna-Abuja; Okigwe-Umuahia; Otukpo-Otukpa in Makurdi; Lagos-Sagamu-Ore-Benin; Lagos-Ibadan Expressway; Enugu-Awka-Onitsha and Abuja-Lokoja-Okene-Kabba.
In the same year 2017, a geopolitical and socio-economic research firm, named SBM Intelligence, released a report of worst roads in Nigeria and the list included Kabba-Kafanchan; Benin Bypass; Mokwa-Jebba; Lokoja-Ajaokuta; Onitsha-Enugu, Idoma-Benue Highway; Sagamu-Ogijo and Sango Ota.
Four years after, not many of these roads have received adequate attention at all. Rather, the list increases by the day.
Beyond unwarranted hardship faced by the road user, the country as a whole is losing man-hours which in turn affect the GDP.
The Senate in 2019 observed that Nigeria was losing over N1tn annually as a result of bad roads across. FERMA also put the cost in man-hours loss due to bad roads and traffic delays at N1.02tn per annum.
While the passion of the House is commendable, they should help the system beyond parliamentary resolutions on motions that remains advisory but cannot be enforced. The green chambers have the power of appropriation and therefore should ensure adequate budgetary provision for road maintenance and follow up same with oversight.
A former deputy governor of the CBN and chairman of the Governing Board of FERMA, Tunde Lemo had recently observed that finding of less than one per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product for roads was far less than the three per cent of the GDP recommended by the World Bank as a minimum spending threshold.
Therefore, the lawmakers should stop passing resolutions upon resolutions on roads like a helpless and hopeless parliament, they have the power of appropriation and oversight, they know where the problem lies.