By; SUNDAY ODE, Abuja
Managing Director of Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA), Engr. Nurudeen Rafindadi on Thursday disclosed that the Federal Ministry of Works and FERMA have identified 353 roads across the federation that need urgent repair to enable motorists and commuters travel with ease during the Christmas and New Year period.
This was as the Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) Mr Boboye Oyeyemi said the commission has put the necessary mechanism in place to ensure a hitch free vehicular movement during the festive period, warning that it will not hesitate to punish any recalcitrant drive who breach the traffic rule.
Speaking to State House correspondents at a joint briefing at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the two agencies said they were directed by the Federal Executive Council to ensure the roads are motorable for people traveling during the festive season.
Oyeyemi said that the FRSC will prosecute all traffic offenders at the various mobile courts that are strategically located along the major roads in the country.
On overloading, the Corps Marshal said, “it is part of what we will be prosecuting at the mobile courts nationwide, it is a major problem but we will not give up. It is sad what we see on the Abuja Kaduna road , where human beings are being put in the booth with goats, rams. Why won’t you have outbreak of diseases.
He said that the FRSC would appeal to the magistrate courts to press for maximum punishment for all those drivers involved in in any form of traffic violation.
Oyeyemi said, “Now what we have been doing is that they will now go for emotional and psychological evaluation, use of over driving, lane, traffic light violation, driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
“With the digital alcoholizer which we took delivery of from an organisation, in addition we are going to put pressure on drink driving. We have enough personnel and recruitment is still going on. Mr. President has shown more passion and support us, so I as the head have no excuse for not delivering to ensure the stress is reduced from road users. I want to assure that we have put in our best to ensure all these are done if only road users ensure that they don’t violate it.
For the end of the year patrols, we have divided the operations into three segments, that is pre-Christmas, post-Christmas and post New Year. So this will stretch from December 15th to January 15th and we are deploying over 21,000 personnel to all critical corridors with over 1,000 patrol vehicles, including recovery vehicles, ambulances and the bikes.
The country has been partitioned into critical 52 corridors across the country. The focus for the end of the year is that in conjunction with FERMA, FERMA is carrying out palliative measures on all the critical areas on the highways to ensure free flow of traffic.
“Our principle responsibility during this period is to to ensure free flow of traffic, that could mean that as you are traveling you may likely experience some gridlock in one or two areas in the cause of the construction work is going on, so we are not talking about enforcement, we are talking about the issue of getting the travelers getting home safely.”
Also speaking, the FERMA Managing Director, Nurudeen Rafindadi said that in addition to the major construction works that are being done by the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing in the major aterial, the agency has identified a total of 353 critical roads that need palliative measures specifically during this period.
According to him, the bulk of this work has been allocated between the department of construction rehabilitation of the ministry of works and FERMA.
In order to realize this goal, Rafindadi said, the agency has been assigned 16 critical and prominent roads that need to be addressed immediately within the period.
The agency has put in place an implementation plan for the maintenance and repair of these identified federal roads as well as other roads that are frequently used by motorists especially during this period even the roads that are outside the ministries jurisdiction, he added.
He said that efforts have been made towards deployment of resources and personnel for the repair of these roads that have been assigned to FERMA.
The FERMA boss said, a lot of the repairing works are concentrated around 16 major routes: Oyo-Ibadan road in Ogun State, Minna-Tegina road in Niger State, Sheda -Abaji road on the FCT/Kogi State, Abaji-Kotonkarfe road in Kogi State, Itakpe -Federal College of Education Road around Okene in Kogi State, Agbo-Asaba road in Delta State, sections along Benin -Warri road in Delta State, Lokoja-Ajaokuta road in Kogi State, Itobe-Ayangba-Ankpa -Otukpa road in Kogi State, Uyo-James town road in Akwa Ibom State, Ogoja -Katsina Ala road in Cross River State, Biu road in Gombe state, Damaturu-Mauduguri road in Yobe and Borno State, Bauchi-Jos -Akwanga roads in Plateau and Nasarawa States, Bauch-Potiskum road in Bauchi and Yobe State; Katsina – Jibia road in Katsina State.
“In addition to these roads which we tagged as priority one because we identified them jointly with the ministry, there are other arterial roads that we know are frequently used especially during the holidays season, they have been part of our work all along.
“These roads, we are also deploying personnel and resources and arrangement are been made to move quickly from the first and second week of December – some of these roads include: Onitsha dual carriage way, Abakaliki -Ogoja-Ikom roads, Katsina Ala-Zakibiam-Ukari road, Akwanga-Lafia – Makurdi road, Akwanga-Keffi -Abuja road, Ibadan -Ilesha dual carriage way, Akure -Owo-Eluku road, Owo -Akumgba -Ibilo-Okene road, and Kabba -Amuwo road.”