Niger Govt Sends SOS To FG Over Deplorable Roads

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Mr. Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Works and Housing

By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna
Niger State Government has said that it has mobilised contractors to repair the eight severely failed portions on the 89 kilometres Minna to Bida road even as it sent out a cry to the federal government saying the road is in a state of emergency.
The New Nigerian online newspaper, (NNN) had last Friday carried a report on the road whose several portions have become deathtraps as huge gullies dot the long portions of the road.
The state government said the Minna to Bida road require an  emergency intervention from the federal government to rescue it from total collapse and closure to all vehicular traffic.
Permanent Secretary at the state’s Ministry of Works and Infrastructural Development, Abubakar Sadiq Balarabe, during an inspection visit on the road, attributed the frequent failure, wear and tear of the road to factors which included old age of road, damages caused by overloaded articulated, heavy duty vehicles and erosion.
On hand during the inspection visit were some newsmen. The Permanent Secretary lamented that most of the roads across the state were in deplorable, impassable conditions.
Niger has the largest landmass of 76,363 square km in the country. It has over 2,165 kilometres of federal roads across the state connecting the north and the south, west of the country. But out of these, less than 200 kilometres of the roads are motorable.
Speaking to Journalists during the the spot assessment of some the failed sections on the Minna – Bida road, Abubakar Sadiq Balarabe said the road has outlived it’s lifespan and needed to be totally reconstructed all over.
He said though the state government has been spending huge resources annually to rehabilitate some of the federal roads in parts of the state, there was the urgent need for the federal government to intervene on the repairs and reconstruction of all the roads in view of their glaring relevance and economic importance to the country.
He listed some of the federal roads which needed urgent federal government’s attention to include the Minna – Suleja road, the Lambata – Lapai – Agaie – Bida road, the Mokwa – Bokani – Tegina road, the Minna – Kataeregi – Bida road as well as the Tegina – Kagara – Pandogari road.
He explained that while some section of the roads fail yearly due to excessive rainfall, most parts have failed because of heavy-duty trucks and other articulated trucks that ply the roads everyday.
These heavy duty vehicles are like ‘a necessary evil’. “They cannot totally be stopped from plying our roads hence it becomes incumbent that the federal government should either find alternative routes for them or compel them to carry the required haulage fit for our roads”.
“We are confronted with a situation where heavy-duty trucks that are supposed to carry about 30 – 40 tons, ply our roads with more than double the required tonnes. This is why our roads get damaged quickly and don’t last when they are built or repaired” he explained.
On the Minna to Bida road, the Permanent Secretary noted that eight sections of the road were prone to frequent collapse.
He disclosed that contractors handling the rehabilitation work on the road have been directed to expedite action on the repair of the failed portions on the road even the state government pursue close the prose plans for the dualization of the road.

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