By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna
Despite it’s widely publicised insistence on closure of state owned roads to all heavy duty vehicles, Niger state government has agreed to reopen the road as federal government pressured it to reopen the roads.
The federal government had summoned the state governor, Abubakar Sani Bello for a meeting with the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa on Friday as the road closure entered it’s third day.
During the meeting, the federal government was able to impress it on Niger state governor to order a reopening of the closed roads considering the economic and political implications of the road closure to the country’s volatile economy and political situation.
Barely twenty four hours into the road closure, the national leadership of Petroleum Tanker Drivers in the country had ordered it’s members to stop lifting and transporting petroleum products from Lagos to the north, a development which portended grave economic hardship for the region.
In what appeared as a national calamity setting, with obvious consequences, the federal government quickly summoned the state governor for a meeting where it was gathered that the federal government assures of it’s commitments to effect repairs of some federal roads which were hitherto used by heavy haulage vehicles but abandoned as they got dilapidated and unnavigable.
Governor Sani Bello had shortly after his meeting with Professor Ibrahim Gambari, Chief of Staff to President Buhari, expressed gratitude to citizens in Niger state for what he called “their understanding”.
He showered encomiums on citizens of the state for their unflinching support for his administration’s policies and programmes and for their patience and understanding during the recent closure of some roads in the state.
Governor Sani Bello said the closure was meant to fast track ongoing work on the Minna – Bida road which has been in a terrible state of disrepair.
The Minna to Bida road is the only access motorable road that connects the state capital, Minna to the southern parts of the state and is the gateway to the southern parts of the country from the state capital.
He explained that his administration had no ulterior motive in closing down the Minna to Bida road to heavy duty vehicles adding that the action of the state was in best interest of the state.
He said the short period of the roads closure had demonstrated to the federal government the troubles and pains commuters go through in plying on roads in the state.
He expressed optimism that the action of his administration has provoked a new level of positive collaboration between the state and the federal government towards fixing the federal roads that transverse the state.
The governor commended the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari at whose instance the Abuja meeting was held during which the decision to review the ban on road closure was taken. ==//==