By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna.
The continuous wear and tear on the Suleja – Minna road by heavy duty and articulated vehicles plying the road has made nonsense of the rehabilitation work embarked upon by the Niger state government.
Irked by the continued dilapidation of the road, the state Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello ordered for an immediate stoppage of the repair work for which it had sank four hundred million naira.
Governor Bello said Wednesday while on an inspection visit on the road that several portions of the road have continued to fail due largely to the heavy duty vehicular movements on the road while repairs and maintenance work was ongoing.
He said repair work on the failed portions of the road must stop hencewith to curb the wastage of the state government’s resources even as he complained that relevant authorities that were supposed to check the tonnage of vehicles plying the nation’s highways have gone to sleep as haulage vehicles are allowed on the road without care or concerns over the capacity of the roads.
“We have therefore directed the immediate suspension of work on the damaged portions until those vested with the responsibilities of checking and controlling movements of some heavy duty trucks wake up to their task and do their jobs” he said.
Vast portions of the road have been damaged thus making the road unmotorable as motorists and other road users spend over three hours between Minna to Abuja.
Motorists have been complaining even as the frequencies of carnages on the road have become a near daily occurrence with loss of lives, huge economic losses and productive man hour.
The Minna Suleja road, a distance of less than 90 kilometres was awarded by the Federal government in 2010 at the cost of 34 Billion naira to Salini Nigeria Limited for the first phase which was to have been completed in 2013 but six years after, even the first phase of the project had not gone beyond 45% completion.
The company handling the construction work said only 6 billion was paid by the government out of the contract sum.
Governor Bello who has visited the company handling the construction of the road earlier last month, had at several times pleaded with the Federal Government to complete the project to check the carnage on the road and ease traffic flow.
Following public outcry by commuters and other road users, the state government resolved to intervene by committing 400 million for the repairs of the failed portions of the road but the continuous use of the road by heavy duty and articulated vehicles have continued to cause more damages on the road as several portions of the road are now getting worse.
The Governor said the lean resources of the state would not allow his administration to continue to sink its hard earned resources on the maintenance project which has not yielded any result as vehicular movements have made it impossible for the work to be executed.
He charged the Federal Ministry of Works to enforce weigh bridges law to safe guard the life spans of roads in the country.
He lamented that though there are laws that regulate weight of vehicles on the roads which stipulates that heavy and articulated vehicles should be between 30,000 to 35,000 tones, regretably most of the heavy duty vehicles plying Nigerian roads weighed between 40,000 tones and 70,000 tonnes thereby putting much pressure on the roads.
The Governor disclosed that the State House of Assembly was working on a bill for the introduction of a weigh bridges which will provide for the arrest and prosecution of any overloaded vehicle plying state roads to ensure sustainability of the roads across the state.
By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna.