The Nigerians Senate on Tuesday passed a resolution asking the Federal Government of Nigeria to make the sum of N300 billion available for urgent rehabilitation of failed roads in Niger State.
The resolution followed a motion of urgent national importance brought before Senators by the Senate Deputy Whip, Senator Sabi Abdullahi representing Niger North Senatorial District.
The motion which came through Order 42 and 52 of Senate standing rule, lamented the bad shape of the roads, which led to a protest by drivers of articulated vehicles who used their trucks to block the roads from Friday last week to the early hours of Tuesday, with attendant untold hardships on other road users.
Niger State, he explained has the longest federal road network of 2,263km out of a total of 32,000km of national federal roads network.
“The federal roads in Niger state stretched from the Abuja – Kaduna end to the Jebba – Mokwa – Makera – Tegina – Birnin Gwarimpa – Kaduna road to the Mokwa – New Bussa – Agwara – Kigera end which lies to the border with the Republic of Benin.
“Overall, the following are critical linkage roads within Niger State that provide logistical and vehicular movements between the North and South; especially the South West and North West corridors.
“Because of the massive land area of Niger State at 76,363km (representing about nine percent of the total land area of the country), all movements from North to South substantially traverse the State.
“Indeed, the massive haulage of heavy industrial goods such as petroleum products, iron rods, cement, finished manufactured goods, machines and equipment, electronic materials and goods, building materials etc, in which trucks and tankers are overloaded pits great pressure on the roads and thus are seriously devastating to the state of the roads”, he said.
He lamented that all the major link roads have totally failed with fatal accidents occurring daily with the loss of lives, goods and vehicles.
He added that the current rate of funding of federal roads in the state is unfortunately dismal and cannot deliver, which has led to many of the projects being abandoned by contractors.
He, therefore, called for emergency action from the federal government on the road in the mode of N300 billion special fund which was adopted by the Senate in its resolutions.
Other resolutions adopted by the Senate as sought for as prayers in the motion are that the Federal Government should declare a state of emergency on the critical roads in Niger State linking economic corridors in the North and South.
It also resolved that a National Legislative Roundtable on the State of Infrastructure for Economic Development be convoked, to bring all critical stakeholders in the transport and logistics industries together with a view to identifying urgent actions to address the current challenges.
The upper legislative chamber also urged the Federal Government to direct the Federal Ministry of Works to carry out emergency stabilization of the failed portions of Bida – Lapai – Lambatta road to ease the current suffering and rate of accidents and loss of goods and investments in the road.
But hours before the Senate’s call on the Ministry of Works for urgent repairs of some portions of the road, the Minister of Works had directed contractors handling the various roads, to move to site immediately.
Fashola had in a statement signed by the Director of Press and Public Relations in the Ministry, Boade Akinola, specifically directed the contractor handling the construction of Lambata -Lapai – Bida Road to immediately embark on remedial works with boulders on the critical section of the road to bring relief to commuters.
The Minister noted in the statement that the inclement weather condition is adversely affecting the progress of work on the ongoing 124.8km thereby making the road unmotorable especially between Km 45 – 50kms to articulated vehicles and trailers conveying petroleum products and others.
The Ministry as explained in the statement has contacted the leadership of the Union of Truck Owners and Operators to appeal to their drivers to vacate the road to allow the contractor access to the work sites.
The Minister also appealed to Niger State Government to reconsider the decision to close Bida – Minna and Lapai -Paiko roads to articulated vehicles while construction is equally going on to decongest and distribute the traffic on Bida -Lambata road to the other adjourning state roads.
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