The Senate is asking the federal government to, as a matter of urgency, consider a N300 billion Emergency Intervention Fund for the reconstruction of deplorable federal roads in Niger State.
The lawmakers also urged the federal government to declare a state of emergency on the critical roads in Niger State, which they said, links economic corridors in the North and South.
This, they said, would facilitate the infrastructural rehabilitation efforts of the government to support ease of business and economic recovery.
The call was a sequel to the deliberation on a motion on the deplorable nature of ‘Trunk A’ roads in the state, sponsored by the Deputy Whip, Sabi Abdullahi (APC, Niger North).
Leading the debate, the lawmaker decried the poor state of federal roads in Niger State while he referred to a recent protest by some truck and tanker drivers to that effect.
He said while the state has the longest federal road network of 2,263km out of a total of 32,000km of federal road network, they have caused untold hardships to the users.
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, he explained.
“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.
“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.
Mr Abdullahi also complained that all the major link roads have failed with fatal accidents occurring on a daily basis resulting in loss of lives, goods and vehicles.
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 abandoned by contractors, he added.
The Senate resolved that a National Legislative Roundtable on the State of Infrastructure for Economic Development be held, to bring all stakeholders in the transport and logistics industries together with a view to identifying urgent actions to address the current challenges.
The lawmakers also urged the Federal Government to direct the Federal Ministry of Works to carry out emergency stabilisation 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.
FG to commence work
Apparently, the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, had directed the contractor handling the construction of Lambata -Lapai – Bida Road to immediately commence work on the critical section of the road in order to bring relief to commuters.
He, however, did not state the amount awarded for the contract.
This was prior to Mr Abdullahi’s motion.
Mr Fashola’s directive was contained in a statement dated 27 September and signed by the ministry’s Director of Press and Publications, Boade Akinola.
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The Minister noted that the inclement weather condition is adversely affecting the progress of work on the ongoing 124.8km thereby making the road unmotorable especially between Km45-50kms to articulated vehicles and trailers conveying petroleum products and others.
He said he 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 directed the contractor to concentrate efforts on executing the worst Fadama section of the road Km 45- 50 where a lot of earthworks are required, in order to further alleviate the pains of commuters.
“…The Minister is also appealing 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,” part of the statement read.
He assured road users of the federal government’s commitment to infrastructural development and sympathised with those adversely impacted.