Federal Roads Collapse Across States

The deplorable conditions of federal roads are becoming unbearable across the states, with stakeholders, including governors lamenting and calling the attention of the Federal Government.

Vice-President Kashim Shettima at the weekend directed the North-East Development Commission (NEDC) to prioritise the reconstruction of the collapsed roads across the region, especially the Jalingo-Yola road.

The vice-president underscored the strategic importance of the Jalingo-Yola road, highlighting that it also served as a vital link between the country’s North-East and South-East regions.

He implored the NEDC Chairman, Gen Paul Tarfa, to expedite repairs on the route, and urged the intervention agency to consider the rehabilitation of the Gombe-Bauchi, Maiduguri-Damboa, and Gujiba-Biu roads.

38 uncompleted projects worth N979 billion are awaiting urgent attention of the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration.

Many federal roads cutting across states have become death traps.

At the weekend, the Anambra governor told works minister that all federal roads in his domain had failed.

The situation, he claimed, was similar in several states.

Soludo, who spoke when Umahi visited him in Awka, the state capital, urged the federal government and the Works ministry to re-think and bring in new models of delivering federal roads across the country.

He said all federal roads in Anambra State had failed, adding that they needed urgent attention.

He added: “The Federal Government is staying in Abuja and trying to award road contracts in all nooks and crannies of the country.

“Sincerely speaking, the entire federal roads are all gone. We are currently spending up to N20 billion on federal roads.”

Agreeing with him, the Minister said Anambra and Ebonyi were competing for the worst in terms of poor federal road projects.

Umahi said: “I am a bit disappointed with the state of Enugu/Onitsha Expressway; I have called both the contractors and consultants to a meeting this evening with the governor.

“I have equally passed a vote of no confidence on the consultants.”

He directed the firm to immediately rehabilitate the bad spots, which have caused vehicles to fall and other sundry hiccups on the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway.

The minister said he was personally concerned due to the series of calls and complaints from those plying the road.

In Ogun, Governor Dapo Abiodun also expressed his displeasure and frustration over the deplorable conditions of federal roads in the state, especially, the Lagos-Abeokuta highway.

He lamented that all efforts to get the Federal Government to attend to the road were rebuffed.

Abiodun, who spoke when Umahi visited the gateway state, called for urgent attention.

The minister proposed the rehabilitation of the Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta Expressway through federal/state collaboration.

According to Umahi, the era of bureaucracy on road construction was over.

In Edo, the poor state of the roads led to a tiff between Governor Godwin Obaseki and Umahi.

It followed a viral video on social media three weeks ago showing Obaseki in a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) and his convoy stuck in a waterlogged Benin-Auchi highway.

Onlookers jeered at the governor as his convoy struggled to wade through the flooded road.

They said it served him right for his administration’s failure to fix dilapidated roads.

The governor reacted by placing a signpost on the road, indicating that it belonged to the federal government.

Umahi urged Obaseki to reach out to him with a design if the state was desirous of giving attention to any federal road within its domain.

“Tell my brother in Edo state to send me a WhatsApp message, let’s talk about a design and make life better for road users,” the minister said.

In Ekiti, residents raised the alarm over the terrible state of several roads, including the Ado-Ijan-Ikare road, Iyin-Igede-Aramoko-Ilesa Road, Oye-Ikole-Omuo-Ekiti road and Ado-Ikere-Akure road.

The poor state of the roads linking Ekiti to neighbouring states has been further worsened by the downpours associated with the rainy season.

Abia governor, Alex Otti also expressed concern on the stress being faced by commuters on the Aba-Port Harcourt road.

He lamented that the hitherto 30-minute journey now toom about three hours.

The governor expressed his administration’s readiness to cooperate with the Federal Government in fixing highways in the state.

Otti offered to engage Umahi on the Umuahia-Bende-Abriba-Ohafia to Arochukwu federal road, a rehabilitation contract of which was awarded by the defunct Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) when former President Muhammadu Buhari was its chairman under the late Gen. Sani Abacha regime.

The governor said the contract was abandoned and later re-awarded in 2011 by President Goodluck Jonathan, but abandoned again.

Abia has about 11 on-going federal road projects in the state, according to Umahi, who visited Otti over the weekend.