Senate Asks Buhari Government To Fix Death-Trap Roads In Edo
Federal Lawmakers have urged President Muhammadu Buhari’s government to rehabilitate dilapidated roads in Edo State.
The Senate made this known in a statement released on Wednesday by Mohammed Isa, Special Assistant (Media) to the Senate President, urging the government to rehabilitate Benin-Ekpoma-Okene, Benin-Sapele and Ewu-Uromi-Agbor roads to enhance socioeconomic growth in the state.
The Senate further called for adequate funding to complete the reconstruction of those roads, urging the government to come up with a plan to settle all lingering issues bordering on the dualisation of the roads, and review the terms and conditions of the contract to meet the current realities of inflation.
The Senate reached the resolutions following a motion sponsored by the three Senators from Edo state; Senators Clifford Akhimienmona Ordia, Matthew Urhoghide and Francis Asekhame Alimikhena.
Presenting the motion, Senator Ordia noted that the roads were constructed more than 30 years ago and that they boosted socio-economic activities between the northern and southern parts of Nigeria.
He said, due to age, and wear and tear, certain sections of the roads were starting to fail, a development that had caused untold hardship to commuters plying the routes.
He said, “In 2022, following a series of complaints by commuters and motorists plying the Benin-Ekpoma-Okene Road, the contract for its reconstruction and dualisation was awarded by the Federal Government.
“In the same vein, the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan also awarded the contract for the rehabilitation of the Ewu-Uromi-Agbor Road before his administration ended in 2015.
“In 2021, it was reported that Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki attempted to intervene in fixing the failed portion of the Sapele-Asaba Road, especially the PZ-Junction-Ologbo axis of the road, he was however stalled by the Federal Government, with the reason that it is a federal road and that the contract for its rehabilitation has already been awarded.
“Since the rehabilitation and reconstruction were awarded, the pace of work has been very slow. The factors that top the list of reasons for the slow pace of work on these roads as reported are nonpayment of compensation, relocation of structures/buildings on the right of way, as well as, delay in payment of contractors.”
He expressed concern that “currently, certain portions of the roads have failed completely and have become a source of nightmare to motorists, especially articulated vehicles that spend days on the same spot thereby preventing other small vehicles from navigating their way through the roads.
“Transporters are forced to increase their fares due to increased hours of the time it takes for them to arrive at a journey that they would have otherwise spent less time to arrive at thereby passing the buck to passengers and travellers who now pay higher than expected fares to their destinations”.
Ordia said the people of Edo state felt neglected by the Federal Government, while socio-economic activities in the communities around the roads had been grossly affected negatively.
However, in his contribution, the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege denied that the project was abandoned, saying, rather, it is being done in phases due to paucity of funds.
Also, Senator Kabiru Gaya (APC- Kano South) said 34,000 kilometres of road is too much for the Federal Government to handle considering its lean resources.
Gaya said there was a need for state governors to be encouraged to carry out maintenance and reconstruction works on federal roads and be refunded later.
In his remarks, Senate President Ahmad Lawan said it was unfair to allege that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari had not done well in road maintenance.
Lawan said, “What was given to the Federal Ministry of Works in 2015 was N22 billion. The APC administration that took over gave the ministry over N200 billion that same year. I am just trying to put the records straight.
“There is a clear commitment from this side to address this national issue of the poor condition of our roads. For us here in the Senate, and the National Assembly, what we need to do is to be really patriotic. Just support the Executive to ensure our roads wherever they are, whether they are in Delta, or in Jigawa or Abia, we don’t care. It is Nigerians that are plying these roads.
“But I think for anyone to say that the roads; over 34,0000 kilometres have not been attended to well by this administration, I think is unfair.
“So, I want us to be guided. But we have not done enough. Despite this, we need to do more. But we are far better in the last seven years than the people that served for 16 years.”