Stakeholders Decry Poor State of Roads in Nigeria | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Stakeholders Decry Poor State of Roads in Nigeria

Posted: Sep 21, 2015 at 12:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Juliet Oyoyo Kaduna

Stakeholders in the road transport sector have decried the deplorable state of roads in Kaduna state in particular and the entire country in general.

The stakeholders lament that despite of the huge resources allocated to the road sector for maintenance, rehabilitation and where necessary, construction of new roads, the conditions of the roads have remained pitiable.

A stakeholder in Kaduna State,  Mallam Mansur Awwaulu, a transporter with over fifty years experience, called on government at all tiers “to consider the issue of creating  a National Road Fund.

This he argued could go a long way in generating funds for both rehabilitation and maintenance of Nigerian roads, insisting that it is the only way the citizenry would enjoy safe roads.

He also said that it was imperative for government at all levels to consider the reintroduction of toll on the roads.

His words: “Funding of roads maintenance by government at the local, state and federal levels require the judicious use of resources. But with the introduction of tolls and weighbridges, it would checkmate excessive weights on the roads, as these are inimical to the life span of the roads. There will be an added injection of funds from these generators of revenue which in turn, would ease the burden on the government.

“Road users would readily cooperate if the funds realized from tolls are judiciously utilised in the maintenance of our roads. The number of potholes on the roads is on the increase and if not checked, would result to bigger problems loss of lives,” he said.

Daily Independent investigations across Kaduna state  for instance revealed that federal roads take about 2, 000 kilometres of the total 30,000 kilometres of the road networks in the country, many of which are in need of rehabilitation, having outlived their life span.

It was gathered that the average life span of roads is 15 to 20 years. However, in Nigeria, many of our roads have stayed up to 30 to 40 years without rehabilitation.

Our correspondent also spoke with the Federal Controller, (Works), in- charge of Kaduna State, Engineer Tukur, who said that it would not be fair for him to speak on the state of the roads in his area of jurisdiction, as he might be accused of bias.

According to him, stakeholders in the transport sector, who are the direct beneficiaries, should be sought for comments and views, as their positions could provide a true picture and state of affairs of our roads.

It could be recalled that the state of roads in Nigeria has become a cause for concern by many stakeholders across the country and this brings to mind.

The recent appeal by the National President, Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners, NARTO, Dr. Kassim Ibrahim Bataiya to the federal government to, as a matter of urgency, look critically into the areas of road infrastructure; the roads and bridges in the country.

According to the NARTO Boss, “looking at Nigerian roads today, you can say the states of the roads are on an average score; meaning, it is fair and that can be scored at 30% rating. There is need for the government to intervene on the issue of road infrastructure”.

Bataiya is however of the belief that, “road infrastructure is very expensive and in most parts of the world, government budgetary provision alone is not enough to take care of road infrastructure and Nigeria is not an exception”.

His words: “So, it is not going to be easy for government, through budgetary provisions to maintain, construct and rehabilitate Nigerian roads. Government should seek for alternative options of funding our roads, such as it is being done in other countries of the world”.

He noted that there are bills by Road Regulatory Authorities and other Road Sector Regulatory Policies still pending before the National Assembly to be enacted into law. The government, according to Kassim Ibrahim Bataiya, “needs to expedite action so that these policies and Bills get the nod from the National Assembly”.

Onoja Amos, another stakeholder however regretted government’s inaction on rehabilitation and reconstruction of roads in the country.

Speaking with Daily Independent, he disclosed that interventions by the government through MDA’s are not receiving adequate funding commensurate with the level of job to be done.

As a road user, Onoja noted that governments at all levels should seriously consider issue of thorough rehabilitation, reconstruction and regular maintenance of the over 300,000kms of road networks nationwide.

Some federal roads within Kaduna state that have received considerate attention are: Kaduna-Abuja Highway, Kaduna-Kafanchan-Kwoi road, Kaduna-Zaria-Kano expressway and the Kaduna-Birnin Gwari roads.

Roads that are within 10kilometer radius of city centres are under the purview of the state governments to maintain. This according to a source  was a part of the agreements reached by the Council of Works of state governments at a recent parley.