…Over 2,000 Commuters Stranded…..Again Governor Bello Threatens To Shutdown State Owned Roads
John Adams, Minna
For the second time in three weeks, the Niger state governor Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello has threatened to shutdown the ever busy Minna-Bida highway and other state owned roads to heavy trailers, tankers and other articulated vehicles following the expiration of the two weeks window given to the federal government to enable it undertake some emergency repair on Bida-Agaie-Lapai-Lambata road.The latest threat from the governor follows the collapse on Wednesday of two bridges, one at Kateregi, along Minna-Bida highway and another one at Zungeru, along Bida-Wushishi-Zungeru road, resulting in a heavy Gridlock along the two routes for the past two days.The roads leading to Bida from Minna and Minna-Zungeru to Bida have being blocked due to the gridlock occasioned by the collapse of the two bridges with over 2,000, travelers stranded in the last 72 hours.The governor had two weeks ago closed all the state owned roads to trailers, trucks and other articulated vehicles due to the deplorable conditions of these roads and to enable contractors handling the construction work on the Minna-Bida highway speed up the work.The roads were however reopened two days later after an appeal by the federal government to allow uninterrupted supply of petroleum products to the north, promising to undertake an emergency repair of the Bida-Agaie-Lapai-Lambata road to serve as an alternative route.Speaking shortly after inspecting the state government intervention work on the “terrible spots” on the Minna-Suleja highway to ease the sufferings of travelers, the governor said the state government will have no choice than to close down the Minna-Bida road to heavy vehicles in the next few days “because the federal government has failed to fulfilled it part of the agreement for the reopening of the road”.The governor who expressed displeasure over the gridlock resulting from the collapse of the bridges on Minna-Bida and Bida-Wushishi-Zungeru-Minna road, stressing that “as a government, we will have no choice than to shutdown the road to allow the contractor go ahead with their job.”We agreed with the federal government that the state government should reopen the roads and give them two weeks to enable them carry out some emergency repair work on the Bida-Lapai-Lambata road so as to ease pressure on the Minna-Bida road and to also allow the contractors do their work.”But two weeks have passed and nothing has been done, the situation has remained the same. You can see that the situation is getting worse everyday and we are running out of patience.”Based on our agreement with the federal government, I expected that by now something should have been done to make this road accessible but unfortunately nothing has changed.”As a government we can not fold our hands and see our people suffer everyday on this road, we will shut it down any moment from now to enable the contractor return to work. This time around there will be no going back until the Minna-Bida road is fixed”.