Samuel Bello, Abuja
Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) may boast of good roads but safety in some of the roads are now being threatened by manholes.
In Utako, Jabi, Wuse, Area 1, and Apo, manholes litter everywhere, causing concerns among residents. The concerns are coming on heels of increasing flood, which deceitfully cover the manholes with debris, making them death traps.
The manholes are supposed to have covers to prevent anyone from falling in but they are not there. Some residents of Garki, Jabi and Wuse have even turned the holes meant for water drainage to public dustbins.
Residents also seem to be unbothered about issues of flooding or water contamination until they happen. A resident claimed that some of the manholes were left open on purpose to reduce the underground overflowing.
Mr. Sadiq Ishaku, a tailor and resident expressed frustration at the series of measures that the government could have taken to avoid foreseeable future occurrences of flooding and erosion. He also alleged that the environmental
negligence claimed some lives last year:
“Electricity poles in Lokogoma are dropping seriously and nobody is even looking at it.
Some days ago, because of this erosion, four poles fell. Motorists most times find it difficult to drive, especially on Efab Road, which is even worse. People park their cars for the rain to subside. Last year, a family of five, two boys and one girl with the parents all died in a trap during the rain.
“Even the road that leads to the Yar’Adua Centre and to Silverbird Cinema was seriously flooded one afternoon like never before. Maybe it is the structure of some buildings around that place but I know if it continues we would soon start seeing potholes there or things going worse.”
Raymond Ojukwu, attendant at a garden in Wuse Zone 4, witnessed how one of these manholes trapped a middle age man: “I have always been wondering how people manage to avoid that exposed hole until this guy entered.
Fortunately for him he was rescued earlier enough.” He decried the negligence from concerned authorities and urged them to work on the exposed manholes for proper water flow.
Miss Itohan Odion, a hair stylist, lamented about the roads in Abuja and begged the Federal Government to clear drainage system and make the manholes freer for easy flow of water. She bitterly pondered on how disappointed she was when erosion on Lugbe Road caused her series of car maintenance:
“Lugbe Road has pulled my bumper close to 10 times in one month. The government tries to fix this road but they don’t actually care because what they do is pour normal sand to fill the potholes, forgetting that when it rains it would go back to the way it was, if not worse.
“Rarely will you catch me driving out of town to visit anyone except it’s a matter of life and death. It started raining heavily on this day and it was difficult for me to drive as it wasn’t my normal route.
“Unknown to me, there were so many flood pockets on the road which became even difficult to sight. Next thing I felt was loud crash! My bumper had dropped on the road, my car ran over it, then my tyres were affected. I was forced to come down in the rain with my dress and hair soaked.
“As normal angry Nigerians, some people especially taxi drivers were still shouting at me for being on the road. Luckily, some guys helped put the bumper in the back seat of my car. While they were doing this, I calculated in my head how much I had in my wallet because we all know while Nigerians can be nice, nothing really goes for nothing in this country. As I stood there under the rain, I thought to myself, will Nigeria grow; will we properly manage our resources to make this country great?
“I have already gone with taxi to get my Permanent Voter’s Card to vote against Buhari. Budgets come out every year
and the littlest things aren’t taken care of.
It would cost the Federal Government very little to have roads fixed.” Mohammed Ishaku, a civil servant, said: “If there is anything that makes me afraid especially when rain is falling, it is driving around Utako, uncovered manholes are everywhere.”