Motorists across Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto and Kebbi States, have decried the deplorable state 0f roads and called for immediate action by federal and state governments, to address the problem.
The motorists said in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN),that some of the roads were death traps.
Government officials however said most of the bad roads were being repaired and would son be restored back to shape.
In Kaduna, the State Chairman, National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Malam Audu Kano, regretted that bad roads were responsible for frequent breakdown of their vehicles, which made them regular visitors to mechanics and panel beaters.
He acknowledged that work was on to restore back some of the roads and pleaded for strict supervision, to ensure quality work and timely completion.
Musa Usman, a driver, commended the federal government for the Kaduna-Zaria road project, describing it as one of the dividends of democracy.
Usman said: “The road used to be very bad, as there were large potholes on it and drivers had to be very careful in avoiding the potholes while driving.”
He, however, called for speeding- up of the job, to reduce accidents occurring daily on the highway.
“Since the commencement of the reconstruction of the road and subsequent blockade and road diversion, there had been increase in the number of road accidents.
“Vehicles now spend hours due to the road reconstruction, as the road now has been made one lane, but it is for a good cause.
“We appreciate the federal government for doing this, while we look forward to speedy completion of the road, ” Usman added.
Another driver, Aliyu Garba, said the reconstruction of the Kaduna-Zaria road, would curb hardship regularly witnessed on the roads by commuters.
He added that mishaps were recorded almost on daily basis on the road, due to its bad nature.
“If this road rehabilitation is completed, it will boost the country’s economy, through the attraction of more investors because there will be no risk of accident as a result of potholes”
Another motorist, Michael Isaiah, who commended the federal government on its effort to see a speedy work on the Kaduna-Zaria road project, said that prior to the road reconstruction, driving was difficult because one has to be 100 per cent focused on the potholes.
Isaiah stated that after a long number of years of the road usage, the lifespan of the roads has expired and the pavement structure was unable to cope with the prevailing traffic.
“The reconstruction of the road will also assist in reducing the traveling time and the security challenges faced by motorists.
“If this road reconstruction is completed, it will boost the country’s economy through the attraction of more investors because there will be no risk of accident as a result of potholes.
“I believe that the reconstruction of the road is a laudable initiative and all efforts must be put in place to ensure the safety of lives plying the road, ” he said.
A commercial driver, Moses Amos noted that though the Kaduna-Abuja road was being reconstructed, he still feels apprehensive driving along the road.
“When driving, my mind is fixated on the road, always on the look out for potholes and no matter how good a driver you are, you cannot avoid running into potholes. It is a nightmare that has defined driving in the country, ” he said.
Another driver, Mustapha Ahmed, indicated that lots of work is still needed as to repairing some new potholes on the Kaduna-Abuja express road as it is one of the busiest highways in the country.
He lamented that the number of accidents claiming lives and property on the Kaduna-Abuja road is alarming with barely no day passing without a record of one fatal accident, mostly involving heavy duty trucks.
A commuter, Sarah Ezekiel, said the construction of the Kaduna Eastern Bypass road being undertaken by the federal government was almost at its finishing state and it will be a good step by the government.
She stated that though the construction has taken a quite number of years, but if completed, the road would open the city and scale up economic activities and development.
Ezekiel pleaded with the federal government to speed up all contract processes to complete the project for people to start using it .
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), recalsl that the Kaduna Eastern Bypass road contract, was awarded on November 24, 2002 to Eksiogullari Construction (Nig), at the cost of N16 billion.
The road stretched from Kakau on the Abuja-Kaduna road and to link the Kaduna-Zaria road, covering a distance of about 48 km.
In Kano, motorists and commuters plying Kano-Gwarzo-Dayi road which link Kano to Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto , Kebbi states, and neighbouring Niger Republic, have expressed concerns about the deplorable state of the road.
They lamented that the Kano-Gwarzo-Dayi road, had now become a death trap in view of the number of potholes along the road.
According to them, the terrible state of the road was responsible for the increasing number of accidents being recorded on daily basis on the road.
One of the motorists, Malam Kasim Saidu, said some Federal roads in the state especially Kano- Gwarzo- Dayi road is long overdue for repairs, adding that some of the roads were devastated by rain.
According to him, Kano-Gwarzo–dayi road which is the major link among four states including Katsina, Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi needed serious government attention as it had never witnessed a major rehabilitation since it was constructed during the administration of retired Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida.
He added that the road had now become almost impassable and that plying the road now constituted great danger to motorists, commuters as well as other users of the road.
Another motorists, Bala Soja, said that most of the commercial drivers plying the road have continued to avoid the road as accident along the road had become a daily phenomenon.
“The road is too bad to the extent that it records accident on daily basis.
“Most of the potholes that have been patched by the government had already washed off,” he lamented.
According to him, criminals have of recent started taking advantage of the bad road by robbing and kidnapping people.
A commuter, Ali Idi, also complained about state of Kano-Kaduna road under construction, saying that the work is too slow.
“I follow the road three times a week due to the nature of my job. I spend more than six hours from Kano to Abuja through Kaduna due to potholes.
Idi lamented that the situation has discouraged some drivers from plying the road.
He said that the Federal Government had carried out rehabilitation of some dilapidated portions of the road when Abuja airport was closed for rehabilitation and flights were diverted to Kaduna airport.
Some drivers and commuters who are plying Kano-Maiduguri road also lamented about the slow pace of the reconstruction work which was awarded by President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2007.
Hussaini Dauda, a motorist, urged the Federal Government to talk to the contractor handling Kano section of the road to deploy more workers to ensure speedy completion of the road.
“I thank the Federal Government’ for re-mobilising contractors to site through SUKUK funded project in 2016. Our only worry is that the work in Kano state has been very slow, because Jigawa -Bauchi phase is almost completed,” he said.
However, Engr. Idi Saje, the Federal Controller of Works in Kano state says the dualisation of Kano-Katsina and Kano -Maiduguri roads being carried out by the Federal Government, was still going on smoothly.
“Iam happy to tell you that there is improvement in all the ongoing roads project being executed by Federal Government in Kano state.
According to him, “The additional link from Kano to Abuja which was initially dualized by Julius Berger will be completed soon. .
“The Kano-Maiduguri road currently being dualized by Dantata and the Kano-Katsina road dualisation being carried out by Chinese Company (CCECC) will soon be completed .
“With all these roads linking to Kano, there is a good improvement and almost 50 per cent completion.
“Very soon the state of federal roads will be in good shape.”
In Kebbi, the Federal Ministry of Works said that it had expended N19.8 billion for the construction of 171 kilometre road from Jega – Koko-Yauri in Kebbi.
The federal Controller of Works in the state, Mr Kpobari Nnah, told NAN in Birnin Kebbi that the road had reached 60 stages of completion.
“The total money earmarked for the project from Jega – Koko to Yauri is N19/8 billion, and it was awarded in 2015 as we have now covered 99 killometers of the road reaching about 60 per cent stages of completion.
“We only have 71 kilometers to be completed; the contractors have stopped because of the rain challenges when the rain subsides, we are going to continue with the work,” he said.
He said the road, if completed, would increase socio- economic activities and ease the transportation of goods and service.
“Most of the activities taking place in the area are socio-economic activities as farming and trading,” he said.
According to him, the work generated jobs for the youth such as roads rehabilitation, provisions of signals, pothole patching ,Road Markings, reclaiming of our Right of Ways (ROW),among others.
He said M/S Triacta Nigeria Limited was the contracting firm whom the road contract was awarded to.
Nnah added that the federal government had also awarded 15 kilometer of Tuga – Kaoje road, adding that the contractor was on site doing the survey work for the commencement of the work.
“You could recall, in 2018 flood, a section of Tuga – Kaoje road was badly flooded to the extent that Gov. Atiku Bagudu, intervened for emergency repairs.
” As we speak now, contract for that road has been awarded and the contactor is already on site to carryout survey work as soon as they finish, the work will commence,” he said.
The controller appealed to the road users to be patient with the contractors, stressing that they should be given the necessary support throughout the project duration.
He also enjoined motorists to abide by the rules and regulations while using the road.
A senior official of the company handling the road project, Mr Walid AbouJaoude said that phase 1 of the road project was started by his company, TRIACTA NIGERIA LIMITED from Sokoto airport roundabout.
He said, “This is phase 2 of the road project. It is from Jega roundabout and it will end in Yauri. It is a 171 kilometer road project,” he said.
The Federal Road Maintenance Engineer of Federal Road Maintenance Agency, FERMA, Malam Rilwanu Usman, said the agency had completed nine awarded contracts out of 12 appropriated to the state in 2018.
He said the completion of the projects were unprecedented and quite remarkable achievement of the agency from January to August, 2019.
“The nine works completed are: special protectively maintenance repairs on bridge along Argungu- Biu road in Kebbi North Senatorial District, which is 52 length of road kilometres. It was awarded to I.A.C Aliied Technical and Construction Company Ltd.
“There is also rehabilitation of Illo- Garis road in the same district area of four kilometers, which is awarded to I.C.O Engineering Consult Ltd. It was four kilometers.
“There are rehabilitation of Argungu- Kamba road, which is phase two, in the same district area of 165 kilometers;rehabilitation of access road.
“There are repairs of federal road from Saminaka town ,phase two, in Shanga LGA; special maintenance repairs along Birnin Kebbi- Jega road; special maintenance along Birnin Kebbi Argungu-Sokoto state borders ; and emergency repairs of sourced pile caps of bridge in the flood-prone fadama section of Argungu,” he said.
Usman said the remaining three works have not been completed; two have reached more than 85 per cent stages of completion while general maintenance repairs of Rijau- Ribah- Wasagu road is only 15 per cent.
“The construction of drainage and culvert at Turaku by end Koko-Jega federal road has reached 85 per cent stages of completion. It was awarded to A.K Commercial Projects Ltd.
” There is reinstatement of eroded embarkment washout and potholes patching along Rijau- Ribah- Wasagu road which is 80 per cent stages of completion. It was awarded to Sahel Nigeria Ltd,” he said.
The state Chairman of NURTW, Malam Usman Abubakar,, also enjoined commercial drivers in the state to be careful and to always observe traffic rules as work progressed on the road.
He commended the Federal Government for awarding the contract for the rehabilitation of the road, saying it would go a long way in easing the hardship faced by the motorists in the state.
Meanwhile, Engr. Ali Muhammad, the Chief Engineer of Federal Road Mainance Agency (FERMA) in charge of Sokoto state says the Agency maintains about 600 kilometers federal roads that linked Sokoto, neigbouring states and Niger Republic.
Muhammad told NAN that the roads include Gusau-Sokoto, Sokoto-Illela, Sokoto-Jega and Sokoto-Goronyo- Sabon Birni.
He said FERMA ensured periodic mentainance of the roads through direct repairs by its workers or by contractors engaged for the repairs.
According to him, all roads at present are in proper condition for motorists stressing when repair is ongoing FERMA ensured timey repair of poteholes and the side excavation.
He said repairs of washout portion of road was conducted by FERMA in Sayyinna on Sokoto- Jega road and another washout repairs is ongoing on 138 klm Goronyo-Sabonbirni road but stopped due to rain and immediately after the rain season workers would be mobilized back to site.
He said FERMA collaborate with Federal Ministry of Works to ensure harmonious activities as when road was constructed by the ministry, it is being maintain by FERMA.
The Public Relations Officer of Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) Sokoto Sector Command, Mr Garba Kanya, said road crashes mostly occured on good roads.
Kanya explained that divers engaged on over speeding on roads that are in proper shape than the ones with poteholes or other bad condition.
According him, sharp bends were present on some roads such at Kasarawa on Sokoto-Jega road and Sokoto-Illela roads while undulations were present along Shagari town also on Sokoto-Jega roads.
He said conditions of both Truck ‘A’ and Truck ‘B’ roads in Sokoto state are fearly goods and called on authorities to double efforts on maintaince of the roads.
NAN reports some Truck ‘B’ roads belonging to the state were in bad shape comprising Sokoto-Wamakko-Binji road, Sokoto-Raba road and Kware-Wurno road.
Effort to obtain reaction on conditions and government efforts on Truck ‘B’ roads from state’s ministry of works failed. (NAN)