Posted by GRANDNEWS | 7 November 2019 | 466 times
The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN, on Wednesday stirred the hornets’ nest when he insisted that Nigerian roads were not as bad as they are often portrayed.
Fashola who spoke shortly after the Federal Executive Council meeting, had claimed that reports on the poor state of the country’s roads were mere hypes.
The FEC meeting, which was presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, approved N58.4billion for the construction of Bida-Sachi-Nupeko road and the Nupeko-Patigi Bridge across River Niger, linking Nupeko and Patigi in Niger and Kwara states.
Conditions of federal roads across the country have been in terrible in a terrible state of disrepair. Bandits and herdsmen have capitalized on the impassable roads to kill and kidnap travelers along the highways.
Fashola, while dismissing reports on bad state of the highways said, “The roads are not as bad as they are often portrayed. I know that this is going to be your headline, but the roads are not that bad”, he had told State House Correspondents.
Fashola further explained that, but for funding challenges, most road projects would have been long completed.
He stated that some parts of the country faced peculiar issues like high water table, which made construction in the rainy season difficult.
The minister mentioned the South-East and the South-South among areas with such difficulties. He added that the ministry and contractors were waiting patiently for the rains to subside so that they could return to sites.
Expectedly, angry reactions have trailed the assertion by the minister with many using unprintable innuendoes in describing his utterance.
The social media has been literally gone alight.
In his reaction, the Chairman, Infrastructure Development Committee, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Ibrahim Usman, said contrary to what the minister said, Nigerian roads were very bad.
He said, “I think the minister is being economical with the truth. The roads are terrible. Take for instance the Biu to Gombe road that took one-and-a-half hours in the past to ply, now it takes four hours to get from Biu to Gombe. The luck we have is that Boko Haram has not stuck on that road.
“Another terrible road is the Damaturu-Biu road. That also takes four hours when in the past it took less than two hours.That was where military trucks and equipment were seized and taken into the bush by bandits some weeks back. At least if the roads are good, cars can move with speed but when the roads are terrible, movement is difficult and it is easy for robbers to attack.”
Usman said his cars could no longer ply the roads and he had to park them.
He said he recently travelled from Lagos to Cotonou where he spent three hours getting to Cotonou but from Cotonou to Lome, he did not find a single pothole and the trip took less than the length of time it took to go from Lagos to Cotonou.
The Director General, Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, Mr Timothy Olawale, reasoned that the minister might not be plying the same roads as other Nigerians.
He made reference to the Ibadan-Oyo-Ogbomoso road, saying that it was a very good example of the terrible situation of Nigerian roads.
He said, “The huge craters along the Oyo-Ogbomoso road can swallow vehicles. These are roads that were manageable before but they have gone completely bad. People spend hours on that expressway because of tankers that fall into the craters.
“The sad thing is that the government is not doing any kind of palliative work on the roads.”
Olawale said he also had reason to travel by road from Asaba to Enugu and the same deplorable road situation played out.
He said, “To say that the road between Asaba and Enugu is bad is an understatement. I think the minister is not in touch with reality. He needs to speak with his road maintenance engineers and get information about the true situation of Nigerian roads.”
On his part, the Ogun State Chambers of Commerce, Industry Mines and Agriculture, disagreed with the minister.
The Chambers, which spoke through its first state Deputy President, Wasiu Olaleye, said Nigerian roads were “nothing to write home about.”
He advised the minister to travel on some roads in Ogun State and beyond, adding that it was difficult to cite any good road in the country.
He said, “ The roads in Nigeria are nothing to write home about because, when you look at the road we are using; the Lagos-Sango-Abeokuta road, I was told by one of my members yesterday that a section of that road from Itori to Papa, you can’t even try to move in that part with vehicle at all.
“A friend also just sent a message that he spent about three to four hours on that road on Saturday night and he even posted it on social media. (Source: PUNCH)
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