No respite yet on nation’s ‘death trap’ roads

The Ministry of Works and has said the ongoing of many federal roads suffer neglect if not adequately funded. ADEYINKA ADERIBIGBE writes on the fresh threats by the

Good and motorable federal roads are becoming a rarity in this parts, no thanks to paucity of funds that continued to such .

Achieving and motorable roads in the country, the of successive administration in the last three decades, has again reared its and may put a cog in the wheel of the administration to bequeathe a motorable road across the country unless the intervene and approve more funds for the works department.

Hinting of this grave reality, the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, at his appearance before the on Works at the National Assembly urged the lawmakers to make more available to the Ministry.

According to him, the N157 billion allocated to the Works Ministry in the 2020 budget, cannot give the nation any respite from traps called roads.

According to him, the allocation is not enough to pay contractors for already delivered. On the minimum, the Works Department, he said, needs N255 billion to fund construction across the country, while N306 billion be required to pay contractors for jobs.

Fashola also disclosed that N2.93 billion was pending in unpaid certificates under multilateral-funded projects.

The Federal is undertaking the reconstruction of 5 roads across the six geo-political zones in the country. Checks revealed that though some of the roads, like the - Expressway, were inherited by the -led administration, it has continued to take on new road assignments in its determination to open the country to even development.

Fashola said roads being handled by the government would open up the . He said the focus was to make ease of doing in the country less cumbersome.

Besides the 524 federal roads, four others are multilateral-funded road projects, while 81 roads are being embarked upon under the Presidential Infrastructural Development Fund (PIDF) and 45 others funded by the Sukuk bond.

Among projects under the PIDF are --Zaria- Road, the Second Bridge, the Lagos-Ibadan Express Road, the Mambilla Hydro project and the East-West Road.

He, therefore, appealed to the lawmakers to make more money available to the ministry to ensure that none of the projects are stalled for lack of funds.

The lean budgetary allocation had also led to the stoppage of repayment to state governments for the of federal roads. Fashola said any government which embarked on such should not revert to it for payment as none would be paid. He advised the states to concentrate on state-funded roads.

He said: “When we came in, we inherited quite a number of such debts from states which repaired Federal roads and asked for refunds and the President directed that we pay all those that were approved by the previous government.”

has 194,000 kilometres of road network and their neglect over the years, is posing grace to motorists, as roads has emerged as the causes of deaths in the country.

More than 5000 deaths occur on Nigeria roads nationwide, a the Federal Roads Corps (FRSC) high command would squarely lay on the doorstep of recklessness of , than they would admit are caused by the deplorable roads.

Over speeding, recklessness and vehicle defects ranked very high in the causative factors of fatalities on the roads, Dr Boboye Oyeyemi would readily admit.

But the government admits that the roads are crumbling faster than they can be fixed. The worse roads are in, the quicker and trucks deteriorate, rocketing, the cost of repairs and maintenance. For many the experience remains that the cost of fixing the are getting scarily higher than the cost of fueling it.

Checks showed that virtually all federal roads in the five southeastern states are in total ruin, making an ordeal.

The swansong is similar in the Northeast and the remaining four geo-political zones are not left out. Sometimes in 2017, Fashola had said Nigeria may require about N7 trillion to all its road .

Among other roads being handled by the in the Southeast are the of Sections 1 to 4 of the - Expressway (Sukuk Bond; ongoing), rehabilitation of Amansea– Border section of Onitsha- Expressway (Sukuk Bond; ongoing), rehabilitation of 18km stretch of Onitsha–Awka Road (ongoing), construction of the Second Niger Bridge, rehabilitation of Arochukwu-Ohafia-Bende Road (ongoing). The Ikot Ekpene – Alaoji – Ugwuaji switching station has been completed.

Also ongoing is the intervention on 63 roads which across the six geopolitical zones — Northeast, Northwest, Northcentral, Southwest, Southeast and Southsouth. In the Northeast, the construction of  Billiri Filiya in Taraba-Gombe Road through Potiskum-Agalda-Gombe State Border/bridge at Km 32, and Potiskum-Kari-Bauchi S/B Road in State are ongoing.

Also, undergoing rehabilitation are Tella Road and Bridge, Abutment and Apawa-Junction-Zing-Adamawa (State Border) in Taraba State. Bauch-Darazo-Kari Road in . Numan-Lafia-Gombe State Border Road, Numan-Jalingo Road.  Numan-Guyuk ( Border. Ngurore-Mayobelwa Road in Adamawa State, all in the North East.

In the Northwest: Birnin Gwari Road in Kaduna, Kebbi-Argungu-Sokoto (State Border) Road in Kebbi State, Gusau-Chafe- Road in , Rimawa-Sabonbirnin-Niger Republic Road (Section 1), Rimawa-Sabon-birnin-Niger Republic Road (Section 2) and bridge embankment in Sokoto State, Gumel-Mallam Madori-Hadeija Road, Birnin Kudu and Babaldu-Malumuwa-Bauchi S/B Road, among others in ,Yayasa Bridge in Kano and Dusinma-Kankara Road in Katsina State. North-central: Makurdi-Lafia Road and Makurdi-Gboko Road in Benue, Okene-Kabba Road and Kabba-Omuo Road in , Ajase-Offa-Erinle- Boundary Road in Kwara, Keffi Abuja Road and Keffi-Gittata-Kaduna S/b Road, Nassarawa-Toto-Abaji Road in Nassarawa and Jebba-Mokwa Road, Bida-Lapal-Lambata Road and Makera-Tegina Road in Niger State are listed for repairs. Southwest Ibillo-Isu-Epinmi-Akungba Road and Owo-Akure Road in Ondo, Ilesa-Ijebu-Ijesa Road, Ijebu-Ijesa- S/B and Ibadan-Ile-Ife-Ilesa Road, S/B-Ilesa in , Ibadan-Ile-Ife-Ilesa Road in Oyo, Ijebu-Ode-Epe-Ibadan Road in Ogun and Ikorodu-Shagamu in Lagos. Southeast: Abakaliki-Oferekpe Road in Ebonyi, Nsukka-Adani-Anambra S/B Road in Enugu State, Umuokpor section of Ikot Ekpene-Aba Road in Abia and Ihiala-Orlu-Umuduru Road, Owerri-Okigwe, among others. Southsouth Ikot Ekpene-Ikot Umoessien-Abia S/B Road in Ibom, Ebiama-Yenegoa Road in Bayelsa, Auchi-Igarra-Ibillo-Ose Bridge Road and -Ofosu-Shagamu Road in , Ebouchichie-Gakem Road in Cross River, -Asaba Dual Carriageway, Asaba-Illa-Ebu-Edo S/B Road, Igbodo, and Warrri-Sapele-Edo S/b Road in State, among others. Over 45 bridges, according to the , are slated for rehabilitation over the three years. They : 1. Two bridges along Sokoto-Gusau Road 2. Murtala Mohammed Bridge, Koton Karfe 3. River Ebba to Cheche Bridge. Jebba Bridge 5. 3rd Mainland Bridge. Nine Lagos Bridges and flyovers 7. Lagos Ring Road Bridge Abutment 8. Ijora 7-Up Bridge 9. by Leventis 10. .

They also include: 11. Utor Bridge 12. Niger Bridge at Onitsha/Asaba 13. 14. Ibagwa Bridge, Ikom Bridge 15. Itigidi, Makurdi Bridge 16. Quata Sule Bridge 17. Katsina Ala Bridge 18. Buruku Bridge 19. Abuja-Abaji Bridge Section 11 20.

21. Ibi Bridge 22. Kudzum Bridge 23. Gombe-Michika-Maraba Bridge 24. Gamboru Bridge 25. 26. 27. Borno/Adamawa State Border Bridge 28. Falani Bridge, Sumaila 29. at Silver Jubilee 30 Tambuwal Bridge.

In a paper by the department of the Central of Nigeria on Highways maintenance: Lessons from other , the CBN contends that the experience in developing shows that adequate resources for highway maintenance cannot be sourced from the treasury alone.

The rules and regulations of the administrative system do not allow for an effective and efficient management of road maintenance. Most countries have, therefore, resorted to the creation of autonomous authorities, which are given the responsibility for road maintenance. Generally, both the and private sectors are represented on the boards, with the private dominating in many countries.

In almost all countries, the sources for revenue for road maintenance authority are levy on gasoline, toll gate fees, licence fees on motor vehicles, international fees, fees on over loaded vehicles and allocations by parliament.

It advocated for the creation of the Road Maintenance Agency to source funding for the agency from grants, governments, organised private sector and international donors, – Toll gate collections; – Fees or services rendered by the Agency and monies accruing from road concession. These are also sources of funding in the other countries reviewed, with the exception of on petroleum products in respect of the NRMA.

The grants from the Federal Government could be equated with the releases for road maintenance which totaled N470.9 million, N401.2 million, N474.5 million and N178.7 million in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002, respectively. Toll gate collections, which exceeded the releases in all the years constituted the major source of funding. The other sources indicated above have not been explored. Aggregate toll gate collections were N569.29 million in 2000, N742.72 million in 2001 and N779.84 million in 2002. The collection, therefore, rose by 30.5 per cent in 2000 and by only five per cent in 2001.

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