The Senate has seek the huge sum of N300 billion to fix Niger roads.
The Senate on Tuesday urged the Federal Government to provide N300 billion as emergency intervention fund to rehabilitate damaged roads in Niger State.
According to The Nation, this happened as Senator Mohammed Sani Musa, representing Niger East, accused Works and Housing Minister Babatunde Fashola of bias in budgetary provisions for road construction and repairs in the state.
The Senate also urged the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on the critical roads linking economic corridors in the North and South in Niger State.
It advised the government to direct the Federal Ministry of Works to repair the failed portions of Bida-Lapai-Lambatta road to reduce the current suffering, accidents, loss of goods and investments on the road.
The Upper Chamber also called for the convocation of a National Legislative Roundtable on the State of Infrastructure for Economic Development to bring all critical stakeholders in the transport and logistics industries together with a view to identifying urgent actions to address the current challenges.
The Senate resolutions followed a motion, titled: “The State of Federal Roads in Niger State: Call for a State of Emergency,” moved by Deputy Chief Whip Aliyu Sabi Abudullahi, representing Niger North.
In his lead debate, Abudullahi said: “The Senate notes with disbelief and shock the very ugly scene playing out in Niger State since February 24 to September 2021, in which heavy trucks and tanker drivers blocked all entry and exits roads to protest the horrible state of Federal roads passing through the state.
“Because of the massive land area of Niger State at 76,363km2 (representing about nine per cent of the total land area of the country), all movements from North to South substantially traverse the state.
“Indeed, the massive haulage of heavy industrial goods, such as petroleum products, iron rods, cement, finished manufactured goods, machines and equipment, electronic materials and goods, building materials, among others, in which trucks and tankers are overloaded, puts great pressure on the roads and thus are seriously devastating to the state of the roads. “Cursory observation and reports indicate that many trucks and tankers are loaded with up to 90,000 tonnes of goods and all vehicles are consistently loaded well above their approved tonnage.
“Alarmed that all the major link roads have totally failed with fatal accidents occurring on a daily basis with loss of life, goods and vehicles;
“A development that angered the trucks and tanker drivers to begin the protest as the only available alternative route to exit the state is the Bida-Minna road, which is currently undergoing construction.
“This road itself is a failed road with many portions that cannot withstand any heavy truck movement as it is.
“Further alarmed that the only road portion that is substantially motorable is the Mokwa-Jebba-Bida road, which is itself under intense pressure by the heavy-duty haulage activities of trucks and tankers and may not last two years under the current scenario.
“The Kontagora-Yauri road is also motorable but hard to reach, hence the pressure on state roads…”
Musa, who blamed Fashola for alleged insufficient budgetary provisions for road construction and repairs in Niger State, said: “Any time we talk about infrastructure, one of the lousy excuses we have is that we have two (former) Presidents that come from that state.
“But these are the two presidents that have done very well in other states. So, don’t we deserve to have a good thing in our state? Our roads are in shambles. They are not motorable.
“So, if trailers decided to block Niger State roads, it is not just Niger State, it is the entire Northern Nigeria. This is because if you look at the axis from Ilorin to Jebba-Morkwa-Agera-Tegina-Birnin Gwari and up to Kaduna, the road on that side is the main road that contributes a lot. That road was constructed almost 40 years ago – around 1973.
“But we can see that from Abuja to Makurdi, almost N56 billion was allocated for that road. Then you look at the road that we just mentioned: only N4.6 billion. Where is the equity?”