Friday, October 15, 2021

Senate calls for declaration of state of emergency on federal roads in Niger

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Senate has urged the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on critical federal roads in Niger state that linked economic corridors in the North and Southern parts of the country.

It also urged the Federal Government to consider emergency intervention fund for the roads to the tune of N300 billion to concurrently fix the roads as part of infrastructure rehabilitation efforts to support ease of business and economic recovery across the country.

Senate resolutions followed consideration of a motion on the call for emergency on state of federal roads in Niger states at plenary on Tuesday.

The motion was sponsored by Sabi Abdullahi (APC-Niger) and co-sponsored by seven other senators.

Mr Abdullahi, while presenting his motion said Niger state has the longest federal roads network of 2,263km out of the total 32,000km of the national federal roads network in the country.

He said it was with disbelief and shock the very ugly scene playing out in Niger State since Sept 24, 2021 when heavy trucks and tanker drivers blocked all entry and exits roads to protest the horrible state of federal roads passing through the state.

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Mr Abdullahi said 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 etc, in which trucks and tankers are overloaded puts great pressure on the roads.

This, he noted was seriously devastating to the state of the roads.

He said a 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.

He said the major link roads have totally failed with fatal accidents occurring on a daily basis with loss of life, goods and vehicles.

A development, Mr Abdullahi said angered the trucks and tanker drivers to begin the protest as the only available alternative route to exit the state was the Bida- Minna road which was currently undergoing construction.

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” 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 Junction – 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.

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” The Kontagora -Yauri road is also motorable but hard to reach, hence the pressure on state roads.”

He said the current rate of funding of federal roads in the state was unfortunately dismal and cannot deliver which has led to many of the projects abandoned by contractors.

“Agrees that new ways and means for funding infrastructure in Nigeria must be seriously considered while also strengthening enforcement in the issues of excess weight load by trucks and tankers considering that over 90 percent of haulage of heavy goods are by road transport; pending when the ongoing train projects are delivered to ease the pressure,” Mr Abdullahi said.

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He said the current blockade on the roads had seriously affected economic activities in the country with heavy losses by investors and enterprises.

The Senate in its further resolutions on the motion urged the federal government to direct the Federal Ministry of Works to carry out emergency stabilisation of the failed portions of the Bida, Lapai lambata road to ease current suffering, rate of accidents, lost of goods and investments on the roads.

It also called for a convocation of a National Legislative round table on the state of infrastructure and economic development.

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This, senate noted was aimed at bringing all critical stakeholders in the transport and logistic industry together, to identify urgent actions to address the current a challenge.


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