By Maxwell Adeyemi Adeleye
Niger state government has stated that no federal road is in the state is motorable urging the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency revisit all dilapidated federal roads across the State.
The Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Jonathan Tsado Vatsa who spoke after a firsthand tour on federal roads across the state said that the government should not allow further delay in putting the roads in order, especially the Agaie, Katcha Baro road which was re-awarded last year.
“The over 30km road which cost the federal government about N17.5 billion was expected to be completed by January 16, 2016 as the contract was re-awarded in January, 2015.
“The roads has been abandoned and neglected; we want the federal government to visit Niger state because presently, no federal road is motorable. We cannot allow further delay in putting these facilities into use. Government’s idea is to open up the economy of the north through the Baro Port. The road, if completed will be the gateway from Baro Inland Port and would open the economy of the north to other parts of the country.
“The N17.5billion was part of the sum of N470 billion approved in December, 2014 by the Federal Executive Council, for different contracts for the construction and rehabilitation of 17 roads and bridges across the country.”
Speaking to newsmen during the tour, the Indian firm handling the contract said the government should be blamed for the halt in the construction adding that if it was mobilized upfront, the project would have gone beyond 50 percent by now.
The Site Engineer of the construction company, GR Building and Construction Nigeria Ltd, Mohammed Kamil while lamenting the paucity of funds said “ever since we came to site, we have not been able to get the 30 percent mobilisation fee. If they (FG) had paid us up to 30 percent, we would have constructed bridges and gone very far with work.
“Funding is our major problem, we have been here since last year, what they gave us is nothing to write home about. When we get money, we will finish the job. Complete mobilisation fee has not been made.
“There are no more good roads in Niger state anymore, contractors need mobilization to paid to put the roads in order”.
However, residents of Kagara, headquarters of Rafi Local Government area of Niger State were full of praises for the intervention of the state government in rehabilitating the federal road in the town that has turned nightmare for the people and death trap for motorists.
The people of the linear carriageway town trooped out in large numbers yesterday to commended Governor Abubakar Sani Bello for rehabilitating the federal government maintained road when a team of Journalists on assessment of roads in the state visited the town.
According to a leader in the town, Alhaji Aminu Balarabe, the deplorable state of the less than two kilometre stretch of trunk A road that links Niger State to Kaduna State before rehabilitation had claimed many lives, destroyed property and rendered many homeless.
The rehabilitation of this major road that traverse our town has brought great relief to us. Before now vehicular accident is a daily occurrence. We have lost many people to accident as trailers mostly fall at will killing people and destroying houses.
“The road was so bad that vehicles, mostly trailers spend hours to pass through the less than 2 kilometre road. Our intra-township road network is in bad shape from pressure from heavy-duty vehicles diverting from the major road during critical period,” Balarabe stated.
Also speaking in the same vein, Ali Minna, a commercial driver, recalled the untold hardship suffered on the road before the repairs. “Most local commercial drivers have packed up their vehicles because of the bad state of the road, but that is history today, courtesy Niger State government”.