The Nigerian Senate has called on the Federal Government to urgently consider an Emergency Intervention Fund of about N300 billion for critical roads in Niger State.
According to the upper chamber, the state links the economic corridors in the Northern and Southern region of the country, hence the need for the government at the central to declare a state of emergency on major highways in the state.
The Senate, which made the call on Tuesday, maintained that the intervention would facilitate the infrastructure rehabilitation efforts of the government to support ease of business and economic recovery.
Also, the upper chamber urged the Federal Government to direct the Federal Ministry of Works to carry out emergency stabilisation of the failed portions of Bida – Lapai – Lambatta road to stem the rate of accidents and loss of goods and investments on the road.
Furthermore, it proposed that a national legislative roundtable on the state of infrastructure for economic development be convoked, to bring all critical stakeholders in the transport and logistics industries together, to take urgent actions to address the current challenges.
Meanwhile, this was sequel to a motion brought to the floor during plenary by Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (Niger North).
Abdullahi, said, “The Senate noted 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 exit roads to protest the horrible state of Federal roads passing through the State.
“Recall that Niger State has the longest federal road network of 2,263km out of a total of 32,000km of national federal roads network. The federal roads in Niger state stretched from the Abuja – Kaduna end to the Jebba – Mokwa – Makera – Tegina – Birnin Gwarimpa – Kaduna road to the Mokwa – New Bussa – Agwara – Kigera end which lies to the border with the Republic of Benin.
“Overall, the following are critical linkage roads within Niger state that provide logistical and vehicular movements between the North and South; especially the South West and North West Corridors.
“Because of the massive land area of Niger State at 76,363km (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 etc, in which trucks and tankers are overloaded pits great pressure on the roads and thus are seriously devastating to the state of the roads.”
Furthermore, he noted that cursory observation and reports indicated that many trucks and tankers are loaded with up to 90,000 tonnes of goods, while vehicles are consistently loaded well above their approved tonnage, wrecking all the major link roads and causing fatal accidents daily.
“A development that angered the truck 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.
“The only road that is substantially motorable, is the Mokwa Junction – Bida road, which is under intense pressure by the heavy-duty haulage activities of trucks and tankers and may not last two years under the current scenario.
“It is, therefore, important that urgent and emergency measures are put in place to forestall further occurrence while also considering a legislative round table in the state of transport infrastructure and institutional strengthening to support the economic diversification efforts and growth of the Nigerian economy,” the lawmaker added.
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