Against the backdrops of the inabilities of the Federal Government to fulfil its promise to fix some of the federal roads across Niger State barely two weeks after the agreement with the State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, the state government has again threatened to close down the Minna-Bida road following the traffic logjam on the road, Suleja- Minna road and Zungeru- Minna road at the weekend mostly by heavy-duty trucks, numbering about 4,000 each on the three roads.
Governor Abubakar Sani Bello served the notice when he embarked on the spot assessments of the roads on Thursday during Nigeria’s 60th Independence anniversary celebration alongside the state’s chairman of the projects monitoring committee set up by state government in conjunction with some other top government functionaries, who were on the governor’s entourage while on the tour.
He said the closedown of the Minna-Bida road to articulated vehicles has become imperative as nothing was yet to be done two weeks after the state and federal governments agreed in a meeting held in Abuja recently at the instance of the presidency to provide immediate emergency intervention, especially on Bida-Lapai-Lambata and Mokwa-Tegina-Birnin-Gwari trunk, federal roads, as well as support the state government on the remaining repairs of Minna-Suleja road, particularly from Farin Doki-Minna axis of the road, which formed the basis for the temporal re-opening of the earlier closed road.
Governor Abubakar Sani Bello disclosed this on the sidelines of his tour of some of the federal government and state-owned roads in the state, with a view to taking urgent measures that would bring succour to motorists and commuters alike, plying the route as well as inspect the ongoing emergency repairs by State government on the Minna-Suleja Federal road.
Some of the roads the Governor inspected include Minna-Suleja, Minna-Bida and Minna-Zungeru-Kontagora roads.
On the Minna-Suleja road, the Governor who pointed out that the portion between Lambata-Farin Doki, in Gurara Local Government Area of the state which was reconstructed by the state government as part of its efforts to make the road motorable. He added that the state government was yet to be reimbursed by the federal government, just as he assured the people that the state government will continue to make necessary repairs on the road to make life easier for the road users.
He, however, lamented that some of the articulated vehicles that ply the road, apart from carrying more than the approved weight, were not roadworthy, thus causing gridlock and unnecessary hardships to the people.
On the Minna-Bida road, Governor Sani Bello said he will remain focus on reconstructing the road but that the road will again be closed down to articulated vehicles since the State government was yet to see the intervention of the federal government as earlier agreed upon, adding, that closing down the road will speed up the reconstruction project and avoid wasting of resources.
He noted that the Minna-Bida road, at the moment, needs urgent attention as the portion between Sabon Daga and Kataeregi has collapsed due to the heavy traffic flow of articulated vehicles on the road.
Similarly, there was gridlock along Minna-Kontagora road particularly between Baban Gada and Anguwan Balbela as trailers and petrol tankers have been stuck on the muddy part of the road.
The Governor also bemoans the slow process of releasing funds to contractors handling the construction of Federal roads in the State, saying, “it is a major obstacle towards the execution of the projects.”
While on a tour of the dilapidated road, the Governor and his entourage made a brief stopover at intervals to inspect the ongoing work of filling boulders on the road over failed portions of the roads, some broken down articulated vehicles were sighted in the gridlock.
Some of the heavy truck drivers who spoke to journalists urged government at all levels to expedite actions in fixing the roads as they have lost their valuables and their vehicles were badly damaged on the roads
They also appealed to the Federal government particularly to as a matter of urgency fix the trunk roads which were the Bida-Lapai-Lambata and the Mokwa-Tegina-Birnin Gwari roads being their major routes.