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Senate decries 48 deaths on Kaduna-Kano highway, summons contractor

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[FILES] Lawan, Senate President. Photo; TWITTER/SPNIGERIA

The Senate Committee of Works yesterday condemned the recent loss of 48 lives in the unfortunate road accident on Kaduna-Zaria-Kano highway, which is presently under rehabilitation.

Besides, the committee, which lamented the present deplorable condition of works on the project, ordered the appearance of the firm handling the construction to explain the present situation of the road.

Chairman of the committee, Adamu Alero, who expressed worry over the slow-pace of work on the road when he led the committee on a courtesy call on Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje at the Kano Government House, said the committee was in Kano to inspect the ongoing federal roads under construction as part of its oversight function.

Alero said that despite the trunk of inconveniences on road users, the contractor had disregarded all known safety standards and regulations required on high-density rehabilitation work, resorting to incessant loss of lives on a daily basis.

The former Kebbi State governor, who stated that despite the three sources of funding, including federal budget, Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) and Abacha loot, the contractor has failed to mobilise enough human resources and equipment to site, said: “The committee singled out Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano federal road for the first point of inspection due to the deplorable condition of the road. Also, we considered the section critical because the route carries the largest influx of users in the country, which is a very busy route next to the Lagos-Ibadan corridor. Your Excellency, we are not happy with what we saw on ground.

“Apart from the slow pace, the contractor refused to comply with safety regulation and emergency procedures on the road. From the figure we have, 48 lives were lost between the Kaduna-Zaria axis due to the bad condition of the road and total disregard for safety standards. We need the contractor to appear before us to explain why the condition is this bad. Can they do this in their country or other developed countries where they handle construction.”

The senator suggested the adoption of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model to fund the critical infrastructure of the country, urging state governments to muster courage and undertake the construction of federal roads in their states to reduce the present burden.

Meanwhile, Ganduje has urged the Federal Government to refocus policy direction on rail-line infrastructure as a lasting solution to road rehabilitation in the country.

The governor, who implored the Federal Ministry of Works to undertake few projects with available resources, said: “Rather than embarking on 20 road works without funds to complete them, why not chose three very important projects that can be completed with available resources. Again, I believe road rehabilitation will reduce the challenges of bad roads in the country but I still hope it wasn’t the solution. Lack of rail-line system in the country is a major challenge of our transport system and until we find opportunity in investing in the rail line, the government will continue to waste public funds on road rehabilitation.”


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