Deplorable state of federal roads in Kogi State
• Gov. Bello, Road Users Call For Urgent Intervention
It has been hellish for motorists and passengers travelling along Lokoja -Okene-Lagos-Abuja expressway, connecting the Southwest. Lokoja- Obajana- kabba- Ilorin road in kwara State and Ajaokuta- Itobe road, connecting the Southeast are equally deplorable. Motorists are stranded randomly in Okene, and it’s environs following gridlocks occasioned by impassable roads.
Some of the failed portions have become hideouts for Kidnappers, armed robbers and other criminals, who ambush and take unsuspecting motorists hostage. The people are calling on the Federal Government to urgently intervene. Sometimes, passengers are forced to spend over 48 hours in Okene Township, because the portion along the Federal College of Education, Okene, is literally dead. The Itape road, which could have serve, as alternative exit for the motorists is bad and congested.
A visit to the Okene last Sunday, after a heavy downpour, saw the Federal road in a terribly bad shape. It took the reporter a whole day to make a return journey to Lokoja on motorbike.
Heavy trucks and other articulated vehicles numbering into hundreds were stranded, while some smaller vehicles broke down as a result of the deplorable condition of the road.
Most travellers who spoke with our correspondent lamented that some of them were travelling from the north to Lagos and Southwest and to the Southeast, but got stranded in Okene, Kogi State, as a result of bad road.
They added that the situation had become so difficult they had to abandon their vehicles and look for any possible means to get to their destination.
However, members of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and security agents were seen doing everything possible to ease the heavy traffic jam.
Within the township commercial motorcyclists made big profit as they charged stranded passengers that are willing to find their way out of the critical situation.
A commercial motorcyclist told this correspondent that they charge passengers travelling to Edo State between N1, 000 and N2, 000 just to get them to the outskirts where they can easily get vehicles travelling to Edo State and other parts of the country.
The called on the Federal Government to rehabilitate the Lokoja-Okene road, while commending the Kogi state governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello for rehabilitating the Itakpe-Eika-Kuroko-Okene road, which serves as alternative. They also appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently complete the bye-pass along Itakpe Okene, Auchi axis to ease traffic in Okene and environs.
Governor Yahaya Bello, who was also trapped in the long queue of vehicles also called on the Federal Government to commence comprehensive rehabilitation of the road. He said the state government could not sustain its rehabilitation due to paucity of funds. Governor Bello described the deplorable conditions of Okene-Lokoja federal road as “an eyesore and death trap.”
Governor Bello who made the call on Saturday, September 21 while travelling to Okene disclosed that his administration had intervened in the maintenance of the road in the 2017/2018 fiscal year but said such maintenance could not stand the test of time due to heavy vehicular traffic on the road.
He appealed to the minister of Works and Housing to as a matter of urgency look into the condition of the road.
“As the major road that connects the north and the southern parts of the country, the road suffers heavy traffic and so, millions of Nigerians suffer the deplorable condition of the road,” he said.
Bello therefore called on the Federal Government to give urgent attention to the deplorable condition of the Okene-Lokoja federal road and all other federal roads in the state.
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), noted that the lockdown on the Itakpe-Okene highway in Kogi was caused by bad spots on the road, rather than regular traffic problem.
The FRSC official who spoke said that motorists’ impatience also contribute to the lockdown that was in its third day. He said some FRSC officials in Kabba and Lokoja had to join their colleagues in Okene to assist in freeing the road for vehicular movement.
He added that the logjam was compounded by the poor state of the Okene-Adogo-Ajaokuta-Itobe road
A survey by The Guardian revealed that most of the federal roads in Kogi State are in deplorable state and deserve urgent attention.
Some respondents narrated their ordeal due to the deplorable condition of the roads.
Adeyemi Matthew, a motorist, who shuttle Ilorin-Egbe-Kabba road, noted that the road has been in a deplorable condition for more than a decade, and nothing has been done to put it in good condition.
According to him, the road has been rehabilitated from Kabba to Aiyetoro, but the section from Aiyetoro to Mopamuro to Isanlu and to Egbe is in horrible state as motorists pass through hell all days.
He therefore, called on the Federal Government to urgently do something on the road to alleviate the suffering of commuters.
‘’We only read it on pages of newspapers that the contract for Kabbà-Egbe-Ilorin road has been award by the Federal Government but it is really unfortunate that nothing has been done on the road. We are calling on the Federal Government to order the immediate rehabilitation of the road for the benefit of our people,” he said.
Another commuter, Stephen Opanachi lamented the deplorable condition of Ajaokuta section of the Okene-Ajaokuta- Itobe- Anyigba road, describing it as a death trap. He noted that many travelers had lost their lives on that section, which has failed terribly.
According to him, the contractor that was handling the road abandoned their equipment on the road for many years without any sign of returning to work.
“Most of the federal roads across Kogi State are in pitiable conditions and we are calling on the Federal Government to come to the aid of our people, because our economies are down due to bad roads,” he said.
On his part, Okeke Andrew, commended the Federal Government for the ongoing construction of Obajana-Kabba road by Dangote. He said that the road was nearing completion, remaining the channeling of the drainage, and urged the Federal Government to adopt the same system of tax waivers for other roads in the state, including the Kabba-Egbe-Ilorin road.
Mr. Sunday Adewusi, a Maintenance Engineer at Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) in Kogi, listed some roads, which he claimed the agency had rehabilitated.
They include 30 km out of the 48 km Kabba-Ayere road, Kabba-Omuwo road; 17 km out of the 38 Kabba-Omuwo road was done by FERMA, while the remaining 21 km was to be done by the Federal Ministry of Works.
Meanwhile, Governor Bello has equally appealed to the Federal Government to urgently rehabilitate the Lokoja-Okene-Ekiti road. Bello described the condition of the road as deplorable and called for the urgent intervention of FERMA.
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