Lubabatu I. Garba, Nafisa Abdussalam and Ali Danliti Usman, Kano
In 2018, the Buhari-led administration’s commitment to improving road transportation led to the award of so many road contracts to restore many of the dilapidated roads in the country. Among these projects was the renewed contract for the dualization of the Kano-Maiduguri Road.
The Kano-Maiduguri Road is a major road that links Kano State with several states in the country including, Jigawa, Bauchi, Yobe and Borno, among others.
The work involves the construction of a two-lane carriageway and upgrading of the existing road. The projects were split into five sections. Section one is the Kano-Wudil-Shuarin Road; the second section is Shuarin-Azare; the third section is Azare-Potiskum; the fourth is from Potiskum to Maiduguri while the last section is from Maiduguri to Benishek.
It was gathered that the scope of work in section one involves provision of new standard carriageway from Kano, through Wudil and Gaya local government areas in Kano State to Shuarin in Jigawa State, with a total distance of about 202.73km.
The work also includes reconstruction of three bridges and two interchange flyovers, besides culverts and other concrete works.
The contract for the construction of Section 1 of the project was awarded to Dantata and Sawoe Construction Company Nigeria Limited.
Although the project was started, the majority of the road construction starting from Wudil, Gaya leading up to Jigawa State has been left unfinished.
While the other four sections of the road have been completed, section 1 was abandoned and is now in a deplorable condition which poses a major risk to commuters as accidents are recorded on a regular basis and hoodlums are take advantage to unleash mayhem on unsuspecting road users.
Daily Trust Saturday discovered that due to the dilapidated state of the road, economic activities in the area have been paralysed, thus causing untold hardship to the people.
Speaking to Daily Trust Saturday, many drivers who use the road everyday narrated how the road has become a death trap to commuters as lives and properties are lost almost on a daily basis on the road.
Abdulkarim Mahmud Kofar Mata, a commercial driver, said that the most dangerous place along the road is between Wudil and Gaya local governments of Kano where only one side of the dualisation was done and this prevents drivers from commuting easily because they have to use only one lane.
“The road has claimed many lives. This is a highway for large trucks, it is too small and there is no place for small cars to escape to prevent accidents from happening. Again, there are potholes everywhere which results in tyre bursts.
“Honestly, the drivers plying this road are always in constant fear especially when they reach Gaya and Wudil because that is the most dangerous place where accidents frequently occur,” he said.
Musa Ahmad, another driver, lamented how the abandoned road has become problematic, describing journey on the road as “life risking”.
“The trucks have become a challenge to smaller vehicles because the road remains a single lane and most of the time, the trucks drivers do not make way for the cars to pass. It’s either you stop for them or else you crash. This is particularly very dangerous when you meet at places where there are big potholes that you cannot enter and the shoulder to step down is already blocked. This is mostly where the accidents occur because the drivers have no option, especially while driving on high speed.”
The drivers also lamented how the contractors blocked the shoulder of the other lane.
“The blocking of the shoulders at the other lane is completely not a good idea because if it was not blocked, it could serve as an escape route whenever such an incident is forseen. In most of the dual road constructions I have seen in the over 60 years that I have lived, the shoulder is not built until both sides of the road are completed and this is to allow vehicles to move freely on the road.
“It is always unsafe to travel on this road and we are always in prayers, especially when coming from Kano,” he said.
Corroborating what Ahmad said, Abdulbaqi Shuaibu, an officer of the NURTW in Gaya Local Government Secretariat, said “We are really glad to have this opportunity to express our bitterness regarding this uncompleted road construction which has been causing road accidents and loss of lives. Therefore, we are calling on the government to come to our rescue by completing this road project from Wudil, Gaya to Shuarin.
“If this work is completed, the travel experience will improve, including a reduction of the hitherto tedious route to about one hour. It will also reduce journey times as a result of the improvement in the road network, meaning reduced expenses on travel, which means more money in the pockets of travellers.
“I am also calling on my fellow drivers to be more careful and drive at an average speed, especially when driving in places where they know there are potholes,” he said.
Recently, the House of Representatives mandated its committee on works (when constituted) to investigate the abandonment of section 1 of the ongoing Kano-Maiduguri Road by contractors.
This followed the adoption of a motion by Yusuf Shittu Galambi who recalled that the Federal Government approved a contract for the dualization of the road in 2018.
The House adopted the motion and referred it to its committee on works (when constituted) to investigate and report back within three weeks for further legislative action.
The Executive Director, Dantata and Sawoe Construction Company, Engineer Nasiru Dantata, who is handling Section One of the Kano-Maiduguri road and Kano Western bypass, said the work was put on hold due to technical challenges, and assured that the project would be completed at the stipulated time.
“Kano is home so everything concerning Kano affects us directly. We will do everything possible to make sure we do the best work, and secondly, we cannot sacrifice quality. Our equipment is still in Gaya, and when it comes to materials needed to resume our work, we are ready for that. I want to make it clear that from all the five sections of the road, from Kano to Wudil and then to Shuarin requires quality work because it is the busiest part of the road where traffic is high.
“So, now that the new minister came up with the idea that we should not only do the coal tar work but to make it concrete, he has given us the opportunity to improve our proposal for the work because the work will be of different quality. I am assuring you that we will resume work very soon,” he said.
According to him, the project has reached 80 per cent level of completion, urging the people of Kano to continue to be patient and supportive as they will spare nothing to chance in improving the lives and wellbeing of the people.