The deplorable conditions of Nigerian roads, earnestly begging for government’s attention, have hit an alarming proportion and raise serious concerns bordering on security risks as well as economic implications. Despite government huge statutory allocation for road construction, repairs and maintenance since 2016, many Nigerian roads are still in a mess, leaving road users traumatized and exposed to accidents and deaths. With the current ember season, travellers get more worried about the horrific conditions of the roads. Last week, we bagan a series on the situation of such roads uncovered by our reporters in the South South and the South East. The series continues with the North East and North West in this edition.
Bad roads paralyses business activities in Kano
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In Kano, most of the roads are either bad or undergoing some form of repairs. The Kano-Kaduna Road has been under construction since about five years, with people suffering much distress on the road.
The worst, our correspondent gathered, is the Kano-Maiduguri Road due to the ongoing construction of the NNPC flyover. This makes it very difficult for motorists to travel out of the state.
Isah Wada, a commercial driver, lamented that people spend not less than one hour to travel out of the state due to the condition of the road.
Another commercial driver, Salisu Zanzan, said: “We are suffering. It is as if government doesn’t care about what people are passing through on the road. There should be an alternative road, but none was provided by government.”
Findings by our correspondent also show that roads from Kano to Hadjia in Jigawa State is also in a very bad shape due to excess speed bums erected by some communities along the route. Motorists have protested the situation, to no avail.
Nasiru Musa, a businessman, who plies the road every week described the speed bums on the road as very dangerous.
“If I had an alternative road, I would have been avoiding the Hadejia road. It is so dangerous for the drivers and their vehicles,” he said.
The Kano-Katsina Road, too, has been under construction for years. As a result, motorists find it difficult to ply it.
Business activities have been paralysed due to the deplorable conditions of the roads as the number of road users and or travellers who patronize business outfits along the roads have dropped.
Our correspondent gathered that businesses along both the Eastern and Western bypass along Kano Ring Road that lead to the NNPC flyover under construction have closed down due to the closure of the road.
Aminu Hamisu who operates a boutique along the road said he had to close his shop following patronage decline. He added that many businesses along the road had also closed down.
“Our businesses thrive when commuters buy things from us. Since the closure of the road, we have to also close down and find other things to do to survive. The problem is that, we don’t know how long we will wait for the road to be reopened. I am currently looking for an alternative,” he said.
“Some filling stations have also closed down. Restaurant and suya joint operators too have closed shops,” Hamisu said.
Commercial vehicles, especially tricycle operators, are also finding it difficult to commute within residential areas closer to the construction site at the NNPC flyover.
Pot holes on roads major cause of accident in Yobe
In Yobe State, motorists have identified the 50-kilometre Damaturu-Tarmuwa road and Nangere-Jakusko roads as the most deplorable in the state.
Abdullahi Musa, a driver who regularly plies the road, said the poor condition of the road had continued to pose challenge to motorists. He said several crashes had occurred on the road and resulted in death of commuters.
According to him, some sections of the road are not tarred, leading to dangerous potholes and accidents.
“Minor rehabilitation work has started since the last administration of Governor Ibrahim Gaidam. But it was abandoned half way, leaving the road in a deteriorating condition.
“Motorists are at the mercy of God because one has to drive with caution while plying the road,” he said.
For Usman Zakar, Nangere-Jakusko Road is his major problem whenever he is embarking on a journey.
He stated that the road was one of the busiest but dogged by many dilapidated portions, especially between Gada and Jakusko axis.
“We are now in the ‘ember’ season. People need to travel for one reason or another. We want government to come to our aid,” he said.
During its last executive council meeting, government said it had approved N1, 711, 980, 083.27 for additional works on the construction of 25.5 kilometre dual-carriage way from Damaturu to Kalallawa to ease the plight of passengers of the road.
The Commissioner for Home Affairs, Information and Culture, Abdullahi Bego, said a sum of N219, 698, 226.92 had also been approved for the rehabilitation of the Jakusko-Garin Alkali Road.
Motorists scared by potholes, insurgents in Borno
A commercial driver in Baga Town, Borno State, Babagana Mohammed, said vehicular movement in all the major roads were restricted because of ambushes by insurgents. He said free-flow of traffic occurred only on Bama-Maiduguri Road as well as Maiduguri-Damaturu Road which are being monitored by patrol officers between 7am and 5pm when they are closed.
“Most of the roads are infested with potholes. Motorists avoid them a lot due to insurgents’ menace. The volume of traffic during festivities is always high on Maiduguri-Damaturu Road which leads to other states and the Bama Road.
“The major cause of crashes is over speeding, coupled with bad condition of the roads. The only way to avoid accidents is for drivers to be careful and vigilant. All the roads are being reconstructed and that has led to diversions along the Damaturu Road,” he said.
Chairman, National Union of Road Transport Workers, Borno State, Alhaji Abba Shuwa, said majority of roads in the area were not maintained, leading to crashes and hamper smooth trade.
“Though there is improvement on the Biu-Damaturu project, the Buratai-Gujba Road has a lot of potholes of different sizes which delays trips, increases risk of attacks by insurgents as well as accident,” he said.
Shuwa added that the Maiduguri-Monguno Road delayed due to insurgency needed repair.
He disclosed that the state government had started work on the Bama-Maiduguri Road project which, when completed, would ease the transport problems being faced by travellers as well as those going to Banki Town which shares boundary with Cameroon.
He added that apart from accident, potholes caused a lot of damage to vehicles. The union, he said, had urged authorities to repair damaged roads and construct new ones where necessary to avoid accident.
Federal Controller of Works, Borno State, Mr Amos Tongman, said most of the federal roads in the state were being reconstructed.
Daily Trust on Sunday gathered that there are three SUKUK-funded roads in the state under construction. They include Maiduguri-Damaturu Highway, Gombe-Biu Road and Goniri-Ngamdu Road.
The roads have not been completed due to delay by contractors as well as insecurity,” he said.
The Gombe-Biu Road, we also gathered, is being delayed due to lack of funds in spite of two payment certificates being raised.
Other roads under construction are Biu-Damaturu, Biu-Numan and Maiduguri-Monguno which, the controllers said, had not been completed due to delay by contractors.
Few bad roads in Bauchi
In Bauchi, many major roads and highways are in good shape. However, findings by our correspondent revealed that there are a few bad ones, especially the Bauchi-Gombe Road which claims lives of commuters and motorists in the state and the neighboring states.
A commercial driver plying Bauchi-Maiduguri Road, Sabo Abdullahi, told Daily Trust Saturday that the Bauchi-Maiduguri Road is one of the good roads in the Northeast, but majority of the accidents on the road is due to overspending and wrongful overtaking.
“Our roads are in good shape with few portholes. Majority of accidents are caused by overspending. Government authorities need to enlighten drivers, especially the commercial ones to reduce high speed on the roads,” he said.
Our correspondent gathered that the Federal Roads Safety Commission (FRSC) in Bauchi State has concluded plans to lunch the ‘ember’ months campaign and also make arrangements to collaborate with the leadership of the union of tricycle drivers to educate them against plying highways in the state.
The Public Enlightenment Officer of the commission, Rilwamu Suleiman, said the command was working towards addressing the menace posed by tricycles which increase accident rates on the highways.
In Kaduna, bad roads pose security threat
Findings by our correspondent also indicate that so many roads are in bad shape in Kaduna metropolis.
Kaduna-Saminaka Road that links Jos, the Plateau State capital, is one of the deplorable roads that has become a nightmare to motorists.
A transporter at Kawo Motor Park, Kaduna, Hassan Yau, said: “There are many potholes along the very busy road right from Kaduna to Saminaka in Lere LGA which links Jos. Most of the people that travel to states like Adamawa, Gombe and Bauchi also pass through the road,” he added.
He explained that though the Saminaka Highway was a bit safe, the bad condition of the road makes life difficult for the road users.
Yau appealed to government to renovate the road and make travelling easy for travellers.
The Birnin Gwari Kaduna Highway Road too is in a bad condition. Checks by our correspondent show that Udawa Town along the highway up to Labi to Birnin Gwari Town are full of potholes and poses insecurity threat to the road users.
“Bandits now take advantage of the condition of the road and attack innocent travellers. Honestly, the road is very bad and needs urgent government attention. We are not even talking of Birnin Gwari-Funtua Highway that has been abandoned by motorists due to its bad condition and insecurity,” Mohammadu Gwari said.
Also, Sabon Birnin Road in Kawo community in Kaduna North Local Government Area that links Rafin Guza, Malalin Gabas and other communities in the area is in a very bad condition.
The road is laden with potholes so much that drivers divert to other lanes to save their vehicles from damage. Sani Ibrahim, a taxi driver who plies the road to and from Rafin Guza said the road had made transport business difficult.
“We used to make multiple trips daily and make a lot of money before the road became very bad and forces us to drive very slow to avoid falling into deep potholes on the main road,” he said.
Another driver, Musa Awwalu, said the condition of the road had made them regular customers to mechanics to fix their vehicles.
A passenger, Usman Abdullahi, said the road was responsible for regular gridlocks, especially in the morning when most commuters rush to go to work.
A motorist, Baba Usman, appealed to relevant authorities to fix the road and assuage the plight of the people.
By: Clement Adeyi (Abuja), Hassan Ibrahim (Bauchi), Misbahu Bashir (Maiduguri), Ibrahim Musa Giginyu (Kano), Ibrahim Baba Saleh (Damaturu) & Mohammed I. Yaba (Kaduna)