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Discordant tunes over construction of new flyovers in Kano

Kano State government’s approval of two new underpasses and flyovers should have been cheering news for residents of the city, where chaotic traffic congestion of…

Kano State government’s approval of two new underpasses and flyovers should have been cheering news for residents of the city, where chaotic traffic congestion of commercial tricycles locally called Adaidata Sahu is everybody’s nightmare. But the approval seems to be generating divergent views. 

Kano State Executive Council had on November 29 approved the construction of two interchange underpass and flyovers at Kofar Dan Agundi Junction along BUK Road and another one at Tal’udu Junction along Aminu Kano Way to ease vehicular movements along that axis. 

Kano is the most populous state in the country with an estimated 100,000 registered commercial tricycles commuting on the roads daily. More than 10 flyovers were constructed in the state between 2011 and 2023 essentially to deal with traffic congestion.  

One can only imagine the traffic flow in Kano with its fair share of cars plus commercial tricycles and motorcycles known for their impatience.  

The Dan Agundi interchange, according to the Commissioner for Information, Baba Halilu Dantiye, was awarded to Messrs CGC Nigeria Limited at the cost of 15.97 billion naira and to be jointly financed by the state and the local government councils. 

 A letter from the office of the state’s Accountant General Abdulkadir Abdulsalam, which was shared on social media, and addressed to the deputy governor who is also the state Commissioner for Local Government indicated that the project is being funded by the state and local government under the joint arrangement of ratio 30 per cent and 70 per cent with the state contributing N4,792,307,161.20 and the 44 LGAs expected to dole out N11,182,050,042.80. 

The latest approval for Dan Agundi and Tal’udu junctions’ flyover, however, is generating some mixed feelings among some individuals, because of the joint funding of the projects by the two tiers of government. 

Abba Hikima, a  Kano-based legal practitioner took exception to the idea of joint funding of the project. He published his opinion on his Facebook page asking the state government to suspend the project. 

‘’ One of the factors responsible for traffic congestion in the Kano metropolis is an influx of people from rural areas to the city. And this is because of the neglect of rural areas by successive governments. Therefore, instead of the construction of an underpass and flyover bridges in metropolitan Kano with monies belonging to the local government councils to address traffic congestion in the city,  it is better to allow the local councils to utilise the funds and provide basic infrastructure so that rural dwellers may stay in their respective places. This will ultimately reduce congestion and that is justice.’’ Hikima said. 

Hikima may not be the only one with this opinion. 

But responding to critics of the project, the Kano State government said that the objective is to decongest the ever-busy junctions, facilitating easy traffic flow, boosting business and commerce as well as facilitating the general economic growth of the state. 

In a statement, the Commissioner for Information, Baba Halilu Dantiye,  said the government has taken note of the level of enthusiasm and happiness being expressed by the public over the planned construction of the two interchanges in the state.  

‘’ While the government assures the general public of timely execution of the two projects and initiation of more public-oriented and developmental projects in both rural and urban areas for the improvement of  

the general well-being of the people and development of the state in all sectors in fulfillment of its campaign promises, motorists plying the affected roads are advised to use numerous alternative routes and bear the temporary and brief inconvenience the execution of the project might have caused them.’’ 

The statement continues ‘’however, the government has observed with grave concern the attempt by some disgruntled individuals to discredit its well-intentioned effort of initiating, planning, and executing these important projects and their credible objectives. 

‘’The insinuation that the siting of the projects is inappropriate and the funding arrangement unfair is a clear indication that such individuals lack the knowledge of inner workings and operations of the government, particularly on matters regarding the funding of big projects, as well as the strategic and collective needs of the people.   

‘’It is on record that all similar projects by previous administrations in the state were undertaken through similar state-local governments joint financing arrangements and agreed upon by the two parties. Hence, these particular projects, in all fairness, should not be seen or misconstrued as different in any context.    

‘’On the appropriateness or otherwise of siting the projects, it is common knowledge to all those who know the metropolitan Kano that the areas earmarked for the two projects are very busy roads with heavy traffic, hold-ups, and blockades, particularly at rush hours, in addition to their being major link roads to industrial, commercial and educational centers in the state as well as entry and exit points for people from and travelling to many rural local government areas that are located west and northwest of Kano City. All people living in the city and the rural areas are direct beneficiaries of these projects.         

‘’ The administration of Abba Kabir Yusuf has made its resolve and commitment very clear since its inception to initiate, plan and implement appropriate programmes, policies, and projects that will ensure even development in urban and rural areas. The actualization of this promise is paramount and will continue to be pursued. No amount of undue, misinformed, and selfish criticism from any quarter will make the administration renege on its promise and commitment to initiate and execute projects and policies that will improve the wellbeing of the people and bring about the general development of the state’’. The statement concluded. 

In an interview with DW Hausa,  Abba Hikima told the medium that there are competing needs in the local governments like healthcare, electricity, water supply, and education, which require attention saying it amounts to misplacement of priority to construct a flyover in Kano City which costs nearly 16 billion naira to the detriment of other pressing needs of the people residing in local government areas. 

He said what is required in government is equity. Kano City, he said,  is not the only place that requires attention, 44 local government areas should be looked into. Hikima believes a hundred million naira will make a lot of difference in education in the rural areas, noting that 11 billion naira is huge and it is not right to take monies from the local councils for a single project in Kano City. There are many important projects that should be done not flyover, Hikima restated. 

Abba Hikima’s Interview with DW was shared on Facebook by  Salihu Tanko Yakasai, special adviser to APC national chairman Abdullahi Ganduje on ICT  and digital communication, drawing the ire of NNPP supporters in the state. 

Yakasai has also posted a letter from the office of the accountant general office saying that there was no justification for the project. 

However, the executive director of, the Center for Awareness on Justice and Accountability CAJA Comrade Kabiru Dakata said he does not see anything wrong with the joint project. Dakata said the joint project in the state is not new as former governors – Ibrahim Shekarau, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, and Abdullahi Ganduje all had executed joint projects for the benefit of the state. 

“For me, there is nothing wrong with the joint project and in Kano State, it is not new”. 

Dakata said the five-kilometre road project in the 44 local government areas is a joint project to which the state is also contributing money. 

He also explained that Kofar Dan Agundi-BUK Road is very strategic with many educational institutions like Bayero University, Aminu Kano School of Islamic Legal Studies, and School of Hygiene located along the route. 

‘’Most people from the local government areas are attending these institutions and if the road is decongested, they too will benefit’’ he said. 

According to him, the ideal thing is to ask the state government the reason why it is embarking on the project, its cost, and long-term benefits to the state. 

Also commenting on the issue a resident, Abu Ammar Hamza, said that life-changing projects are concentrated in the Kano metropolis to the detriment of the rural areas unlike in Jigawa State where local government areas also enjoyed the provision of infrastructural projects. 

Hamza gave an example of Jigawa State Informatics Institute sited in Kazaure while the new federal university was taken to Babura and the state university remains in Kafin Hausa. He said Ringim, Gumel, and Hadejia attracted many other projects. 

He said siting these projects in rural areas makes life attractive to those areas and helps address rural-urban migration.   

 

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