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FCT villagers groan over poor state of road network

Access to good road network is one of the most important basic amenities, just like healthcare centre and pipe borne water, that government at the…

Access to good road network is one of the most important basic amenities, just like healthcare centre and pipe borne water, that government at the federal, state and local government levels should prioritise, especially for people at the local level.

However, residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), especially rural dwellers in satellite towns of the six area councils, have over the years been having nightmares due to the poor state of their road network which links them to the urban centres. 

Most of these rural communities across the six area councils of the territory do not have access to good road network, and even where some of these roads are awarded by the government or area councils, such road project ends up being abandoned by the contractors.

Abdullahi Usman, a native of Ebagi community in Abaji Area Council of the FCT, who spoke with Daily Trust on Sunday, lamented the poor state of the road from Ebagi to Pandagi in the council.

He said the poor state of the road has not only caused untold hardship to residents of the community but to those of neighbouring villages in the area.

Usman, a farmer and father of 14 children, said the deplorable state of the road has forced many to seek for alternative means of transporting their crops to the city.

“Today, if you want to convey your farm produce from Ebagi to Abaji town, a pickup van will charge higher because of the poor state of the road. The only alternative would be to pass through Mawogi village, then board a canoe to cross River Gurara to Abaji market,” he said.

He said the Ebagi-Pandagi road, which is about 13 kilometres stretch to Abaji town, was awarded over 13 years ago by the FCT administration under the supervision of the Satellite Towns Development Agency (STDA), but has remained uncompleted.

He said the project, which was being handled by an indigenous contractor (Dutum Eng Limited), was abandoned four years ago, after the contractor handling the project constructed the main bridge that links Rimba and Ebagi community in the area.

“Thank God that is the road you plied from Abaji down to this place and you saw how bad the road is, apart from Abaji to Pandagi, which is the only motorable portion. You could see that from Pandagi to Ebagi is terribly bad,” he said.

A resident of neighbouring Rimba community, Mr Bulus Ishaya, who also spoke to Daily Trust on Sunday, said the poor state of the road from Ebagi to Pandagi poses serious threat to lives of residents of the area.

He said apart from farmers who find it difficult to transport their crops to the city to sell, patients, especially pregnant women, suffer the effect of the bad state of the road. “Two weeks ago, when my wife was in labour, I had to convey her on motorcycle to Abaji that night because the road is too bad for a vehicle to ply,” he said.

He said Rimba residents prefer travelling on motorcycle to boarding vehicles because of the poor state of the road.

“As you were coming, how many vehicles did you see on the way? None. This is because of the poor state of the road. The only vehicles you can see here are pickup vans, especially on Abaji market days, that is all,” he said. 

He said the community is worse hit during the rainy season, because the road becomes impassible as many of the streams along the road overflow.

Bulus, however, noted that the abandoned Rimba-Pandagi road also links various neighbouring villages in Niger State, saying the completion of the road will boost socio economic activities in the area.

He added, “95 per cent of people residing in Rimba, Ebagi and neighbouring villages are peasant farmers who grow crops in large quantities and take them to Abaji market every five days, but lack of good access road network is a huge hindrance,” he added.

The Etsu of Rimba, His Royal Highness (HRH) Alhaji Abubakar Garba Mohammed, who spoke with Daily Trust on Sunday, noted that the poor state of the road linking Pandagi/Rimba down to Ebagi has become a nightmare to his people over the years.

He also noted that the road which connects to neighbouring villages in Niger State was abandoned over four years ago. 

“The project has been abandoned by the contractor. After I mounted serious pressure on the contractor, he constructed the main bridge and left,” he said.

He, however, said he reminded the FCT minister Nyemso Wike during his visit to Abaji to flag off some road project in the area, even as he said the deplorable state of the road has been causing serious hardship and security threat to people of his chiefdom.

He said many houses become flooded at Rimba village, whenever it rains, saying heavy water flows from the main road into people’s houses.

“And I want to tell you that during rainy season, our elders and members of palace aides mobilise youths with hoes and cutlasses to repair some bad portion of the road before farmers will now manage to transport their crops to Abaji market,” he said.

The traditional ruler, while appreciating the council chairman under leadership of Alhaji Abubakar Umar Abdullahi, for calling on the FCT minister’s attention to the abandoned road, noted that the road after completion will boost socio economic activities in the area.

Reacting, an official at the works department of the council who preferred anonymity told Daily Trust on Sunday, that the council authorities had already written and submitted to the FCT minister Nyemso Wike to capture the road among uncompleted projects that will be rewarded to another contractor.

“Already, the issue of the road you are talking about has been forwarded by the chairman when the FCT minister Nyemso Wike came last week to flag off road project, which will be among projects that will be completed by the FCTA,” he said.

 

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