Prior to the re-location of the Federal Capital from Lagos to Abuja, Mararaba-Gurku was a rural settlement and a T-junction that linked Abuja, Suleija and Minna to the west, and some northern states to the east. The area was inhabited by peasant farmers and its main economic activities at that time were farming and petty trading.
However, when Nigeria’s capital was relocated from Lagos to Abuja, Mararaba became an urban settlement. It is believed to be one of the most densely populated suburbs around the capital city and this contributes to its reputation as having one of the busiest road networks with traffic jam stretching 11 kilometers to AYA junction.
Every user of the road has a sad story to tell about the difficulties experienced on the road.
Nigerians who use this road go through a lot of stress.
The federal government in February 2023 assured Nigerians, especially road users, that it is committed to easing congestion on the Nyanya-Mararaba road before the end of the year 2023 because it was aware of the challenges faced by those residing in the areas due to continuous heavy traffic.
The Permanent Secretary, Ecological Project Office, Shehu Ibrahim, said more roads will be opened. He said the Wasa-Gude road, now under construction, will link Abuja to Kuje and Karshi and will ease congestion.
The situation is worsened by the traders who indiscriminately display their wares by the roadside forcing motorcyclists and other vehicle owners to park on the main road.
The Nasarawa State government has done well by constructing the Sani Abacha Bus Terminus, a motor park that is equipped with modern facilities to take care of travellers from Abuja and its suburbs in Nasarawa State.
Thus, there should be no excuse for commercial drivers to be picking passengers by the roadside. The Nasarawa State government, the National Union of Road Transport Workers and other security agencies must work together to stop this roadside business at the Abacha Bus Terminus which is big enough to accommodate about 900 vehicles.
Another way of solving the Mararaba-Karu-Masaka gridlock is for the federal government to dualize the Abaji-Toto-Nasarawa-Keffi road for travellers coming from Lokoja axis going to the northern states to divert from Abaji and link up at Keffi to continue their journey without passing through the heart of Abuja.
I recall Governor Sule of Nasarawa State had once appealed for the consideration of this project when he visited the then Minister of Works and Housing.
Mararaba traffic jam is worrisome. How can one travel all day from Yobe or Gombe and spend between two to three hours from Masaka to get to Abuja, the stress can better be imagined.
The time to find a lasting solution to the problem is now. Therefore, the appropriate authority should act now and clear the road for the free flow of traffic.
Solving the problem of Abuja-Keffi gridlock needs collaboration between the federal government and Nasarawa State government and the time to do this is now.
Tukura Matthew wrote from Lafia, Nasarawa State