By Daniel Idonor
ABUJAâ€” THE Federal Government, through its Works Minister, Alhaji Hassan Adamu Lawal, yesterday reacted to the deplorable state of federal roads in the country, in particular the Apapa-Oshodi expressway in Lagos, saying â€œwe have to be careful.â€
It was not clear who should be careful â€” the government, Nigerians who suffer daily, or the media who report the suffering of Nigerians â€” as the minister refused to talk to State House correspondents on the matter beyond a terse sentence: â€œI have discussed the matter with my boss (President), we have to be carefulâ€.
Lawal who was sighted with a file containing yesterdayâ€™s edition of Vanguard newspaper before the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) began, refused to talk to State House Correspondents when approached on the grounds that he had no time; but requested that the reporters should see him later.
This he did twice until the FEC meeting ended. And when he eventually emerged from the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, venue of the FEC meeting , the minister who was not apparently ready to field questions from journalists said â€œI have discussed with my boss, we have to be carefulâ€, a statement that did not make any meaning to reporters.
Asked to explain what he meant by â€œwe have to be carefulâ€, the minister failed to utter a word, as he walked out on the reporters.
Vanguardâ€™s investigations however revealed that President Yarâ€™Adua, following the various media reports on the poor state of federal roads in Lagos State, had repeatedly drawn the attention of the minister to the issue, asking that he comes up with a workable solution towards addressing the issue as it has become a major source of negative publicity to the government.
It was gathered thatÂ the Hassan Lawal, who has served as minister for five years, including three years under former President Olusegun Obasanjo, as Labour minister, and two years in the present government, could not come up with any solution.
Vanguard had reported that the Oshodi-Apapa expressway, owned by the Federal Government, has for many years been neglected resulting in its present state of decay.
Vanguard in the report said â€œone of the cityâ€™s main arteries, the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway which connects the Murtala Muhammed International Airport with two of the nationâ€™s busiest seaports â€” Apapa Quays and Tin Can Island Port has failed at several locations.
â€œThe worst points are on Tin Can Island itself, at Ibafon (Coconut Bus-stop to Sunrise), at Berger, and at the turn-off to Lagos-Badagry Expressway at Mile II, where motorists paddle their vehicles through flood.
â€œOther failed sections are at Rainbow Bus Stop, stretching forth towards Sanya for several hundred metres. This spot has particularly worsened the agonies of motorists in the last few days, with traffic backing up for many kilometres and throughout the day.
â€œIt is also the scene of ghastly crashes as unsuspecting motorists speed into the craters at night. The other major failed section is at Itire (Berliet Bus Stop).â€