The Niger Government on Wednesday declared ‘state of emergency’ on federal roads following the collapse of two bridges, linking the Western and Northern Nigeria.
Mr Jonathan Vatsa, the state Commissioner for Information, made the declaration shortly after inspecting the bridges in Tatabu and Bokani villages both in Mokwa Local Government Area.
“There is no guarantee of life on these roads, therefore, on behalf of the acting Gov. Alhaji Ahmed Ketso, Niger state as a government hereby declared a state of emergency on federal roads in the state,” Vatsa said.
The two bridges collapsed on June 4 and June 11 respectively after downpour.
The railway that links Western and Northern parts of the country also collapsed as a result of flood in the same area.
“Road users should, henceforth, be very careful and take precautionary measures while travelling on the roads.
The federal roads in the state are not longer safe,” the commissioner declared.
“I advise drivers of trucks and articulated vehicles to be conscious, especially when approaching a bridge,” he said.
Vatsa, however, appealed to the Federal Government to intervene in rehabilitating the roads, saying the Northern and Western parts of the country are currently cut-off as a result of the collapsed bridges and railway tracks.
“The two bridges must be fixed at the same time because they are links to each other in one way or the other.
“Vehicles conveying goods and people to other parts of the country will now have to use Tegina-Minna-Suleja-Abuja and Lokoja route which is longer,” he added.
Vatsa called on the Federal Government to do something urgently to reduce the hardship on the people.
Malam Suleiman Mohammed, a resident of Bokani community, told NAN that the collapsed bridges had left motorists and passengers stranded without alternative route.
Umaru Mohammed, a Youth Leader in Bokani Village, told NAN that the youths in Bokani and the neighbouring communities had come up with new initiative of pushing cars and assisting passengers to cross through the water.
According to him, the pushing of buses through the water attracts a fee of N500 per bus while small cars pay N300.
“We only push small cars, articulated vehicles are not allowed. This initiative has created a means of livelihood for youths in the areas for a time being,” he said.
Mohammed said that the collapsed bridge in Bokani had led to the increased in transport fare.
“Before, transport fare from Bokani to Makera was N300 but now it costs N500 while Mokwa, which was N150 now cost N300.
“We are appealing to government to help because we are suffering and travelers are stranded,” he added.