By Tordue Salem
A former member of the House of Representatives and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Rep. Sunday Karimi has raised the alarm over the deplorable condition of Lokoja-Okene, Lokoja-Obajana-Kabba roads in Kogi State.
In a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja, the two-term lawmaker bemoaned that the roads had become a nightmare to motorists plying them.
He urged the Federal Government to “concession the roads with an immediate effect for proper reconstruction and maintenance”.
Karimi, who represented Yagba Federal Constituency of Kogi State in 7th and 8th Assemblies, said that the appeal “became necessary having experienced about seven hours stuck on a spot along the Lokoja Kabba Road last week”.
He explained that “commuters had at one time, faced this same type of untold hardship until the Lokoja-Obajana end of the road, was a concession and given to Dangote Group for repairs by the Federal Government”.
He made a passionate appeal to the Federal Government “to consider the viable option of concessioning the affected roads to the Dangote Groups for proper destruction and maintenance”.
He noted that “the Obajana-Kabba Road was sometimes ago constructed and repaired under a concession (import duty waiver) arrangement by the Federal Government and awarded to the same Dangote Groups”.
He called on the Federal Government to “concession and repair the failed road by Dangote Group”, stressing that “the hardship faced by travellers through Kogi State, was better imagined in their sufferings due to dilapidated roads”.
Karimi claimed that “on a daily basis, over a thousand trailers, attempt entering into the multi-billion naira cement factory in a bit to load Cement, thus causing heavy traffic along Lokoja Kabba Road, consequently leading to a total lockdown at Lokoja-Okene, Obajana Jun.
According to him, “travellers to the East, South-South, West and even to the Northern part of Nigeria who make use of the roads, are now faced with spending quality man-hour on the road, which usually leads to total lockdown on a daily basis that stretches into hours and sometimes a whole day, the Federal Government needs to do something urgently
” On the average and from my personal experience, travellers now spend between seven hours on the road for a journey, not more than an hour due to the embarrassing traffic caused by heavy-duty trucks packed on the Lokoia Kabba road in a bid to conduct their haulage business and at the detriment of the generality of the public who are greatly inconvenienced”.
While he acknowledged that no one was disputing the immense benefit of the multibillion naira Cement factory to Kogi State and Nigeria, he, however, said it was “important that the Management of the Factory, immediately takes steps to tolerate the sufferings of the people”.
He equally suggested that the management of the Dangote Cement Factory should consider it a Social Responsibility to the people to urgently come up with a stop-gap, by putting in place an arrangement that would ameliorate the sufferings of people on that road, whilst the Federal Government considers another concessional arrangement to include the construction of a fly-overbridge at Obajana junction and also the Kabba-Ilorin end of the road which is now in a very bad state, as a result of years of neglect and continuous use by the heavy-duty trucks.