By Johnbosco Agbakwuru – Abuja
Governor of Niger State, Abubakar Bello, on Friday cried out to President Muhammadu Buhari over the dilapidation of roads and the ravaging menace of flood in the state, saying that his people wete living in hell.
Governor Abubakar spoke to State House correspondents after meeting behind closed doors with the President to seek urgent intervention to alleviate the suffering of his people at the State House Abuja.
He lamented that the poor state of federal roads had made life difficult for commuters and threatening to cut them off from the rest of the country.
He also said that floods have ruined 2,500 hectares of sugar cane plantations and ravaged 22 out of 25 local government areas of the state.
Besides, he said that 150 communities in the state are living underwater and he sought the President’s assistance to provide succor for farmers affected.
He said, “This afternoon, I paid a visit to Mr President to extend my greetings and wishes for the Independence Anniversary and I also seized the opportunity to discuss some issues that affect Niger State especially the state of roads in Niger State.
” At the moment, we are facing difficult times because the rains are quite heavy, most sections of the road have failed completely and there is need to have some quick intervention to ease the difficulties being experienced by motorists in highways.
“So I took time to brief Mr President on what is happening and what I think can be done in the interim to address some of these issues.
“You will recall that about two weeks ago we had a meeting chaired by the Chief of Staff with the Minister of Works, the GMD of the NNPC, the Director-General of Department of State Service and the Inspector General of Police with regard to the closure of Minna/Bida road.
“We were forced to close Mina/Bida road because the contractor on site had complained that the work in progress was very slow as a result of the heavy movement of trucks on that road. As you are aware that road was built for light vehicles, so we were forced to shut down Minna/Bida road.
“Eventually we had to open it so that we don’t create hardship to other parts of the country especially the Northern states. But at the moment as it today, we have two failed sections of Minna/Bida road and one failed section of Minna/Tekna road which has brought about the complete blockage of that road.
“So something needs to be done immediately to provide for an alternative route between South West and Northern parts of the states. We have a major trunk ‘A’ one road which is the Jabba-Mokwa-Kagara-Tegna-Pandogri-Kaduna road.
” I hope attention should be given to that road so that we divert most of the trailers to that road. There is also an alternative route which is the Mokwa-Bida-Lapai-Lambata road. That will also provide alternative to Minna-Bida road.
” So overall, that has been the main point of our discussion. We touched on flood briefly. I believe in the next few weeks, we may have some reliefs when it comes to flood.
” At the moment we have over 150 communities under water in Niger State, thousands of hectares of land have been displaced by flood, major investments like the Sunti sugar is completely underwater. They have lost over 2,500 hactres of Sugar Cane Plantation. And vast majority of the facility itself is under water.
“It is unfortunate it has happened, but I pray we will be able to get some quick intervention from the Federal Government so that we can support our local farmers that have lost their livelihood due to floods.”
Asked on the President response, he said, “The President believes more in action, he doesn’t talk too much, I think from his countenance I can say that he felt bad especially for Niger State. We are shouldering all the weight, every cargo from South West passes through Minna specifically.
“I think he has an idea, he probably will not know everything but he has an idea what we are going through at moment. At the moment we are going through hell in Niger State. So I believe something will be done.”