Special Report

December 4, 2022

Federal roads are death traps — Findings

Federal roads are death traps — Findings

Tales of woe from the North  

This is the third installment of this investigative report on federal roads in the country that are presently in a state of disrepair, occasioning tales of woe by road users in the affected places. The second part was published in yesterday’s edition of Saturday Vanguard

VANGUARD, however,  learnt that most of the roads, having lived beyond their designed lifespan, are undergoing extensive repairs to recover the bad stretches. Vanguard further gathered that out of the 16 federal roads across the state, only Katsina-Kano Road and Funtua-Dandume Road are undergoing complete renewals.

The 55-km Dayi-Kankara-Dansadu Road is a no-go area for now due to activities of bandits. According to Engr Olakunle Ishabiyi, FERMA’s Deputy Director in Katsina, the Katsina Batsari-Safana Road, which is among the roads in bad shape, has not been receiving attention as a result of the security challenges in the area. 

The Federal Ministry of Works has finished the extensive repairs on the Funtua-Zaria-Kaduna Road, though it remains about four kilometres. The Funtua-Malumfashi-Yashi Road which was really in bad condition before has seen a substantial portion recovered as a result of the joint efforts of FERMA and the Federal Ministry of Works.

However, Vanguard learnt there are still some areas that need to be covered to change their status from bad to poor, fair or good. Similarly, the Dayi-Gwarzo Kano State Border Road has also seen improvement, though some sections are still bad. According to the Deputy Director of FERMA, most of the roads have been laid over the years.

“If there were enough resources what we ought to do is to uproot totally and relay, but here, we are just trying to ensure that we patch and do some resurfacing so as not to allow it to totally collapse.” 

Motorists decry slow pace of works on Federal roads in Kano 

Motorists in Kano State have decried slow pace of work in the ongoing road projects carried out by the Federal Government. The road project includes Kano-Katsina Road, Kano-Zaria Road and Kano-Maiduguri Road. A motorist and tipper driver, Tasiu Lawal, who spoke to our correspondent on ring road (near Gwarzo road to link up with Dawanau-Katsina road) said because the road has not been completed, it has been difficult for them to transport their goods.  “I transport sand.

We have to go and turn around. If the road had been completed, we would have no business going through the town before getting to our destinations. This road was awarded by former Head of State, late Sani Abacha. But till now, they have not completed the road; Bakan Lamba (Gwarzo road) has not been linked to Mill Tara (Dawanau road).

At this junction too, we expect them to construct a flyover to link those (heavy vehicles) coming from Maiduguri and Zaria through Eastern bypass to this area (Gwarzo road) leading to Dawanau road without having to go through the town. If this is done, it will ease traffic congestion in the town because the vehicles will have access roads,” Lawal said.

Another motorist, Ibrahim Abubakar who spoke to our correspondent also on the ring road near New Road (Sabon Titi) linking Naibawa, Panshekara, Madobi and Gwarzo road narrated the hardship they go through plying the road: “I reside in Gaida, and where we are at the moment is Sabon Titi, a meeting point for anybody coming from Naibawa, Panshekara, Madobi, etc. The federal government road project met and crossed over that of the state government at this junction.

The federal road project is to complete construction of Eastern bypass (from Naibawa) to link up with Madobi road and up to Gwarzo road. The project is yet to be completed for years. Commuters and residents complain bitterly about the slow pace of work here. During the rainy season people go through hell because the road becomes unmotorable during that season. Heavy trucks which convey goods from Industrial areas have their own story to tell. Motorcycle, car owners and residents too complain about the ugly situation and the dust,” Abubakar said.  

Taraba: Mayo Selbe-Gembu, Jalingo-Numan roads in shamble

The agony of commuters on Jalingo-Numan Road is still on-going and there seems to be no help in sight. Years after the Federal Government awarded the road contract, the project has been left unattended to and further compounded the rigors of traveling along that axis. Commuters on that road in the last four years have not had it easy and have lost hope of its completion before the expiration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

The same can also be said of the Mayo-Selbe -Gembu road leading to the Mambilla Plateau. Lots of lives and properties have perished on this road owing to its bad state. Youths in communities along that axis have regularly done some palliative works on the road but they are now weary. It is a common sight to see heavy duty vehicles breaking down along that axis and numerous hours commuters could have been saved are wasted.

Economic activities on the Mambilla Plateau are also on the decline because of this, and everyday, commodities are sold for higher prices due to the difficulties and high cost of transporting them to the Plateau. Christiana Babayo, who returned from Numan to Jalingo recently, said the road is now worse than before. The journey from Numan, according to her, was hellish. She regretted not taking the longer route of Numan-Yola-Mayo-Belwa-Zing Road.

Musa Mohammed who also just returned from Gembu lamented that it might take a long while before he returns to see his in-laws on the Mambilla Plateau. His reason is not unconnected to the stress of moving up the valley from the foot of the Mambilla Plateau in Mayo-Selbe. “We had it easy from Jalingo to Baruwa, but immediately we passed Mayo-Selbe, our trouble began. It was from on ditch to another. The road is too bad and the government needs to work on it before people there are cut off from Nigeria,” he said.