Ifeanyi Onuba, Nnodim Okechukwu, Deji Lambo, John Charles, Ada Wodu, Peter Dada, Ademola Babalola, Ogbonna Casmir and Bola Bamigbola

In spite of N757.48bn budgeted for road rehabilitation and reconstruction by the Federal Government since 2015, most of its roads are still in a terrible state of disrepair.

Investigations by The PUNCH in the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria showed that the budgetary allocation had not made appreciable impacts on the roads across the country as many of them had not only become eyesores, but also embarrassments to a nation in search of investors.

Findings also indicated that the bad state of the roads had been aiding bandits and herdsmen, who killed and kidnapped travellers in impassable spots on these highways.

The N757.48bn budgeted by the Federal Government for the road sector was arrived at based on the analysis of the figures contained in the annual budget documents for 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 and obtained from the Budget Office of the Federation.

According to the analysis of the budget documents by our correspondents, N17.8bn was budgeted for roads and bridges by the Federal Government in the 2015 budget, while the figure rose to N132.4bn in 2016 for over 50 roads and bridges’ project.

In 2017, the allocation rose to N263.28bn for over 200 roads and bridges’ projects, while N344bn was budgeted for the 2018 fiscal period.

Analysis of the budget showed that N1.6bn was budgeted for the Abuja-Abaji Road, N1.51bn for the Kano-Maiduguri Road, N1.05bn for the dualisation of the Obajana-Benin, N1.04bn for the Enugu-Port Harcourt Road, among others

Further analysis of the budget document showed that in 2016, N13bn was budgeted for the dualisation of the Kano-Maiduguri Road, Sections I-V; while N8.7bn was appropriated for the reconstruction and pavement strengthening of sections of the Benin-Sagamu Expressway.

In the same vein, N14.2bn was appropriated for the construction of the Oju/Loko Oweto Bridge to link Loko and Oweto roads that connect Benue State to Nasarawa State and Oshegbudu-Oweto Road, while N13bn was appropriated for the concession of the Second Niger Bridge.

Also, about N6bn was allocated for the dualisation of the Odukpani-Itu-Ikot Ekpene Road in Cross River and Akwa Ibom states, N4.8bn was for the rehabilitation of the Ilorin-Jebba-Mokwa-Bokani Road, N8.8bn was for the rehabilitation of Sokoto-Tambuwal Kotangora-Makira Road, while N40bn was appropriated for the Lagos–Ibadan Expressway, Section I.

Similarly, N2.8bn was appropriated for the completion of the Gombe-Numan-Yola Road phase II, N5bn was for the rehabilitation of Apapa-Oshodi-Oworoshoki Road, N2.6bn was budgeted for the dualisation of Kano-Katsina Road phase I, while N6bn was for the dualisation of Ibadan-Ilorin Section II.

The rehabilitation of the Enugu-Onitsha Road got N5.5bn in the 2016 budget, just as N2bn was appropriated for the dualisation of the Sapele-Agbor-Ewu Road, Section I.

In the 2017 budget, the Federal Government budgeted N1.2bn for the rehabilitation of the Ikorodu-Sagamu Road, N7bn for construction of the Bodo-Bonny way, N2bn for the reconstruction of the Ete-Ikot Abasi Highway, N1.5bn for the dualisation of Kano-Katsina Road and N3.6bn for Enugu-Port Harcourt Road.

Also, N5.5bn was allocated for the reconstruction of the Benin-Ofosu-Sagamu highway,N4bn for the dualisation of the Kano-Maiduguri Road, N2.2bn for the Suleja-Minna Road project, N3.6bn for the Obajana-Benin Road and N5bn for dualisation of Ibadan-Ilorin Road among others.

In the 2018 budget, about N344bn was allocated for the construction and rehabilitation of many roads nationwide including the Abuja-Abaji Road, Lagos-Sagamu-Ibadan Dual Carriageway, Ilorin-Jebba-Mokwa-Bokani Road, the Kano-Maiduguri Road, Enugu-Port-Harcourt Dual Carriageway, and the Odupkani-Itu-Ikot Ekpene Road.

Gusau-Dansadau Road in Zamfara State…on Friday. Photo: Maiharaji Altine
But in spite of these allocations, investigations by our correspondents nationwide revealed that many roads were still in a state of disrepair.

In the North-Western state of Zamfara, one of our correspondents reported that the 110 -kilometre-Gusau-Dansadau Road, which was constructed in the Second Republic by the Shehu Shagari administration in 1982, was in a bad state.

Many motorists have abandoned the road, which links Zamfara to Kebbi and Kaduna states, because of accidents caused by potholes on it.

A motorist, Alhaji Aliyu AbdulAziz, in an interview with The PUNCH, said he had stopped going to Dansadau for his business activities because of the poor condition of the road.

Another motorist, Mallam Ilyasu Gusau, told one of our correspondents that the road had become a death trap as armed robbers and bandits had been operating freely on it.

According to him, the road used to be one of the busiest roads in the state, but has now been abandoned due to its terrible state.

Zamfara bandits attack motorists on bad roads

An indigene of the area, Mallam Ibrahim Kazauda, said the road had become a flashpoint of bandits, adding that the hoodlums had been invading many villages along the road.

The head of the Wanke village, Yariman Wanke, said the community had complained to the appropriate authorities, lamenting that nothing was done to alleviate the suffering of the people.

A member of the state House of Assembly, representing the area, Alhaji Abdullahi Turaki, who also expressed disgust over the dilapidated road, said, “My first assignment as soon as we begin sitting is to bring a motion about the road.”

Also, Governor Bello Mutawalle of the state, through his the Director General, Media and Publicity, Alhaji Yusuf Idris, said the repair of the road was one of the priorities of his administration.

104-year-old FG’s Oyo-Iseyin road rots away

Also, in Oyo state, a 400-kilometre Oyo-Iseyin Road, which was opened for use in 1915 by the Federal Government, had become impassable.

As the road has become an eyesore, so also is the Odo-Ogun Bridge on it. A traveller, Jeremiah Oke, said, “Many of us prefer to travel down to Ibadan from Iseyin before heading back to Oyo, which altogether is a 126-kilometre journey, which ordinarily should be a distance of about 40 kilometres.”

Two motorists, Lateef Alarape and Rauf Anigilaje, appealed to the Federal Government, to assist them because the bad state of the road had affected not only their work as transporters, but also hampered the economic growth of towns and villages in the area.

The Aseyin of Iseyinland, Oba Abdulganiyu Adekunle, in a chat with one of our correspondents, condemned the total abandonment of the road by the Federal Government.

The Aseyin observed that since 1915 that the road was reportedly constructed, no repair or major rehabilitation had been carried out on it.

He said the Odo Ogun Bridge was too narrow and should, therefore, be expanded to an international standard.

Killer herdsmen on the rampage on Ibadan/Ife Road

Also, in Osun State, the Ibadan/ Ife Expressway has become a fearful route since Fulani herdsmen are taking advantage of its bad portions to terrorise road users.

For example, gunmen kidnapped Prof Olayinka Adegbehingbe of the Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, on one of the bad spots of the road on June 5, this year.

The professor was travelling alongside his wife when they were attacked by armed men between Asejire and Apomu road.

Also, on June 12, suspected Fulani herdsmen, attacked travellers on the same Ife-Ibadan Expressway at Ikire and shot dead an employee of the Atakumosa West Local Government Area of Osun State, Samson Adenipekun.

The deceased was travelling to Ibadan, Oyo State, in an unregistered Toyota Corolla car driven by one Ismaila Olayiwola, when the incident happened.

Osogbo-Ilesa Road prone to attacks

Also, one of our correspondents in Osun State observed that the Osogbo-Ilesa Road was in a bad condition. It was gathered that the road was prone to attacks by herdsmen.

For example on February 11, some members of staff of Bowen University, Iwo, were abducted on the road, near Idominasi, a town in the Obokun Local Government Area.

A community leader in Idominasi, Mr Ogunniyi Olateju, in an interview with The PUNCH, said work, which started on the road 10 years ago, had not been completed.

When contacted, Supervisor, Osun State Ministry of Works, Mr Remi Omowaiye, explained that the administration of Governor Gboyega Oyetola had been holding talks with the Federal Ministry of Works to ensure that all federal roads in the state were in good conditions.

Also, the Federal Controller of Works in the state, Kehinde Olawale, said the contractor working on the road would soon return to the site.

Another road that has become a shadow of its old self is the Ejigbo-Iwo Road. The residents called on the government to urgently reconstruct the road that links Osun State to Ogbomoso in Oyo State.

Federal roads in Benue, the worst in Nigeria – Monarch

In the North-Central, motorists and community leaders in Benue State, in separate interviews with The PUNCH, described the Federal Government’s roads in the state as the worst in the country.

Some of the bad federal roads in the state are the Makurdi-Gboko-Katsina Alla-Zaki Biam Road, which links the state to Taraba State; the Makurdi-Aliade Otukpo Road, which connects the state to Enugu State; and the Makurdi-Laafia-Abuja Road that leads to northern part of the country.

One of our correspondents reported that the worst of the federal roads in the state was Makurdi-Naka-Adoka-Ankpa Road which links the state to Kogi State.

The correspondent observed that all the roads, especially the Makurdi-Naka-Adoka -Ankpa Road, were impassable.

Makurdi-Naka-Ankpa Road den of killer herdsmen

Some motorists said they had abandoned the Makurdi-Naka-Adoka-Ankpa Road because it had become a den of killer herdsmen.

It was also gathered that the situation was not different on the Makurdi-Aliade-Otukpo Federal Highway. A journey from Makurdi to Otukpo, which used to take one hour ten minutes, now takes motorists about three hours.

A traditional ruler and Ter Nagi, Chief Daniel Abomtse, described the “trunk A” road in his local government headquarters (Makurdi-Naka-Ankpa Road) as the worst road he had ever seen across the country.

He noted that the Makurdi- Naka Road was constructed by a former civilian governor of Benue State, the late Aper Aku (1976 to 1979), and handed over to the Federal Government.

Ukelle-Oju Road that connects C’River and Benue states…on Thursday. Photo: Ada Wodu
Abomtse added, “Due to the bad nature of the road, it has become a habitat for criminals, especially killer herdsmen.

“I have been constantly in touch with the then senator for this district, (Senator George Akume) and my House of Representatives member, Mike Gbilah, who has assured me that he will use his second tenure to actualise our dreams.”

A resident of Naka, Mrs Dorcas Dooshoma, said,”Fulani herdsmen always use the condition of the road to attack travellers. Many people were killed last year on the road, but it is a bit safe now with the presence of soldiers,” Dooshoma lamented.

Governor Samuel Ortom of the state appealed to the Federal Government, to reconstruct the deplorable roads across the state.

Lagos/Badagry Expressway, national shame

Meanwhile, the Lagos/Badagry Expressway has become a national shame as the road that links Nigeria with Benin Republic is in a state of disrepair.

Though the Lagos State Government had started the reconstruction of the ever-busy road, work had since stopped for lack of funds.

A businessman, Bolaji Banjoko, who resides at the Barracks along the Lagos-Badagry expressway, said drivers, passengers and passersby usually undergo intense agony while plying the road.

He added that the potholes on the road were responsible for the gridlock that made them spend hours on a journey that should have lasted minutes.

Banjoko said, “We have been crying about the poor state of the road for so long. Our experiences on the road have been very tough, going out and coming in on a daily basis is a big challenge. Whenever it rains, the situation worsens because it causes gridlock which makes us spend hours on a journey that should lasted just some minutes. The gridlock is always severe to the point that even motorcyclists and pedestrians can spend hours on a particular spot.”

In a similar development, road users plying the Apapa Expressway in Lagos had also been condemning the deplorable state of the road that had made commuting challenging to them. In fact, the poor condition of the road had led to many accidents, and had been endangering the lives of road users plying the axis.

Although, the President Muhammadu Buhari, had delegated a task force to restore normalcy along the Apapa expressway in two weeks, the gridlock still lingers. Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, had also made a U-turn from his promise that he was going to solve the Apapa gridlock crisis in 60 days. With the prevalence of the gridlock in the area, the government should establish palliative measures to alleviate the hardship commuters go through while plying the Apapa expressway urgently.

Akure/Ado-Ekiti road not rehabilitated since 1970s

In Ondo State, The PUNCH correspondent reported that the Akure-Ado Ekiti Federal Government Expressway had become a dangerous route for travellers and motorists.

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