The Niger State caucus of the National Assembly has decried the deplorable state of roads in the state.
The caucus comprising three senators and 10 members of the House of Representatives told journalists on Tuesday that the roads have gone from bad to worse following the heavy rains this year.
This came barely 24 hours after youth under the auspices of National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) blocked the Suleja-Minna highway to protest the deplorable state of roads in the state. They carried placards with various inscriptions and vowed to continue their protest until their demands are met.
The angry youth also blocked the Bida-Minna road as motorists were forced to look for alternative routes into and out of the state.
The caucus was led by the Deputy Chief Whip, Aliyu Abdullahi.
Mr Abdullahi, who stressed the importance of the roads, said he has lost two brothers to accidents on the roads in the last week. He also said heavy traffic experienced in the last two years has impacted negatively on the roads.
“An emergency does not require a normal process. What we saw in the last three to five days is so serious and it is also breeding insecurity because the volume of vehicles on that road has increased and the roads are bad and some of our relations encounter accidents.
“Personally, I have lost two brothers in the last one week to accidents on these roads. My junior brother just escaped barely with his life two days ago, attacked by armed robbers. It is the same story with all of us because the road is bad and you can’t even move. Hoodlums have taken over. ”
Niger state has the longest trunk-A network of federal road. A traveller from North East, North West, has to pass through Niger State, taking the trunk-A2 from Kaduna down to Birnin-Gwari to Mokwa-Jebba before exiting to Kwara State.
“In the same vein, if you are going to Kebbi, Zamfara or Sokoto state, you will now detour at Makira to Kotangora and you have three options depending on where you are going. When you come to Mokwa, you have the option to take Bida off to Lambata to join the Minna-Suleja highway.
“All these roads as we speak to you are in a very deplorable state. This is no thanks to some development especially the heavy rainfall. The downpour this year is so heavy. What we experienced was first the very bad deplorable condition of the trunk-A2 road leading to Kaduna because that is the main road most of our heavy vehicles ply,” he said.
The western bypass in Minna is completely degraded, he said. He also said some sections of the Suleja-Minna road were very good but because of what the vehicles plying that road carry, for the past one or two months, the story is “one of cry and anguish because you have to sleep there for two to three days as a result of a section giving up completely, being muddy, trucks breaking down there.”
While calling for urgent action, the lawmaker said vehicles plying these roads are also overweight or overloading. “Some of them are designed for 30 or 40 tonnes but what we see is 60 to 90 tonnes,” he said.
“Right before your eyes as the vehicles are passing, you will see the road sinking in.
“The essence is to call on the Federal Government in particular under the ministry of works and our father, Mr President. The bulk of these vehicles do not belong to Niger state but to Nigerians but the impact is felt by Nigerlites. What we are asking for is a state of emergency to be declared on these three roads- Minna to Suleja road, from Mokwa down to Kaduna and Bida to Lambata road,” he said.