Senators on Wednesday lamented the deplorable state of road infrastructure across the country despite the fact that successive administrations since 1999 had committed trillions of naira to maintain the various highways.
They therefore urged the Federal Government to immediate reorganise its ministry of works and the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency with a view to repositioning them for the onerous task of fixing all the dilapidated highways.
The senators also urged the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to without further delay, undertake the immediate rehabilitation and expansion of major highways and interstate roads in Nigeria.
The upper chamber also resolved to direct its committee on works, when constituted to embark on audit of all road projects in Nigeria with a view to producing raw data for further necessary legislative action.
The senators stated this following a motion by Senator Dino Melaye (APC Kogi West) who observed that the nation did not feel the impact of the trillions of naira spent by the Federal Government since 1999 on roads construction and management.
He also said that many parts of the country had been cut off with its negative impact on trade and commerce because there had been a slide in the country’s agricultural output and economy.
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, however, said the poor state of the roads in the country had contributed negatively to the development of the economy.
He lamented the fact that roads in smaller countries in the region were in better shape than roads in Nigeria.According to him, there is a need for concerted effort to ensure that factors responsible for poor condition of roads in the country are tackled.
He said, “For Nigeria to develop, we must begin to look at why we find ourselves in this situation.
“We must also look at the contribution of private sector as well as the quality of contractors who handle road construction and rehabilitation.”
Senator Sam Egwu (PDP-Ebonyi North) said there was no better time to reconstruct all federal roads in the country, than now that Nigeria was working towards diversification of the economy.
He said that federal roads in the South-East in particular, had been in a bad shape since the civil war, in spite of the contribution of those from the region to the growth of the economy.
He said, “The roads in the South East, particularly in Ebonyi State are death traps.`Ebonyi State is one of the hubs of agriculture but the roads are in bad shape and that has made movement of goods and services to other parts of the country very difficult.”
Deputy Minority Whip, Senator Biodun Olujimi, said with the paucity of funds in the country, relevant stakeholders ought to find means of raising funds to rehabilitate existing roads.
She said, “We need to ask the Senate ad-hoc committee on Works to liaise with the ministry of works to find lasting solution to funding of road projects.
Also, Senator. Abdullahi Adamu (APC-Nassarawa West) said the lifespan of vehicles had reduced drastically due to poor condition of the roads in the country.
He also lamented increasing traffic congestion on the Mararaba-Nyanaya-Keffi road that linked about 15 states.
He called on the federal ministry of works to create additional lanes on the road to ease traffic and to reduce pressure on the road.
He said, “ I want to let the senate know that the road that leads from AYA in Asokoro, Abuja to Masaka in Nassarawa State ordinarily takes few minutes but with the congestion, however, it takes about three hours or more for commuters to get to their destinations.
The senate, however, rejected two additional prayers urging the federal government to expand the Masaka-Abuja road and re-introduction of toll gates, when they were subjected to vote by Saraki.