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.
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.