Contrary to general reports making the rounds that Nigerian roads are terrible and not motorable, the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola has said that Nigerian roads are not as bad as people think.
The Details: Fashola made this statement after the Federal Executive Council meeting where the sum of N58.4 billion was endorsed for the construction of Bida-Sachi-Nupeko road and the Nupeko-Patigi Bridge across River Niger, linking Nupeko and Patigi in Niger and Kwara States.
According to the Minister, “The roads are not as bad as they are often portrayed. I know that this is going to be your headline, but the roads are not that bad.”
He highlighted the paucity of funds and topography as major setbacks that stalled the process of road construction. He said poor topography levels in the South-South which can be likened to water tables were the reason road construction was so difficult in the region.
Opposing Voices: Fashola’s statement didn’t sit well with Ibrahim Usman, Chairman, Infrastructure Development Committee, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, who said that Nigerian roads were deathtraps.
“I think the minister is being economical with the truth. The roads are terrible. Take for instance the Biu to Gombe road that took one-and-a-half hours in the past to ply, now it takes four hours to get from Biu to Gombe. The luck we have is that Boko Haram has not stuck on that road.
“Another terrible road is the Damaturu-Biu road. That also takes four hours when in the past it took less than two hours. That was where military trucks and equipment were seized and taken into the bush by bandits some weeks back. At least if the roads are good, cars can move with speed but when the roads are terrible, movement is difficult and it is easy for robbers to attack.”
Usman even added that he now abandoned his vehicles at home since they were no longer fit for Nigerian roads.
Timothy Olawale, the Director-General, Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) presumed that the Minister was obviously not aware of the roads he was talking about. He singled out the Ibadan-Oyo-Ogbomoso road as one of the numerous examples that demonstrated the deplorable road condition in Nigeria. He also added the road between Asaba and Enugu as another worthy example.
“The huge craters along the Oyo-Ogbomoso road can swallow vehicles. These are roads that were manageable before but they have gone completely bad. People spend hours on that expressway because of tankers that fall into the craters.
“The sad thing is that the government is not doing any kind of palliative work on the roads,” Olawale said.
“To say that the road between Asaba and Enugu is bad is an understatement. I think the minister is not in touch with reality. He needs to speak with his road maintenance engineers and get information about the true situation of Nigerian roads,” he added.