CEM REPORT, INFRASTRUCTURE | The Senate has called on the attention of the Federal Ministry of Works to the failed portions of Benin-Ekpoma-Okene Road, Benin–Sapele Road and Ewu-Uromi-Agbor Roads.
The Senate urged the Federal Ministry of Works to commence immediate repairs on the failed portions of the roads noting that the roads link Edo State to the north and other southern parts of the country.
The Senate made the call following a motion sponsored by three Senators from Edo state; Senators Clifford Akhimienmona Ordia, Matthew Urhoghide and Francis Asekhame Alimikhena.
During his presentation, Senator Ordia noted that the roads were constructed more than 30 years ago, and boosted socio-economic activities between the north and south of Nigeria.
He explained that due to age, wear and tear, certain potions of those roads were beginning to fail adding that the failed parts are causing untold hardship to commuters plying them.
He also noted that the reconstruction and dualisation of the roads has been long awarded but work on the road has been sluggish owing to factors such as non-payment of compensation, delay in payment of contractors, amongst others
“In 2022, following a series of complaints by commuters and motorists plying the Benin-Ekpoma-Okene Road, the contract for its reconstruction and dualisation was awarded by the Federal Government.
“In the same vein, the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan also awarded the contract for the rehabilitation of the Ewu-Uromi-Agbor Road before his administration ended in 2015.
“In 2021, it was reported that Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki attempted to intervene in fixing the failed portion of the Sapele-Asaba Road, especially the PZ-Junction-Ologbo axis of the road, he was however stalled by the Federal Government, with the reason that it is a federal road and that the contract for its rehabilitation has already been awarded.
“Since this rehabilitation and reconstruction were awarded, the pace of work has been very slow. The factors that top the list of reasons for the slow pace of work on these roads as reported are; non-payment of compensation, relocation of structures/buildings on the right of way, as well as, delay in payment of contractors.”
He expressed concern that certain portions which have failed completely have become a torn in the flesh of commuters, causing traffic and an increased hike in fares due to hours spent on the road.
“Currently, certain portions of the roads have failed completely and have become a source of nightmare to motorists, especially articulated vehicles that spend days on the same spot thereby preventing other small vehicles from navigating their way through the roads.
“Transporters are forced to increase their fares due to increased hours of the time it takes for them to arrive at a journey that they would have otherwise spent less time to arrive at thereby passing the buck to passengers and travellers who now pay higher than expected fares to their destinations”.
Ordia said the people of Edo State felt neglected by the Federal Government, while socio-economic activities in the communities around the roads had been grossly affected negatively.
The Senate in its resolution called for adequate funding to complete the reconstruction of those roads while urging the ministry to come up with a plan to settle all lingering issues bordering on the dualisation of the roads with contractors, and also review the terms and conditions of the contract to meet the current realities of inflation.
However, in his contribution, the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege denied that the project was abandoned, saying, rather, it is being carried out in phases due to paucity of funds.
Also, Senator Kabiru Gaya (APC- Kano South) said 34,000-kilometre roads is too much for the Federal Government to handle considering its lean resources.