Niger State appeals for support in addressing road infrastructure
By Timothy Choji, Abuja
Niger State government, has appealed to the federal government to assist the state by re-constructing some major roads that link the state and the rest of Nigeria.
The State Governor, Abubakar Bello mad the appeal on Friday, when he paid a visit on President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Speaking to State House Correspondents at the end of his closed dor meeting with the President, the Governor said:
“This afternoon, (Friday) I paid a visit to Mr. President to extend my greetings and wishes for the Independence Anniversary and I also seized the opportunity to discuss some issues that affect Niger State especially the state of roads in Niger State.
“At the moment, we are facing difficult times because the rains are quite heavy, most sections of the road have failed completely and there is need to have some quick intervention to ease the difficulties being experienced by motorists in highways. So I took time to brief Mr. President on what is happening and what I think can be done in the interim to address some of these issues.
“You will recall that about two weeks ago we had a meeting chaired by the Chief of Staff with the Minister of Works, the GMD of the NNPC, the Director-General of Department of State Service and the Inspector General of Police with regard to the closure of Minna/Bida road.
“We were forced to close Mina/Bida road because the contractor on site had complained that the work in progress was very slow as a result of heavy movement of trucks on that road. As you are aware that road was built for light vehicles, so we were forced to shut down Minna/Bida road.
“Eventually we had to open it so that we don’t create hardship to other parts of the country especially the Northern states. But at the moment as it is today, we have two failed sections of Minna/Bida road and one failed section of Minna/Tekna road which has brought about the complete blockage of that road.”
Governor Bello stressed that something urgent needs to be done, to salvage the situation.
“So, something needs to be done immediately to provide for alternative route between South West and Northern parts of the states. We have a major trunk ‘A’ one road which is the Jabba-Mokwa-Kagara-Tegna-Pandogri-Kaduna road.
“I hope attention should be given to that road so that we divert most of the trailers to that road. There is also an alternative route which is the Mokwa-Bida-Lapai-Lambata road. That will also provide alternative to Minna-Bida road. So overall, that has been the main point of our discussion.
Commenting on recent floods that has affected 21 Local Government Areas of the State, the Governor expressed optimism that succour would soon come the way of people residing in the affected areas.
“We touched on flood briefly. I believe in the next few weeks; we may have some reliefs when it comes to flood.
“At the moment we have over 150 communities under water in Niger State, thousands of hectares of land have been displaced by flood, major investments like the Sunti sugar is completely under water. They have lost over 2,500 hacters of Sugar Cane Plantation. And vast majority of the facility itself is under water.
“It is unfortunate it has happened, but I pray we will be able to get some quick intervention from the Federal Government so that we can support our local farmers that have lost their livelihood due to flood,” he said.
Asked on the President response to all the matters raised, he said:
“The President believes more in action, he doesn’t talk too much, I think from his countenance I can say that he felt bad especially for Niger State. We are shouldering all the weight, every cargo from South West passes through Minna specifically.
“I think he has an idea; he probably will not know everything but he has an idea what we are going through at moment. At the moment we are going through hell in Niger State. So, I believe something will be done.”
Governor Bello used the occasion to thank President Buhari for the various interventions by both air and ground trioops, in addressing security challenges in Nigeri State.