Due to the poor condition of numerous roads around the country, Senators have called on the federal government to declare a state of emergency on federal roads and increase money for their maintenance.
In particular, the upper legislative house on Tuesday encouraged the Federal Ministry of Finance to transfer appropriate funding to the Federal Road Maintenance Agency, FERMA, as soon as possible for carrying out emergency repairs on all federal highways around the country.
As part of this, it called on the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing to promptly install weight bridges on relevant segments of all federal highways to prevent trucks and tankers from being overloaded beyond the engineers’ load- bearing capacity of such roadways.
During the plenary, Senator Gershom Bassey (PDP Cross River South) introduced a motion on Nigeria’ s deplorable roads and NUPENG’ s approaching nationwide strike, which was supported by the majority of senators.
Senator Bassey stated that the 36, 000 km federal road network is the largest and most valuable single public infrastructure asset possessed by the federal government of Nigeria and that his remarks were made following Senate Standing Orders 42 and 52, respectively.
According to the lawmaker, ” the deplorable state of Nigeria’ s federal roads has become a national embarrassment and an unnecessary source of embarrassment as scores of innocent people are kidnapped by bandits, robbed, mutilated, and killed every day in preventable accidents as a result of poor federal roads. ”
His deplorable remarks were in response to the threat by the Petroleum Tanker Drivers chapter of the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG) employees to destroy the Nigerian economy through a statewide strike if the country’ s terrible and disgusting roads are not rebuilt.
Earlier this year, Senator Bassey asked for additional money for the upkeep and restoration of the nation’ s federal roadways, which he said was a similar request to the one he made in 2019.
He expressed concern that, despite repeated appeals, there has been no increase in money for highway maintenance and restoration, which he believes is unnecessary.
According to the legislator, the federal highways in Nigeria require an annual budget of approximately N215 billion to renovate 3, 500 kilometers of federal roads over an eight- to- ten- year period to complete total rehabilitation.
He went on to express his disappointment that, between 2016 and 2020, the real monies released to FERMA by the federal government for road restoration and maintenance amounted to only roughly 17 percent of the total required.
Senator Bassey went on to say that low funding and neglect of Nigerian roads have resulted in the country’ s federal roadways being in such poor condition.
Therefore, in its resolutions, the Senate requested the Federal Ministry of Finance to promptly, as a matter of urgent national urgency, give appropriate financing to the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) so that it could carry out emergency repairs on all federal highways throughout the nation.