Declare state of emergency on roads, Reps tell FG
The House of Representatives has asked the Federal Government to declare state of emergency on Nigerian roads, particularly the federal highways.
In a resolution lawmakers passed in Abuja on Thursday, they listed the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway as one of the roads the government must not treat with levity because of its “strategic economic importance.”
Other roads that need major repairs, according to the lawmakers, are Abuja-Lokoja-Okene road; Makurdi-Otukpo-9th Mile-Enugu road; Owo-Kare-Kabba road; Ikare-Omuo-Kabba road; Enugu-Awka-Onitsha road; Okene-Obajana road; Ikpele-Kabba road; and Okigwe-Umuahia road.
They called for immediate “measures” to rehabilitate or reconstruct the roads to reduce the suffering and risks faced by road users.
The House said the risks included fatal accidents and insecurity associated with robberies and kidnapping.
A member of the House, Mr. Segun Adekola, who moved a motion on the dilapidated state of the roads, said roads were the most used means of transportation in the country.
He also blamed the poor state of most roads on inadequate budgetary allocations by the government.
The motion, which was generally supported, read in part, “The House is aware that the absence of a railway system covering the length of the country makes road transportation the most widely available means of movement from one part of the country to another, putting immense pressure on the road network.
“The House observes that the zero budgeting system being implemented by the Federal Government is hampering effective rehabilitation and construction of roads in the country, given that there is no alternative means of funding this critical sector.”
The plenary session, which was presided over by the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, directed its committee on works to ascertain the level of implementation of the contracts awarded for roads since 2007.
A second motion, which sought to ask the government to concession the Gele-Gele Seaport to the Edo State Government, failed.
A lawmaker from Edo State, Mr. Johnson Agbonayinma, who moved the motion, also sought to declare the port an “export and import free trade zone.”
But, after Agbonayinma laboured to argue the motion, his colleagues rejected it.
Some members observed that waterways were matters under the Exclusive List, which made the port the sole property of the Federal Government.
Although, Dogara advised Agbonayinma to consider withdrawing the motion for more consultations, the lawmaker declined, insisting that it should be put to vote.
When the Speaker called for the votes, the motion failed in a majority voice vote.