The Senate has called on the federal government to ensure the rehabilitation and repair of inter-state roads in Nigeria in the 2018 fiscal year.
The Senate made the resolution on Tuesday after deliberating on a motion titled "Urgent need to rehabilitate and repair inter-state roads in Nigeria", sponsored by Chuwkuka Utazi (PDP, Enugu North) and two other senators.
While stating that Nigeria has the second longest network of roads in Africa, after South Africa, with over 200,000 kilometres of roads in the country, Mr. Utazi explained that roads are important for communications, social integration, economic development and defence access, as roads account for more than 95 per cent of the movement of people, goods and services in Nigeria.
"The decaying road infrastructure, with poor maintenance culture, is one of the major developmental challenges Nigeria is facing. The poor maintenance of roads has led to loss of precious man-hours, vehicular disrepair, high accident rates and high fatalities, ambushes by criminals and rapists, and other socio-economic frustrations.
"An improved maintenance of Nigerian roads would lead to more social and economic interaction, facilitate integration, encourage commercial activities, provide a means for the evacuation of agricultural produce that abound in the hinterlands but which rot for lack of access to markets, improve demographic relations and raise the quality of lives of the people, and that interstate roads, particularly, encourage cooperation and communication among the various parts of the country," he said.
Making reference to the ldah-Odolu-Nsukka-Adani-Otuocha-Onitsha road, which traverses Kogi, Enugu and Anambra states, and which is in total disrepair, he said the road has been awarded to various contractors and huge funds released to them by the federal government without any appreciable job done, with many sections of the road impassable.
"An injection of funds for the repair and rehabilitation of the road either by the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) or the main Ministry of Works, and other roads of that characteristic across the country, would have a serious impact on the developmental ambitions of the country and improve cross-country relations," he added.
Shehu Sani (APC, Kaduna Central) also lamented the deplorable state of interstate roads in the country, adding that funds are always allocated for the repair of roads but nothing is done on them.
"It is almost six decades since we got our independence. From the first day till today, we are still discussing the state of these roads.
"It is unfortunate that year in year out, we budget billions of naira for the repair of the roads but they remain dilapidated.
"We have raised motions here countless times. We cannot continue to talk about roads year in year out, decades after decades.
"We are wasting so much time writing budgets but not funding projects. We cannot achieve any serious economic development if we don't fix our roads. Something has to be done," he said.
Other resolutions made by the Senate are to "mandate the Committee on Works to investigate the award and execution of the Idah- Odolu- Nsukka- Adani-Otuocha-Onitsha federal road which has been in a state of total disrepair; and
"Urge FERMA, to, as an interim measure, begin immediate repair of the bad portions of the Idah-Odolu-Nsukka-Adani-Otuocha-Onitsha federal road to make it motor-able pending when full rehabilitation works can commence."