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The Niger state government on Friday threatened to again close the Minna-Bida and Minna-Zungeru Roads to articulated vehicles, over the collapse of two bridges on the roads.
Gov. Abubakar Bello of Niger stated this made the during the tour of some of the Federal and State Government-owned roads in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the state government had on Sept. 15, restricted the movement of articulated vehicles on state-owned roads, which were temporarily reopened after a meeting with Federal Government officials.
Bello stated that the government was yet to meet up with the agreement of carrying out remedial work on the Bida-Lapai-Lambata and Mokwa-Tegina-Birnin-Gwari trunk A Roads, as well as the repairs on the Minna-Suleja Road.
The governor, while inspecting the Minna-Suleja, Minna-Bida and Minna-Zungeru-Kontagora Roads, said that the state government had commenced repairs of some portions on the Minna-Suleja Road to make it passable.
“We can’t fold our hands and see our people go through so much hardship; we will continue to do what we can, because we have exhausted the state’s resources in the past on these roads.
“The Federal Government is already aware of our plight. So, there is no need to discuss with them again. I will have to face my problem, and by doing that is to close the Minna-Bida Road again,” Bello said.
The governor stated that the agreement between the Niger state and the Federal Government was to reopen the road for two weeks, for remedial work on the Federal roads, before closing the state-owned roads again for proper work.
He noted that the contracts had been awarded for the construction of the Federal roads in the state, adding that the pace of work was slow as a result of poor funding from the Federal government.
Bello urged the Federal government to urgently intervene; otherwise the northern part of the country would soon be completely cut off from the South-East and the South-West.
NAN reports that more than 5,000 articulated vehicles were stranded on the Minna-Bida and Minna-Zungeru Roads, as a result of the collapsed bridges and the deplorable state of the roads.
Malam Gimba Shaba, an articulated vehicle driver, told NAN that he had been on the road for them past seven days after leaving Lagos on Saturday on the way to Abuja.
Shaba, who spoke in Hausa, said: “I have to tell my Oga in Suleja that I am stranded here along Minna road. The fear is that the fuel we are carrying may be affected by the terrible road. Now you reach where to discharge the product and the owner will say there is shortage”.
Another driver, Sumaila Ahmed, said that the perishable goods he was carrying was for the Dikko market on Sunday last week.
“We have sold some of the tomatoes to villagers to reduce the loss. These are time bound products, and we are incurring heavy loss. It would have been good if we can transfer the loss to customer, but that is when there is something to give them,” he said.
Ahmed called on relevant authourities to do the needful by repairing the road which serves as the only route to the South and East from the North part of the country.
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