PRESS CONFERENCE RELEASE ON THE STATE OF DILAPIDATED ROADS IN NIGER STATE
Gentlemen of the press, the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) Minna branch found it very necessary to call this press conference to address issues in respect to the recent occurrences of road failures across the state (Niger State) which resulted from heavy down pours and also overloading of vehicles plying the road network which has over stretched these roads beyond their Design Axle Loads.
It is worthy to note that most of the major roads in the state are Federal Government owned roads, while few of them being state owned. These roads (both state and federal owned) overtime were neglected in terms maintenance and repairs, we will therefore be presenting issues that led to their present status, and make recommendations to ameliorate the situation.
Let me reiterate here again, as was earlier mentioned, that majority of roads in Niger State is owned by the Federal Government and virtually all the roads within the state road network are in very deplorable state. Of recent there were rampart failures of roads across the state especially during the sallah festivity.
The more prominent one is that of Minna – Kataeregi – Bida road (spanning about 88Km) that is linking most local government areas in Niger South Senatorial zone to the state capital. It has been the only fairly motorable road within the state road network and was cut off as a result of the failure of Arch Metal Pipe Culvert at a particular location along the route.
Many of such Arch Metal Pipe Culverts exist at several locations along the route and have long ago exceeded their design life and resulting in the failure recently experienced at one of the locations. As at August 29, 2018 after fixing the failed arch metal culvert another section of the same road closed to the former is about given way and needed to be fixed immediately.
I will also like to cast our mind back, that as stakeholder sometimes before the coming of this administration, a committee called Engineering Regulation and Monitoring (ERM) assessed this road and drafted a report in which recommendations were made on the need to replace the Arch Metal Pipe Culverts with Reinforced Concrete Culverts to assure safety and durability and also to put into consideration the changes in rainfall patterns across the globe due to the effect of global warming.
The government may wish to note that road infrastructure is an asset and not a liability and should be treated as such by imbibing global best practices in road pavement management system.
This becomes necessary as it is quite clear that government at all levels do not really have the capacity to efficiently fund road construction/maintenance projects and there is the urgent need to come up with Road Sector Reforms that will allow for private sector participation to assure availability of funds and technical support services in partnership with government to assure sustainable road pavement management system.
The importance of a good road network to the economic growth and stability of a country or region cannot be overemphasized as it will assure safety of commuters, quick and cost effective service delivery, reduced journey time and reduced accident cost thereby impacting positively on the socio-economic wellbeing of the people. Hence all stakeholders in the road development sector must put in their best to ensure that a good road network is achieved for Niger state and Nigeria at large.
i) Niger state government is advised to make efforts to replace all the Arch Metal Pipe Culverts along the Minna-Kataeregi-Bida road and other state owned roads as a matter of urgency and where funds are not readily available, then a well-planned out programme of activity based on available cash flow should be strategized to be implemented in phases for a defined duration.
ii) Both the Federal and Niger state governments should make efforts to install weigh bridges at strategic locations on the road network to check and mitigate the menace of overloaded vehicles plying the road network ensuring that all vehicles operate within the legal axle load limit, thereby assuring the protection and durability of the road pavement.
iii) Government at all levels should make efforts to ensure that the Road Sector Reform Bill which is before the National Assembly is passed into law so that Nigeria can join the league of great nations that have imbibed global best practices in Road Pavement Management System and have thereby attained stable economic growth and improved on the living standard of their citizenry.
Engr. Prof. M. B. Ndaliman,MNSE, FNIMechE.
Nigerian Society of Engineers, Minna Branch