April 14, 2024

Edo Deplorable Roads: State Govt Places Caveat Emptor

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Signpost installed by Edo State Government

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By Correspondent

The controversy surrounding the deplorable roads in Edo State is generating reactions from stakeholders and citizens who are bearing the brunt of hardship associated with the situation which has defied solution.

For several months, drivers, residents and commuters plying roads in Edo State have complained and sometimes protested the deplorable condition of roads in the state. When Midwest Herald went round some the city centre recently, it was discovered that several roads across the state have failed and becoming unbearable to roads users.

Apart from the federal roads, which are major arteries connecting the South-South, South-East, South-West as well as the South to the North which the Federal Government has failed to maintain, the condition of the state roads constitute greater risk to the social and economical activities of Edo State.

The Benin-Ekpoma-Auchi Roads is a national shame which has placed Edo State on the list of unsafe motoring in Nigeria, comparable to the ill famous East-West Road. Only recently, a former Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly, now member of the Federal House of Representatives, was involved in a ghastly accident , when his vehicle ran into one of the several potholes along the notorious Benin-Auchi Road.

Some Private commercial drivers who spoke to Midwest Herald lamented the huge cost of maintaining their vehicles due to the condition of both federal and state roads. “Drive to any of the local government headquarters in the state and you will understand what we are going through as commercial bus owners. The situation in Benin City is still manageable compared to the villages in the three senatorial zones and see the suffering people are going through”, a executive member of the National Union of Road Transport Workers told Midwest Herald reporter at Ikpoba Slope, Benin City, Edo State during the week.

The Governor of Edo State recently shared from the harrowing experiences of commuters when his convoy ran into gridlock on the failed part of the Benin-Sapele Road, which was reconstructed by RCC about 15 years ago.

It will be recalled that some youths and residents have had cause to barricade the road in protest against government. A community youth leader from Ahor told our reporter yesterday that they were surprised to a signboard disclaiming the Benin-Sapele Road. “This road has become impassable and we have been cut off from town. How will this signpost help us”, he asked.

Obaseki, Convoy Driving on Flooded Sapele Road, Benin City

Midwest Herald can authoritatively report that, the situation is not different with the ‘state roads’, not even in the so-called highbrow areas of Government Reservation Road is spared. Some of the roads in these areas have been riddled with gullies. A staffer of an inspectorate agency set up by Edo State Government to ‘monitor’ the works done by contractors , lamented to Midwest Herald reporter that he is considering working away from his job due to resistance he has been facing from ministry officials who are unhappy with his “professional reports on the poor construction delivered and accepted by the ministry.

“I am from this state, so I have learnt to be careful with assignment. I do not know if the governor sees all the reports we file on the ongoing in the state. As a professional, I think what is happening in Edo State cannot happen elsewhere. Our reports are suppressed and sometimes we are intimidated by citizens of the state who should own these projects.

“I have seen a situation where roads that was recorded as haven been repaired, will fail the next day. Sadly, such roads have remained so, even after we recommend that the contractor should return to site.”

During the course of gathering materials for a special edition on the ‘7th Year Scorecard of Governor Obaseki’s Administration’, Midwest Herald saw some of the Road Disclaimer installed by Edo State Government across the state.

Shortly after his Obaseki convoy drove into the flooded dilapidated RCC junction of the Benin-Sapele Road in Benin City, he told reporter that he was unable to build Federal Government roads in Edo State, while lamenting the deplorable state of roads across the three senatorial districts.

“Look at the accident that happenmed at Ovia River Bridge three weeks ago, in which we lost several lives following multiple accidents. Nothing has been done till now.

“I was on Sapele Road recently after the heavy downpour, the road was impassable. What is going in Benin-Sapele Road is scandalous”, Obaseki agonized.

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