The Nigerian House of Representatives has on Wednesday said that it has started addressing how to immediately fix the terrible federal roads nationwide.
The Speaker of the House, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal referred a motion on the important issue to the House Committee on Works for proper harmonization and implementation.
Hon. Sunday Steve Karimi, representing Yagba Federal Constituency of Kogi State, on Wednesday made a case for a Special Intervention Fund in a motion of urgent national importance moved on the floor of the chamber.
He said there must be an urgent move for the creation of an N800 billion (about 5.3million dollars) Special Intervention Fund, to be injected into the reconstruction, expansion and the maintenance of the roads, as a way out of the terrible road situation in the country.
According to him, “The special fund will be managed by a Special Task Force to be instituted by the President of the Federal Republic.”
“The House notes with concern, the continuous and the embarrassing rate at which the network of roads linking all parts of the country have turned today. This trend has assumed a dimension, which to my mind, this chamber can no longer continue to ignore and I believe we must rise up to this challenge as representatives of our people.”
Karimi added that most budgetary allocation for road building, rehabilitation and maintenance, are usually less than thirty percent utilized yearly and most times the fund are returned to the Federal purse as unspent while the funds are never rolled over to the road projects in the subsequent road budgeting.
“The House is also worried that the present zero budgeting, being practiced by the Federal Government, is not in any way helping road construction and rehabilitation in Nigeria, more so that there have not been an alternative funding outside Government provisions. One is also worried that the Public Private Partnership, PPP, scheme has not yielded the much expected desired result till date.”
“The House should mandate the President to create a special intervention fund of N800 billion to be managed by a special task force, working in liaising with the Federal Ministry of Works. The intervention fund will be a rolling fund, specifically for the roads.
“The Special Task Force will be a creation of the Presidency and should be adequately equipped with engineers and consultants, to act within a limited period of time and will be devoid of bureaucratic bottleneck.
The Task Force will immediately set in motion the process to create ‘quick win’ road projects,” Hon. Karimi said.
The condition of Nigerian roads and bridges have often led to the increase in road accidents, menace of armed robbers using the bad spots and reduction in the life-span of vehicles plying the roads. Some communities have actually been cut off from the rest of the country because their roads are completely impassable. This has often resulted in commuters being stranded or made to spend days on journeys that would have lasted only a few hours.