The commissioning of face one of the ongoing 103 kilometre Lapai-Gulu-Muye road project by Niger state government has attracted the attention of Nigerians from within and outside that State. This is why our correspondent Yakubu Mustapha, from Minna analyses possible fears by the people of the state concerning the road and how to guard against them.
The road, he says, is the only road linking Lapai, Gulu, Muye to Kogi state and to the southern part of the country. The project which is billed to cost N4 billion, upon completion, is a direct response to the cry by people of the State by the State governor Dr Mua’azu Babangida Aliyu.
Considering the plight of the people of the area who have for long lost their loved ones on that road, it will be sad and very unfortunate if the life span of the road is being threatened in any way.
Therefore, heavy duty vehicles plying the road must be quickly checked by the state government. The road was constructed for small and medium vehicles and if heavy duty vehicles are allowed to ply it, as is been experienced in recent times, the road will soon lose its life span.
The deplorable state of the road which has been like that for several years and has had negative effect on the social and economic development of the people may now be considered a thing of the past.
But a chart with many of the community people revealed lamentations over the durability of the road resulting from heavy duty vehicles that ply the road in large numbers on a daily bases.
Close analyses of the rate of cars plying the road suggests that the road may soon deteriorate if something is not done to curb its use.
Governor Aliyu who insisted on delaying the commissioning of the Gulu Ultra Modern Hospital until the road was completed, despite the fact that the construction of the Hospital was done about a year ago, stated that the road had been under construction many years back and was due for completion; long before now.
Explaining the reason for the cost of N4 billion billed for use in the construction of the road, the governor stated that the former administration of Engineer Abdulkadir Abdullahi Kure awarded the contract in 2004 to the tune of N1,641,474,000 to Soject Nig. Ltd and paid substantial amount of money but added that the road was abandoned, thereby forcing his administration to start all over.
He reports that the face one of the road has been completed, from Lapai to Gulu and that the second face consisting of 53 km second face from Gulu to Muye may be completed by July this year.
Before now the road has been a death trap in which criminals took advantage for several years, armed robbery attack was an order of the day because of the deplorable nature of the road. All these have now been reduced in great measures. The commissioning of the road marked the improvement of lives of the people of Lapai local government particularly Gulu community as well the people of other parts of the country and beyond.
This however cannot be said to last if big vehicles ply the road at ease thereby reducing its level of durability.
Governor Aliyu, while commissioning the road addressed the issues of insecurity, stating that there has been in recent times an alarming rate of migration to the state that has had a direct negative effect
on peace and security in the State. He stressed that the clashes in Benue and Nasarawa states between Fulani/ Tiv people has had its effect on Niger State.
He noted that security challenges are all inclusive as they have ways of affecting people living in areas where they occur.
Analysts have noted the need to check the rate of migration into the state to forestall future clashes.
While some view the migration of Tiv’s into the land as an act of last resort, others say there might be a need to check the problem to redress the issues that may arise from mass migration.
In his remark the state commissioner for works Alhaji Mu’azu Bawa Rijau earlier maintained that the contract of Lapai-Gulu-Muye road was awarded to Soject Nigeria Ltd in 2004 to the tune of N1,641,474,400 with the scope of work which include stratification of existing bottom surface, earth work, road works, surface dressing and wearing course as well as construction of bridge, culvates and enforce concretes, drainage with cover slaps the contractor was mobilized to site and commenced work.
Mu’azu therefore, said the contract was reviewed upward to the sum of N3,169,720,434 in order to increase the length of the road from Lapai to Gulu with the provision of 150mm closed tall base and 44mm ashfat wearing course to withstand the anticipated heavy lorry.
The Commissioner added that the contract was again reviewed to the total sum of N4,723,120,950 in order to take care of variations that came up as a result of pipe lives and depreciations of the earlier completed works.
He reiterated that the contractor has completed the 1st face of the work from Lapai-Gulu while presently on the 2nd face of the project which covered the sketch of road linking Gulu-Muye covering a distance f 53 km which would be two course surface dressing expected to be completed by July 2014.
The commissioner expressed gratefulness to the governor for his focus and confidence in the ministry by his support in executing all road projects since the inception of his administration most especially the Lapai-Gulu-Muye road commissined after many years of its been awarded.
An elder statesman and former minister of finance Alhaji Ahmed Abubakar Muye who responded onbehalf of the community expressed appreciation over the gesture from the state government describing Gulu as the centre of the communities He assured the state governor of the good use of the hospital but also pleaded with the state government on the construction of major roads in the area.
Also, the Commissioner of Livestock and fisheries Dr Isah Yahaya Vatsa who is the Committee chairman of the project monitoring and evaluation disclosed that the projects were a dual achievements. He noted that with the construction of the road, the two major predicament of the community had found its solution as they witnessed commissioning of a general hospital and the only road that connected the people of the area, adding that the road constructed will work with the hospital towards making the life of the people better. He expressed the support of the people to the state government at all terms.
Vatsa Lamented in great measures the activities of lories owners and other big vehicles plying the road adding that the activities of this people will bring about a sooner than necessary end to the road. He called on the state government to try its best to bring about the construction of alternate road for big vehicles, or find a lasting solution to the problem.
In the same vein, the commissioning of Kontagora township road and street light as well as 10 km of roads project constructed in the 11 wards of the local government is another achievement by the present administration that requires proper attention.
The township road covered 110km and street light cost the state government over N1.9 billion as over N710 million was expended on road projects commissioned by the Emir of Kontagora (Sarkin Sudan of Kontagora) Alhaji Saidu Namaska.
The governor named the old Lagos street to Nagwamatse drive while the Federal Collage of Education FCE road was named Mamman Kontagora road in honour of former minister of works General Mamman Tsoho Kontagora.
Namaska called on the leaders of the community and the politicians in general, across the country to always commit themselves to the growth of the community they inhibit and the development of the nation at large.