By Mukhtar Jarmajo
The importance of road infrastructure to the movement of people, goods and services cannot be over emphasized. Roads open up locked places thereby causing unprecedented increase in human activities. And that is why a government that is committed to the socio-economic growth of its people makes it a matter of priority to provide them road infrastructure.
In the tripod stand, Nigeria in general has roads infrastructure deficit as one of its topmost problems. And such is one of the problems that must be addressed if Nigeria is to witness unprecedented rise in economic growth in such a manner as to reposition the country to greater heights. Currently, there are villages and towns that are not accessible in spite of the strategic agro-economic position they hold.
More so, most of the cities, towns and villages that are accessible have dilapidated roads. And so, it is very difficult and sometimes even dangerous to ply them. Many ghastly auto accidents occur on Nigerian roads due to potholes. And so in order to arrest this situation and improve the living conditions of Nigerians, government should as a matter of fact and urgency rehabilitate our roads.
And one of such roads which urgently needs attention is the Bauchi-Gombe road. In spite it’s strategic role of linking the rest of Nigeria with Gombe, Adamawa and Taraba states as well as some parts of Borno and Yobe states, the road is in a dilapidated condition. Even though the Federal Ministry of Works and the Federal Roads Maintainance Agency (FERMA) are present on the road, they do not genuinely address the problems there.
In most cases, wrong application of laterite as base and sub base materials is the cause of failure in road construction. Therefore, in most instances where the road has become dilapidated, what is needed to be done is not merely replacing the top asphalt layer. Rather, for the road to be better, the base and the sub base soil most be replaced with good laterite to stop the seasonal water absorption and discharge, which cause the asphalt to crack.
In the Kangere axis of the Bauchi-Gombe road for instance, the Federal Ministry of Works is trying to replace the top asphalt layer with a new one. It will be an exercise in futility as the the road will become dilapidated sooner than later with the bad base and sub base it has. And on the Nabishin-Kangere axis of the same road where a layer of the asphalt was added on an existing one, it has already begun to wear out to confirm that the problem was not genuinely addressed.
Therefore, both the Federal Ministry of Works and the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) should engage sincere and committed professionals as they rehabilitate the Bauchi-Gombe road to improve socio-economic activities in the northeast in particular and Nigeria in general.
Jarmajo wrote from Aminu Kano Crescent, Abuja.