Robbers Prey On Residents Along Deplorable Kwara Roads

Date: 2015-11-08

The deplorable situation of roads in Kwara State has become a major cause of worry for residents of the state, LEADERSHIP Sunday can report.

Motorists and travellers across Kwara state are daily exposed to danger as a result of the deplorable condition of almost all federal government roads in the state.

Travellers and residents alike are not only exposed to danger resulting from avoidable auto accidents on the roads, but danger in the hands of dare-devil armed robbers, who take advantage of the deplorable condition of the roads to attack and rob passengers of their valuables.

Some of the roads begging for repair include Ajase-Ipo-Offa-Erin-Ile, Olooru-Bode-Saadu-Jebba along Lagos-Kaduna high way, Ilorin-Kabba and Kishi-Kaiama all in Irepodun, Offa, Oyun, Moro and Kaiama local government areas of the state.

Worried by the condition of the roads and the resultant effect on residents, the state governor, Alh Abdulfatah Ahmed recently made a call on the federal government to hands off ownership of roads in the country. Speaking at the maiden international conference of the Nigerian Institution of Civil Engineers (NICE) in Ilorin, Ahmed said this had become necessary in view of the need to improve infrastructural development in the country.

The governor, who said that roads play an important role in the economy by enhancing smooth movement of goods and people from one place to another. He however lamented that the current deplorable state of Nigerian roads had made the task difficult.

To get out of the debacle, Ahmed advocated that states where the roads are located should be made to assume ownership, after the legal and fiscal adjustments necessary for control might have been made, and also recommended that the respective governments should concession key roads nationwide to the private sector on build and operate arrangement.

To address the prevalent cases of building collapse in the country, the national chairman of the institution, Engr Robbie Owivry, called on the federal government to enact a law that would prevent unqualified engineering personnel from carrying out engineering activities.

While pointing out that the absence of a statutory law had encouraged sharp practices by unqualified personnel, Owivry added that, "we will personnaly get in touch with the federal government to enact a law that will prevent non-qualified engineering personnel from carrying out engineering activities.

"If that law is put in place, and has the backing of the FG, then, it makes our job easier in regulating and monitoring, anytime we go on sites and we see some people carrying out the work of engineering without being qualified. We can then take them up and prosecute them in law court."

Owivry attributed the situation in the sectie to the absence of a statutory law, and noted that when the law is put in place, members of the public and core professionals will know that any infringement of the law would not be treated with kid gloves. Also disturbed by the sorry sight of the roads, a socio-cultural group, Offa Descendants Union (ODU), recently lamented the dilapidated status of the Ajase-Ipo-Offa-Erin-Ile road.

The road connects Kwara state with Osun State in the South west. Secretary General of ODU, Mrs. Wosilat Mccarthy, urged the federal government to release funds for the rehabilitation of the six kilometre road to ameliorate the suffering of those who ply the road.

She lamented that business owners had suffered losses resulting from damage and destruction of their goods and vehicles, especially during raining season, while plying the road. The ODU chairperson who commended efforts of the state government at rehabilitating the road in the past, said that several letters of appeal had been written to the concerned authorities over the nagging problem.

Also, two members of the Kwara state House of Assembly, Prince Saheed Popoola and Alhaji Hassan Oyeleke, have dragged the federal government and the firm handling the rehabilitation of the road to court over alleged abandonment of the project. In their writ of summons filed by their counsel, John W. Irogu, the plaintiffs averred that the abandonment of the road by the contractor after the collection of substantial part of the contract sum was wrong.

The plaintiffs sought for the following reliefs: "A declaration that the said intentional abandonment of the said road has caused the people of the state including the plaintiffs undue hardship since the road has become practically impassable and a declaration that the federal government has failed to use the power of his office to compel the contractor (2nd defendant) to execute the contract upon which a huge sum of money had been received a long time ago or to bring the contractor to book for such failure. The lawmakers also sought for ďan order declaring the abandonment of the road by the contractor as illegal and wrongful and an order compelling the construction firm to return to site to complete the road project.

"In the alternative, an order compelling the federal government to use its power to either compel the contractor to execute the contract or bring the company to book for its failure to so execute." Leaders of Bode Saadu community in Moro local government area of the state have also expressed concern over the deplorable condition of Bode Saadu-Jebba road.

District head of Lanwa community, Alhaji Saad Gambari, said that the road which is the only major road that links northern states of Nigeria with South west, had gone intolerably bad. Gambari lamented that many lives are lost daily due to the poor state of the road, adding that criminal activities on the roads are also on the rise.

The road traverses communities of Bode Saadu, Iyana Oloko, Ayekale, Sabo-n-gida, Araro, Lakanla, Kanbi, and Jebba. The community leader also appealed to federal government

authorities to fix the deplorable road in order to make life bearable for them.

"The situation of the road is terrible and government has not shown concern despite our frequent requests and pleas. "The road is causing a lot of problems to the communities involved, such as frequent armed robbery attacks. Asthmatic patients that live by the side of the road are also affected by the dust especially during the dry season. "A number of people have lost their lives as a result of these developments. We are using this period to call on the federal government to come to our rescue as a matter of urgency," he said.

The president of Jebba Descendants Union, Alh Yusuf AbdulKareem, while noting that the Jebba-Bode Saadu road is a federal government road, however urged the state government to intervene in the interest of the people. The representative of the communities in the state House of Assembly, Hon. Mathew Okedara, representing Lanwa, Ejidongari constituency, said that he bought a grader to grade the road when the condition became unbearable.

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