Nightmare, agony linger on Kishi/Kaiama Road.
Anxiety is mounting among motorists and residents of communities along Kishi/Kaiama highway following the upsurge in the volume of traffic now plying the route. Back from a recent visit to the area, The Herald's AHMED 'LATEEF writes on the nightmare and attendant agony of motorists and travellers.
The deplorable condition of Kishi/Kaiama Federal Road is not pleasant sight to behold but gives a recurring mental picture of excruciating pains motorists, travelers and rural dwellers on the route endure for many years now.
For transporters specifically, daily movement on the road comes with huge prize; movement from one spot to another is characterized by hardship. The road is not just riddled by potholes and big ditches, each movement can be likened to ascending and descending with attendant discomfort for both motorists and commuters.
On account of the decrepit condition of the road, many heavy duty vehicles plying the route were falling off. While some portions of the road were with dusty brownish sand, others were heavily water-logged. With the condition of the road, it is not impossible for vehicles to be falling off easily.
A trip to Kaiama would make any first time traveler on the road breakdown. On the road, there is tendency for one to unwittingly engage in macabre dance while the vehicle ascends and descends on the road.
Since the condition of the road has deteriorated, it has been a tale of woes and lamentations by motorists, travelers and even farmers knowing full well that Kaiama is predominantly an agrarian community.
The Herald's visit to the community last weekend revealed that many heavy duty trucks fell off while driving on the road just as others got stuck. The situation of the road had resulted in public outcry in the past.
In response to the series of calls, the state government took upon itself the construction of the road despite that it is a federal road. For a start, the state government reportedly mobilized the contractor handling the project with N500million with the hope that the a reimbursement will be effected by the Federal Government.
The preliminary stage of the project was said to have commenced in Kaiama town, which will be followed by construction on other portions of the road.
However, it is heart-warming that the Federal Executive Council last week approved N7.8billion as reimbursement to the state government following its resolve to execute the project.
Understandably, the state government resolved to embark on the project owing to the fear that the federal government intervention may not come so quickly.
Speaking on the condition of the road, the Chairman, Transitional Implementation Committee of Kaiama Local Government Area of the state, Umar Ahmed Gunu, said the road had suffered many years of neglect by successive administrations.
He said the people of Kaiama were full of hope in the past that the road would be attended to until the expectation was dashed.
Gunu, however, expressed delight that the present administration exhibited some level of commitment by undertaking the project.
Prior to the FEC approval, the TIC boss said leaders in the community had met with those who matter in the state and at the federal level on the need to fix the road.
"We feel delighted when we heard the news that the Federal Executive Council had approved reimbursement to the Kwara State government for the construction of Kishi/Kaiama Road. It is been a very long time we have been expecting such. This road has been there for quite awhile.
"Government will come and government will go, they will promise us and to the extent that they will award contracts that will not be executed not until when the present administration came up and awarded the contract, that the state government will handle it and may be at the end of the day, the Federal Government will reimburse.
"The work started on the road sometime in 2015 where about N500million was released to the contractor and since then, nothing happened again. Because of the economic situation of the country, the work has been stalled. Since then, the community has been going to Abuja, meeting the state Governor and people that we think will assist us in getting the project continued. But we are so happy now that the Federal Executive Council had approved reimbursement to the state government.
"About two weeks ago, the bridge on the main road between the North and the South from Niger State at the Jebba/Mokwa end cut off. As. You can see, most of the heavy duty vehicles have been diverted and now plying this our bad road again.
"The work has commenced at the Kaiama end of the road. Drainages were effected and they have started doing a lot of sand filling", the TIC chairman said.
Lamenting the terrible state of the road, the Village Head of Gweria, Yabuku Bawa Kikoun, said the condition of the road had impacted adversely on the economy of the local government.
He explained that the situation had degenerated to the level that Kaiama, known to be an agrarian community, could not adequately boast of huge patronage of farm produce by off-takers.
"We want to appeal to the government to listen to our plight and fix this road for us. The deplorable condition of the road had affected our economic activities in this area. The situation is taking tolls on both farmers and off-takers knowing full well that this is an agrarian area".
Also speaking, the Secretary, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Kaiama Local Government Area, Suleiman Yusuf, said the people of the town were grossly disturbed by the condition of the road in spite of its importance to the overall economy of the state.
He added that the diversion of heavy duty vehicles plying Jebba/Mokwa to Kaiama had heightened among residents, motorists and travelers of likely deterioration of the condition of the road.
Yusuf said the fear was not borne out of the fact the people were not appreciative of positive economic value the intermittent vehicular movement would add to the community but the likelihood of a major bridge at Moshe caving in soon.
"Sincerely speaking, the condition of this road has been disturbing our farmers for quite a long time, and there is serious outcry from our communities across the local government. We find it difficult to transport our farm produce to Kishi, New Bussa and other destinations. From here to there, it is a problem.
"With trucks plying this area again, we are entertaining fear. Not that we are not appreciating what is happening because it is given us a little bit economic development. But considering the road again, we have a bridge that connects this place from Moshe Gada, sooner or later, the bridge is going to collapse and it will affect our economy again.
"So, we are calling on the Federal and State Governments again, to urgently come to our aid so that this will give us future development".
The Magaji Ngeri of Moshe Gada, Suleiman Daladi Mohammed, could not hide his disappointment, said the journey that should ordinarily take some minutes, has been taking several hours between Gweria/Kaiama town due to the bad condition of the road.
He urged the government to assist the people of Kaiama in fixing the road for the sake of economy of Kaiama local government as a whole.
"We are already having fear because of the trucks passing this route intermittently. We have a lot of predicament on this road. This our local government is one of suppliers of food for the whole nation. Our bridge at Moshe Gada was built by the state government and trucks every now and then are plying this route, if it collapses again, what are we going to do? Our business and everything will paralyze. Even food being taken to other states and the local government will stop. "We have to appeal to the Federal Government to repair the Mokwa/Jebba bridge that broke down so that these vehicles will return to their former route so as to lessen our problem. The journey that should take you like 25minutes from Gweria to Kaiama is taking two to three hours because of the condition of the road. We are appealing to them to look into our predicament and solve the problem for us so that the masses will enjoy the impact of the government".
A motorist, who sought anonymity, said plying the route in the last three years had become nightmarish experience.
He pleaded for swift and positive response of the federal government on the road in order to reduce the pains of users of the road.
"For more than three years now, we have been facing challenges on this road. We need assistance of government, let them assist on this road. On this Kaiama/Kishi Road, we are facing series of challenges. We don't need anything, we only need road".
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