The Edo State Governor,Gov. Godwin Obaseki has once again raised the alarm over the terrible condition of federal highways in the state, warning of an impending catastrophe in the coming weeks if necessary repairs are not made to the crumbling roadways.
The governor stated that he has written to President Bola Tinubu about the dreadful state of the roads and the need for immediate intervention to alleviate people’s sufferings. However, Obaseki stated that he has yet to receive an answer from the president.
Obaseki made the remarks when he received the zonal commanding officer of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in charge of Edo, Delta, and Anambra states, assistant corps marshal Chukwuma Njoku, and the Edo State sector commander, Paul John Okpe, who were on a courtesy visit at the Government House in Benin City.
The governor lamented that it was unfortunate that the extensive network of federal roads in the state, which was meant to be a blessing, has now turned into a curse because the roads have been abandoned by the federal government.
He said, “Edo is blessed and also cursed with an extensive network of federal roads. A blessing because we are connected and a curse because the Federal Government has abandoned its network of roads in the state, and it’s causing us lots of problems.
“We have to continue to provide services to Edo people as they must move across the State and country, and it has put pressure on us and you. We must look for solutions in light of the bad federal roads connecting Edo State. Something has to be done to reduce the risk of roads for users.”
Obaseki added, “The carnage on the Ovia River Bridge can’t be described. We thought, working with the Federal Ministry of Works, we could put in place some remedial steps to reduce speed and save the lives of Edo people on that axis. Remedial work should be done on all the federal roads in the state, like the Benin-Auchi Road, which will soon be impassable for passengers and goods.”
Obaseki said Nigeria has to prepare for another major crisis in the next few weeks if curative work is done on the roads.
Stating that the roads have become a major cause of worry in the State, Obaseki stated, “At our last three Security Council meetings in the State, the issue of accidents has come out on top as a major security issue in Edo State. We have seen a dramatic increase in the number of deaths as a result of the accidents. Last month was particularly bad, arising from the issue of the Ovia River.
“As a State Government whose duties and responsibilities are to protect lives and properties, we are quite concerned and thought we should have a meeting with you, the Federal Government agency to manage traffic, and see how to raise the alarm on reducing the incidence of loss of life on our roads.
“Emergency response is another area we would want to look at and collaborate with you to enable us to respond quickly to emergencies. We are working on road emergency response across the State and are currently undertaking an inventory of all ambulances and their points in the State so we can integrate it into the projects we are working on. Also, we want to work with you in training first responders in those critical points in case of quick evacuation in terms of emergency centers for help.”
He asked the visitors to work with the state-owned traffic agency to train many local drivers, particularly commercial drivers, and to collaborate on how to handle terrible events in the state.
Speaking, the zonal commander of the FRSC commended Obaseki for the support and collaboration with the FRSC over the past years, adding, “The corps has increased the number of commands from 12 to 17 to improve visibility here in the State. We have new Commands now in Igueben and Fugar. We also started establishing area commands and have established two: one on Sapele Road and the other in Auchi.”