The Federal Government has been urged to come up with a national plan to fix the nation’s roads in order to reduce the carnage on the roads, warning that road accidents in the country may increase by 65 percent in 2015 if the government fails to act fast.
Making the call in Lagos was a road transportation expert, Dr. Oscar Odiboh, while speaking at a seminar , which had as theme, Road Safety and Economic Development in Nigeria, organised by Guild of Motoring Correspondents recently.
Odiboh, who is also the managing director of Newsletter Nigeria Limited, lamented that the Federal Government had blown away a whopping N45 trillion to achieve what he described as unsuccessful development plan in road infrastructure since independence.
According to Odiboh, |”Specifically, the government’s move to fix the nation’s roads has resulted to 12 per cent of the country’s development budgets since independence. “
He warned that something urgent must be done to the roads as the World Health Organisation (WHO) has already raised an alarm about the rate of road accidentsin Nigeria, warning that if the Federal Government fails to address the tide, the rate of death in the country through road accidents is expected to increase by 65 per cent in 2015 and 2020.
He said that past governments had unveiled several development plans targeted at improving road infrastructure since the country became independence without any meaningful achievement in road construction.
Odiboh listed one of the key areas in the country’s development plan as the construction of trans-national, interstate and intrastate roads, where government has spent trillions of naira to fix the road network, lamenting that because of improper checks and balance in place, contractors awarded the contracts had carried out substandard construction works.
According to him, “Having had several development plans (1962-68), (1970-1974), (1975-1980), (1981- (1985) e.t.c, Nigeria moved out of the third world community by spending an estimated N45 trillion to achieve an incommensurate development.
“One of the key areas Nigeria’s development plan has failed is in the construction of trans-national, interstate and intrastate roads, which is estimated to have consumed 12 per cent of national development budgets since independence.”
He lamented that government’s national development plan which was aimed at achieving a constructive safe, smooth vehicular passage for the people, has become elusive, as the roads recorded huge carnages due to abandonment and poor maintenance of the roads.
He also condemned what he called the politicians’ tactics at rehabilitating roads when elections are around the corner, saying Nigerians should condemn the tactics in its entirety.
“However, if we take into cognisance that many of our roads are built or patched a few months to major elections and abandoned for four to 10 years, then it may be correct to state that our roads undergo a painful process of underdevelopment and reverse development,” he said.