Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
The Senate has said the collapse of the Tatabu bridge on the important Mokwa-Jebba road in Niger State, is a vindication of its position on the need for a balanced budget that caters for infrastructural needs in all sections of the country.
This is as the lawmakers commended the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, for visiting the collapsed section of the road.
Osinbajo on Monday inspected the road and bridge damaged by floods, in company of Niger State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, and the Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola.
Fashola recently verbally sparred with National Assembly over what he said were distortions of his ministryâ€™s 2017 budget by the lawmakers, who had argued that his budget was distorted for equitable distribution in all parts of the country.
The Senate, in a statement by its spokesman, Senator Sabi Abdullahi yesterday, said the collapse of a segment of the road at Tatabu, was just a tip of the iceberg, as several roads in Niger are in dire situation.
He observed that the lawmakers are the representatives of the constituencies, and are therefore familiar with the state of affairs in the areas.
This, he said, places lawmakers in a better position to know the level of decay and magnitude of intervention required on federal government infrastructure within their domains.
Abdullahi added that the lawmakers are therefore empowered by the constitution, within the context, to modulate the proposals submitted by the executive, to create the needed balance in resource allocation.
â€œAs at date, there are additional four collapsed bridges and road sections at Gidan Mai Village on Mokwa â€“ Bokani- Makera road; Sahon Rami and Baban Rami on Makera â€“Kontagora road and at Tungan Kade on Ibeto â€“ Auna â€“ Kainji Dam road. A potentially dangerous event waiting to happen are the two colonial-type bridges at Lioji and Gulbin Boka on the Kontagora â€“ Rijau road, which in itself has become travellersâ€™ nightmare and a death trap for those plying the road to Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara States,â€ he said.
Abdullahi added that the situation at Tatabu, which has affected traffic from Northern Nigeria to parts of the South, has affected Nigerians regardless of tribe, religion or political affiliations.
â€œFor example, trucks carrying economic goods now spend 7 to 10 days to reach Lagos from different parts of the North as they have to pass through another very important but serially neglected and abandoned road which is the New Bussa â€“Wawa-Kaiama-Kishi-Oyo Federal road that traverses Niger, Kwara and Oyo State,â€ Abdullahi added.
â€œTo stop further occurrences such as this, efforts must be made to do things in the overall interest of all Nigerians because they are all entitled to freely move across every corners and parts of Nigeria. Bad roads do not select commuters on the basis of any sentiment. We all face the music of â€œgbagan gbaganâ€ on every bad road without exception,â€ Abdullahi added.