Kaduna Residents Cry Out over Bad Roads

0

John Shiklam writes that residents of Kaduna are lamenting over the deplorable condition of most roads in the metropolis

One of the greatest challenges facing many residents of Kaduna city is the deplorable state of roads and lack of motorable access roads to many sprawling suburbs.

The deplorable state of roads and lack of motorable access roads to the ever increasing settlements that are emerging around the city have remained a nightmare to residents, especially during the raining season.

The increasing population, also called for more expansion of the roads to ease the congestion that has continued to cause serious traffic gridlock, thereby leading to long hours being wasted in the traffic, especially along the Kaduna Bridge which connects the Southern part of the metropolis with the city centre where the market, offices and businesses are mostly located.

The administration of the late Governor Patrick Yakowa attempted to address the problem by awarding contracts for the construction and rehabilitation of 32 roads across the state, mostly within the metropolis at a total cost of N28 billion.

Yakowa also constructed another road connecting the Southern part of the city from Angwan NNPC Area office in Angwan Rimi area of the metropolis to the KRPC junction as part of efforts to address traffic congestion around the Station Market area.

Unfortunately he died in December 2012 in a helicopter crash in Bayelsa State and most of the road projects were abandoned by the lack lustre administration of Ramalan Yero who succeeded him as governor.

Governor Nasir el-Rufai has embarked on massive road construction, expansion and
rehabilitation across the state, thus raising the hope of residents who have been looking up to government to ameliorate their suffering as it concerns provision of good road network and access roads, particularly within the metropolis.

Residents of the areas where the road projects are going on, especially in Barnawa, Rigasa, Anguwan Dosa, Anguwan Rimi, Sabon Birni, Kigo New Extention, among others have been agog with excitement about the construction of the roads, others in places like Anguwan Bulus, Sabon Tasha, Tsaunin Kura GRA, Gonin Gora, Romi, Kabala Constain, have urged
the governor not to forget their communities in the road “project bonanza”.

“We have no doubt that el-Rufai can perform, we know his achievements as Minister of the FCT and we have been anxious to see him replicate what he did in Abuja in Kaduna, now we are seeing it. “We are happy, finally this problematic road has been made very standard, we are very impressed with the quality of the work and the drainages constructed. We are beginning to feel the impact of el-Rufai,” said Mr. Donatus Eze a resident of Kigo New Extension.

In Barnawa, Rigasa, Anguwan Dosa and Anguwan Rimi, residents praised the governor for putting their roads to shape. However, in Anguwan Bulus, one of the suburbs in Sabon Tasha Area, their story is such a pathetic story of long neglect and they have been making desperate efforts to get the attention of the governor to the only road leading to their community.

Like several suburbs within the metropolis Angwan Bulus despite its proximity to the seat of power is worse off than a remote village as there is no motorable road.
The situation is even worse during the rains as trekking on the road connecting the area with Sabon Tasha becomes difficult. Several community efforts have not helped in improving the situation as a result of lack of sufficient funds to improve the condition of the
road.

Residents of the area are mainly traders, petty business men, serving and retired civil servants many of whose livelihoods depend on buying and selling hence the need for a motorable road for the transportation of goods.

According to the Village Head of area, Gideon Haruna Gwoni, lack of access road is one of the greatest predicaments of the community.

“Our greatest challenge in this community is that we don’t have a good road” he said in an interview when THISDAY visited the community.

According to him, residents of the area have made every communal effort to make the road motorable, but such efforts didn’t yield any result as the community could not raise the huge sum of money required to make the road motorable.

Gwoni said “whenever somebody is sick and we want to take him to the hospital, you can hardly get a motorbike, not to talk of a car.” He said “no vehicle or motorcycle plies here, especially during rainy season and if by luck, we get a vehicle, before we could reach a hospital in Sabon Tasha, the person has given up the ghost.”

He added that traders are the worst hit as they find it difficult transporting goods whenever they go to make purchases in the market. “The few commercial motorcycles that risk coming here charge very high fares as a result of our bad road and you stand the risk of falling down on the slippery road.

“If you want to go to the market you will have to trek for about an hour to the railway crossing before you could get a commercial bike. “We have had situations where women had miscarriages. In times of emergencies, it is really very difficult to get a bike or a bus to the hospital.

“Apart from our bad roads, you will be shocked to know that in this age,
we don’t have a single public primary school in this community. The
few private primary schools are beyond the reach of my people,” the
village head said.

According to him, the community has been able to construct some culverts through communal effort as part of efforts to make the road motorable, but to no avail.

He disclosed that the community has spent about N1million to construct some culverts adding that in an attempt to find alternative solution to the problem, the community attempted to construct a bridge across the river to connect with Angwan Barde to ease transportation problems.

“About N6 million was needed to construct the bridge, our community contributed N2. 4 million and started the casting of the bridge but because we were not able to finish it before the rains, everything was destroyed. So what we did was to use some planks and woods across the river to enable us cross,” he said.

According to him, Governor el-Rufai who visited the community in 2015 is aware of the condition of the bridge. “He even came and inspected it in 2015 when he visited our community and have been hopeful that he will do something about it. Now that he has started constructing roads, I want to use this medium to urge him to remember Anguwan Bulus.

Please help us tell him to assist us,” the village head pleaded. He recalled that past administrations came and surveyed the community without anything done, adding the community sent a delegation to the Ministry of Works and the Kaduna State Public Works Agency (KAPWA) pleading with them to come and assist us, but up till now but without avail.

Similarly, in Sabon Tasha, especially Tsaunin Kura GRA, residents have been grappling with the dusty and bad condition of road network in the area, blaming past administrations for neglecting the area. A community leader in the area who pleaded to remain anonymous
lamented that there is no single tarred road in the GRA since it was founded over 20 years ago, blaming past administrations for neglecting the area.

“This is a GRA, but it is like we are living in a remote village. We
have no single tarred road anywhere here. Some years back you cannot drive here without your car getting stuck. Through communal efforts we were able to contribute money to grade the roads. When the late Patrick Yakowa visited here for condolence visit, his
Jeep got stuck here, that was how he experienced what we were going
through and he ordered for the grading of the roads with a promise to
do something about the condition of our roads, unfortunately for us, he died and
that was the end of the story,” he said.

He appeal to Governor el-Rufai come to the aid residents of the GRA by
extending the road projects to the area.
“We have seen transformation that is going on in Barnawa, Kigo Road,
the expansion of the Kawo Dual Carriage Way and other parts of the
city.

“We are appealing to the governor to hear our cries. Our trying moments
are during the rains when the roads are barely motorable. When the
rains are gone the roads become very dusty and each time you drive to
town, people think you’re coming from the village,” he pleaded.

Speaking on the road projects in an interview with journalists in
Kaduna, Governor el-Rufai said his administration was determined to
improve on infrastructural development in the state, especially the
provision of roads, potable water, electricity and hospitals.

Lamenting the bad condition of roads in the metropolis, he noted
that “township roads in Kaduna have been allowed to go into disrepair
for long” adding that “local government headquarters have all become
glorified villages as they have no good roads, nor street lighting,”
pointing out that many of the roads have no drainages and therefore, they don’t last.
He said road projects were awarded by his administration under what he
called “a retainer scheme.”

“We found that when you advertised and go through tenders, it takes
four to five months to award the contracts. So we came up with some
very innovative ideas. We got an initial list of 10 contractors that
have done roads in Kaduna.

“Every month, we give N100 million to each of them, that is N1
billion. Ministry of Works will ask you to do a particular road, you
build the road, at the end of the month, we will reconcile account and
balance you.

“We determine the rates which are the same for all the contracts. Of
course when we invited Julius Berger, they couldn’t accept our prices,
but some others accepted it. So we have 12 contractors on the
retainership scheme,” he explained.

He said the state government decided to adopt this method because of
the budget support facility by the federal government.
“Every month, the federal government gives each state N1.3 billion to
augment the prices in the fall of crude oil. So we felt the money will
be better utilised this way. We pay N1.2 billion to the 12 contractors
every month that is why they keep on working,” the governor disclosed.
The road projects include the dualisation of four roads namely, Zaria
Road in Rigasa, Anguwan Dosa, Aliyu Makama Road in Barnawa and Sabon
Birni Road in Kawo.

Contract has also been awarded for the Saminaka – Rahama road in Lere
Local Government and the carrier bridge in Ikara.
Others include the Guchimishi – Kuyelo , Randagi – Funtua, Rigachikun
– Sabon Birni, Anguwan Katafawa, Anguwan Kaji, Rafin Guza and the
construction of another bridge across River Kaduna to open up the
eastern sector.

The state government has also taken over Nnamdi Azikiwe Expressway
from the federal government and the initial plan, according to the
governor, was to patch it up, stressing that after assessing it, it realised that the road requires a complete reconstruction.

“So we are in negotiation with major construction companies to
completely reconstruct the expressway and expand it if necessary as
well as reconstruct the overhead bridge at Kawo.

“We think that the junction in Kawo has to be sorted out, it is a
bottleneck and something must be done to reduce the congestion and
confusion in that area because it is a security nightmare.”
El-Rufai disclosed that about 20 per cent of all the projects are
expected to be completed before the end of 2017.

Conducting journalists round some of the road projects within the
city, the Commissioner for Works, Housing, and Transport, Alhaji
Hassan Usman Mahmud an engineer disclosed that 75 roads were being
constructed or rehabilitated in Barnawa area of the metropolis
including the dualisation of the 5.7 kilometre Aliyu Makama Road.

Also a 20 kilometre access roads are being constructed in Rigasa area
including the dualisation of the eight kilometre Zaria Road there. In
Kabala area, 53 roads are being worked on while 26 others are located
in Ungwan Rimi area of the city.

The commissioner said the expansion of the Kawo Dual Carriage Way from
the Kawo overhead bridge to the roundabout opposite the State House
of Assembly to three lanes is expected to be completed by February
next year.

He explained that the expansion of the Kawo dual Carriage Way,
inherited from the Yero administration which did very little on the
project was reviewed down ward and the state government was able to
save about N1.2 billion.
He said one lane of the three lanes of the expanded carriage way
would be dedicated to mainly a special bus service called “the Bus
Rapid”.

The commissioner said more road contracts would be awarded and assured
the government will continue to do its best within available resources
to meet the demands for roads and other basic infrastructure by
communities.