Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
Niger State Governor, Abubakar Sani-Bello, yesterday said the people of his state live in difficult times as floods and bad roads had made living harrowing and deplorable in the state.
The governor, who made this disclosure when he visited President Muhammadu Buhari in the State House, sought federal government’s intervention to alleviate the plights of his people.
He told State House reporters after the meeting that aside the dilapidated state of federal roads which had made living harrowing for the people of the state, floods had also destroyed hectares of farmlands with crops and plantations.
He said: “At the moment, we are facing difficult times because the rains are quite heavy. Most sections of the road have failed completely and there is need to have some quick interventions to ease the difficulties being experienced by motorists in highways. So, I took time to brief Mr. President on what is happening and what I think can be done in the interim to address some of these issues.
“You will recall that about two weeks ago, we had a meeting chaired by the Chief of Staff with the Minister of Works, the GMD of the NNPC, the Director-General of Department of State Service and the Inspector-General of Police with regard to the closure of Minna-Bida road.
“We were forced to close Mina-Bida road because the contractor on site had complained that the work in progress was very slow as a result of heavy movement of trucks on that road. As you are aware that road was built for light vehicles. So, we were forced to shut down Minna/Bida road.
“Eventually we had to open it so that we don’t create hardship to other parts of the country especially the Northern states. But at the moment as it is today, we have two failed sections of Minna-Bida road and one failed section of Minna-Tegna road which has brought about the complete blockage of that road.
“So, something needs to be done immediately to provide for alternative route between South-west and Northern parts of the states. We have a major trunk ‘A’ one road which is the Jebba-Mokwa-Kagara-Tegna-Pandogri-Kaduna road.
“I hope attention should be given to that road so that we divert most of the trailers to that road. There is also an alternative route which is the Mokwa-Bida-Lapai-Lambata road. That will also provide alternative to Minna-Bida road.
“So. overall, that has been the main point of our discussion. We touched on flood briefly. I believe in the next few weeks, we may have some reliefs when it comes to flood.
“At the moment we have over 150 communities under water in Niger State. Thousands of hectares of land have been displaced by flood. Major investments like the Sunti Sugar is completely under water. They have lost over 2,500 hectares of sugar cane plantation and vast majority of the facility itself is under water.
“It is unfortunate it has happened, but I pray we will be able to get some quick interventions from the federal government so that we can support our local farmers that have lost their livelihood due to floods.”
Asked about the president’s response to his complaints, he said, “The president believes more in action. He doesn’t talk too much. I think from his countenance, I can say that he felt bad especially for Niger State. We are shouldering all the weight. Every cargo from South-west passes through Minna specifically.
“I think he has an idea. He probably will not know everything but he has an idea about what we are going through at moment. At the moment, we are going through hell in Niger State. So, I believe something will be done.”