During an on the spot assessment of the scene of last week’s Lekki Toll Gate Shootings, I read and watched as the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, discovered a mysterious camera. The Honourable Minister must have the eyes of the gods.
Many Social Critics had accused the Minister of ‘make believe’, a ploy to hoodwink the public. I am a little bit worried. How can a man with the eyes that see a hidden camera, not see the terrible state of the roads all over the country. A pregnant woman dares not travel on Nigerian roads, except she is ready for a miscarriage.
I was highly disappointed last year, when Fashola appeared before members of the House of Representatives, saying that, Nigerian roads are not too bad. He failed to realise that the deplorable state of the roads has killed more people than the Lekki Toll Gate Shooting. Trips that ordinarily should take no more than a few minutes, now take hours. No part of the country is spared. It is not just that most of these roads are so impassable that I find very disturbing, it is also the fact that the dangerous spots along many of them, have become convenient operating centres for highway robbers, who lay siege to unsuspecting motorists and other road users.
This is aside, the notorious fact that the poor state of these roads hampers economic activities, as farm produce cannot be transported to areas where they are needed. In the rainy season, many communities have practically been cut off with impassable roads.
From the Calabar-Itu road, to the Abuja-Kaduna, Enugu-Onitsha, and then the Calabar-Ikom-Katsina-Ala roads, as well as the Benin-Auchi, Ibillo–Okene–Lokoja highway, commuters are made to suffer by meandering through these road, just as they experience nightmares when they travel through the Benin-Ore-Ofosu, the Ibillo-Ondo-Lagos road, Ibillo-Okene-Lokoja road, and the Ilorin-Omuaran-Otun Ekiti State road.
Other road networks that are in terrible conditions include the Ore-Okitipupa and Ore-Ijebu-Ode, the Akure-Ondo-Ore, Akure-Ikere and Akure-Ilesa roads; the Akure-Owo, the Owo-Ikare-Oke-Agbe roads; the Ikare-Ugbe-Epinmi-Isua roads, as well as the Ikare-Erusu-Ikaram-Akunnu roads. Even in Lagos, the roads leading to Apapa, the strategic Ports city where hundreds of millions of naira are made daily by the government and others, are embarrassing. Over the years, billions of naira have been poured on the Oshodi-Apapa road, but it is still in shambles, crater-ridden, and looking more like a war-ravaged area.
I call on Fashola to see more of these bad roads, and swing into action, than sighting a mysterous camera at Lekki Toll Gate.
Favour Amako, a Journalist, Youth Pastor, and Social Critic, writes from Abuja.