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 hidden camera. The honourable Minister must have the eyes of the gods.
Many social critic 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 sees hidden camera, but can’t see the terrible state of our roads. A pregnant woman dare 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 Nigerian roads are not bad. He failed to realised that the deplorable state of the roads has killed more people that 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 also 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 road as well as the Benin-Auchi, Ibillo – Okene – Lokoja highway, commuters are made to suffer by meandering through these roads 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 port city where hundreds of millions of naira are made daily by the government and others, are embarrassing. Over the years, billions of naira had been poured on the Oshodi-Apapa road but it is still in a 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 hidden camera at Lekki Toll Gate.
Favour Amako, a Journalist, Youth Pastor and social Critic, writes from Abuja