After the collapse of two bridges along the Minna-Bida road and the Bida-Wushishi-Zugeru road, Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger State said that his people live in hell.
The Governor visited the Presidential Villa in Abuja to seek urgent intervention in order to ameliorate his people’s suffering.
Speaking to House correspondents after the meeting, Bello said that the poor state of federal roads has made life difficult for travellers and threatens to isolate them from the rest of the country.
The state has witnessed road accidents and the devastating flooding.
Governor Bello also expressed his sadness over the floods which have destroyed acres of crops, particularly sugar plantations, for which he has now asked the President to help affected farmers.
In his statement 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 intervention 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 at 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 Jabba-Mokwa-Kagara-Tegna-Pandogri-Kaduna road.
“I hope attention would 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 hacters 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 intervention from the Federal Government so that we can support our local farmers that have lost their livelihood due to floods.”
When he was asked about the President’s response to his request, Governor Bello said, “The President has more faith in action, he doesn’t talk too much, I think I can say from his calmness that he felt bad, especially for the Niger State. We carry all the weight, each cargo from the southwest goes through Minna specifically.
“I think he has an idea, he probably does not know everything, but he has an idea of what we are going through at the moment.
“Right now we are going through hell in the state of Niger. So I think something will be done.”