A sociopolitical organization, Coalition of South East Youth Leaders (COSEYL), has decried the deplorable condition of federal roads leading to the southeast zone.
The Coalition asked the federal government to declare a state of emergency on the bad roads, regretting that the roads have become death traps and have led to the untimely deaths of so many Nigerians.
The federal roads in question include the Abuja-Lokoja-Benue-Enugu road, Kogi-Onitsha Road and Onitsha-Enugu etc.
In a press release by its President General, Goodluck Egwu Ibem, issued to newsmen in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, on Monday, the COSEYL also regretted that the bad roads have seriously affected economic activities in the country with heavy losses by investors and enterprises.
The group said, “about 90 per cent of haulage of heavy goods are by road transport. The deplorable state of the road from Abuja to the southeast through Kogi is really in a sorry state. Vehicles and trucks conveying people, food items and goods fall on a daily basis on that road.
“Those that bring in foods and other commodities from the north now find it very difficult to do so as the cost of transporting goods from the north to the east is no longer affordable by the common man. Crops produced in the rural areas get spoilt in the villages and farms because there is no means of transporting them to the market in urban centres where there are needed. The farmers in the villages have enough food to waste while those in the urban areas are hungry because of the deplorable state of the roads.
The Southeast coalition also noted that the problems of fixing the road from Abuja to southeast and south-south are a matter of urgent importance, as there is no functional train moving from north to the southeast thereby posing a big problem to commuters.
“Everyone is affected here. Both the rich and poor. Those who fly from Abuja to the East and south-south to escape the hardship and suffering on the roads of Abuja to southeast and south will still in one way or the other partake in the suffering of the bad roads as they will have to buy food and other goods from the north at high cost in the markets.
“The state of the Abuja road leading to southeast and south-south have been on a deplorable state for too long and something must be done urgently to address it immediately. When the road was better, it will take 6 to 7 hours to move from Abuja to the southeast but now, it will take 16 hours to move from Abuja to the southeast. It is really pathetic”.
Continuing, the COSEYL said, “the bad spots on that road are trap points for criminal elements who wait patiently in those bad spots to attack innocent commuters on transit. All those who were victims of kidnapping were all kidnapped on bad spots of those roads.
“It is not a good option to keep quiet and allow hoodlums to take advantage of innocent commuters travelling on legitimate businesses. Something urgent has to be done real fast to address this ugly situation because things have already gotten out of hand.
“The roads if rehabilitated will ease current suffering, rate of accidents, lost of goods and investments”.
The group called on the federal government through its Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), to urgently get to work on the federal roads from Abuja to the southeast and south-south before Nigerians are all dead through accidents and hunger because of the bad state of the roads.
The COSEYL further reiterated her earlier call on the federal government to declare a state of emergency on these critical federal roads because these roads link economic corridors between the north and southern parts of the country.