The Governor of Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has again raised the alarm over the poor state of federal roads in the state, warning of a looming crisis in the next few weeks if remedial works are not carried out on the dilapidated federal roads.
The governor said he has written to President Bola Tinubu on the deplorable state of the roads and the need for urgent intervention to ameliorate the sufferings of the people, noting that he is currently awaiting the response of the President.
Obaseki spoke when he received the Zonal Commanding Officer of Federal Road Safety Corps in charge of Edo, Delta and Anambra States, Assistant Corps Marshal Chukwuma Njoku and the Edo State Sector Commander, Paul John Okpe, who were on a courtesy visit at the Government House, in Benin City.
The governor said it was regrettable that the extensive network of federal roads in the state which was supposed to be a blessing has now turned into a curse because the roads have been abandoned by the Federal Government.
He said, “Edo is blessed and also cursed with an extensive network of federal roads. A blessing because we are connected and a curse because the Federal Government has abandoned its network of roads in the State and it’s causing us lots of problems.
“We have to continue to provide services to Edo people as they must move across the state and country and it has put pressure on us and you. We must look for solutions in light of the bad federal roads connecting Edo State. Something has to be done to reduce the risk of road users.”
Obaseki added, “The carnage on Ovia River Bridge can’t be described. We thought working with the Federal Ministry of Works, we could put in place some remedial steps to reduce speed and save the lives of Edo people on that axis. Remedial work should be done on all the federal roads in the state like the Benin-Auchi Road, which will soon be impassable for passengers and goods.”
Warning of the looming crisis on the roads, the governor said, “We have to gear up for another major crisis in the next few weeks unless remedial work is done on those roads today. I have written to the President and hope that he responds to us.”
Noting that the roads have become a major cause of concern in the state, Obaseki stated, “At our last three security council meetings in the state, the issues of accidents have come out top as major security issues in Edo State. We have seen a dramatic increase in the loss of lives as a result of the accidents. Last month was particularly bad, arising from the issue from the Ovia River.
“As a state government whose duties and responsibilities is to protect lives and properties, we are quite concerned and thought we should have a meeting with you being the Federal Government agency to manage traffic and see how to raise the alarm on reducing the incidence of loss of lives on our roads.
“Emergency response is another area we would want to look at and collaborate with you on to enable us to respond quickly to emergencies. We are working on road emergency response across the state and currently undertaking an inventory of all ambulances and their points in the state so we can integrate it into the projects we are working on. Also, we want to work with you in training first responders in those critical points in case of quick evacuation in terms of emergency to centres for help.”
He further added, “We enjoy cooperation with you in terms of towing trucks. We want to collaborate with you in that area as we don’t have as many trucks as you. We would like you to work with our own traffic agency to subject many of our drivers, particularly our commercial drivers to training and collaborate on how to manage tragic situations in the State. We are ready to work more with you.”
On his part, the zonal commander commended the governor for the support and collaboration with the FRSC over the past years, adding, “The corps has increased the number of Commands from 12 to 17 to improve visibility here in the state. We have new Commands now in Igueben and Fugar. We also started establishing area commands and have established two, one in Sapele Road and the other in Auchi.
“We appreciate how you have been handling issues relating to the state of the roads in the state, especially the protest on the state of the roads, ensuring it does not result in more damages.”