BY CHRIS AJAERO, NEWSWATCH
Travelling by road in Nigeria is still a nightmare as the roads are in terrible condition despite the huge expenditure on their reconstruction and maintenance.
The condition of our roads, both the major arteries of this country and the roads in most of our major cities beggars imagination. And here I must ask the question do our government, ministers and leaders who travel often and see the condition in other countries ever feel embarrassed by the condition of roads in our resource-rich country? Do they notice the large potholes that litter the roads and even bridges?”
Those words, coming from Emeka Anyaoku, former secretary general of the Commonwealth, vividly captures the dismal failure of the Nigerian state to maintain its roads. The diplomat, who gave the damning verdict on the state of the nation’s roads at a recent public lecture in Abuja, said the consequence of such has been the soaring rate of accidents which have turned them into “a huge slaughter slab where human lives are worth little or nothing.”
Indeed, Anyaoku has bluntly spoken the mind of almost every road user in Nigerians. He has lent his weighty voice of courage and candour to the cries of most Nigerians who have had harrowing experiences while travelling on some of the roads that are in critical conditions across the country. Recent investigations by Newswatch revealed that, although the federal government has spent more than one trillion Naira on contracts for the rehabilitation of these roads in the past ten years, about 30 of the major federal roads are in deplorable conditions.
Some of the federal roads that have collapsed include the Lagos-Ore-Benin expressway, the Ibadan-New Ife-Ilesha-Akure expressway and the Lagos-Ibadan expressway in the South-West zone. In the South-East zone, the roads that have so many failed portions are the Onitsha-Enugu expressway, the Enugu-Abakaliki highway, the Enugu-Port Harcourt road, the Onitsha-Owerri highway and the Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene road. The roads in the South-South zone that have collapsed are the East-West road, the Calabar-Itu-Ogoja-Katsina Ala road, the Aba-Ikot Ekpene road, Aba-Ekparakwa-Etinan road and the Ini-Ekpe-Ikot Nkon-Arochukwu road.
There are also some roads in dilapidated conditions in the northern part of the country. They include the Okene-Lokoja-Abuja road, Okene-Ajaokuta-Anyigba road, Kaduna-Jos road and the Kano-Azare-Damaturu road.
One federal road that has remained a nightmare for motorists is the Lagos-Ore-Benin expressway. In spite of several reports in the media about the bad state of the road, which is the major link road between the western and eastern parts of Nigeria, its situation has not improved. At the inception of the administration of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Diezani Allison-Madueke, immediate past minister of transportation, had visited the road. She was there on August 6, 2007 and wept because of its dilapidated state. “I am actually very, very unhappy today at what I have seen. I am very displeased that this road was allowed to degenerate to this level. I want to apologise to Nigerians for the deplorable state that I found this road in. This is inhuman and unacceptable,” Allison-Madueke said.
However, more than two years after the former minister of transportation’s lamentation over the sorry state of the road which raised the hope of many Nigerians of a quick solution to the problem, the condition of the road has continued to deteriorate. When Newswatch visited the road last week, the failed portions of the road still had craters wide enough to swallow vehicles. Commuters who were travelling to the South-East and South-South zones of the country for Christmas had harrowing experiences, as they had to spend several hours at the failed portion of the road between Ore and Ofosu in Ondo State. This was as a result of the serious traffic gridlock on the road as the vehicles tried to wade through the failed portions of the road. Some of the vehicles had to divert through the bush path in Ofosu in a bid to beat the gridlock.
Sampson Raymond, one of the drivers, caught up in the traffic jam, told Newswatch that he left Lagos at about 8 a.m. on that day enroute Okada in Edo State. Unfortunately, he ran into the traffic gridlock at Ore by 11:30 a.m. By 3:30 p.m. when Newswatch met him, he was still trying to manoeuvre his way out of the jam which he attributed to bad spots along the expressway.
Emeka Nwokeke, a driver of a luxurious bus conveying passengers to Aba, told Newswatch that he spent more than five hours in the gridlock. “I left Lagos at 7:30 a.m. for Aba and you can see where we are. There is no way I can get to Aba today. You can see that the traffic is not flowing at all. We have been stuck in this traffic for the past five hours,” he said. Eberechukwu Anyanwu, one of the passengers on the bus, could not control his temper as he rained abuses on those in power for allowing the road deteriorate to the point that it has become almost impassable thereby making those travelling home for Christmas to pass through hell. “You can see how bad it is and yet we have people who claim to be our leaders. This road could be best described as Nigerians' expressway to hell,” he told Newswatch.
Worried by the hazards the deplorable condition of the Ore axis of the Lagos-Ore-Benin expressway and other highways across the country have constituted for transporters, the Association of Luxury Bus Owners of Nigeria, ALBON, met in Lagos recently to deliberate on the issue. In a communiqué issued after the emergency meeting, the governing council of the association threatened to withdraw their vehicles from the roads unless the federal government instituted a programmed maintenance on all the major highways in the country.
In the communiqué jointly signed by Prince Ejike Okoli and Frank Nneji, national president and secretary respectively of the association, they drew government’s attention to the need for an “urgent intervention programme on the Shagamu-Ore-Benin road to ensure that normal flow of traffic is restored.” The luxurious bus owners were concerned that though this road is one of the busiest arterial roads in the country, government has not accorded the maintenance of the road the priority attention it deserves. They frowned at the situation whereby motorists sometimes spend as much as 12 hours on that stretch alone due to its dilapidated condition.
The association stated that the abysmal state of roads across the country has resulted in the depletion of its fleet due to constant damages leading to high cost of maintenance. “In the year 2000, we had a capacity of 6,000 buses but these have been depleted to less than 1,500 buses with over 80 operators being forced out of business because of harsh operating condition.” The governing council of ALBON passionately appealed to the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria through the minister of works to come to its aid and the aid of other Nigerian road users who daily suffer untold hardship on major Nigerian roads.
ALBON also urged the federal government to separate funding for road maintenance from the budget for road development, rehabilitation and reconstruction because “the two are clearly distinct.” The group noted that it is common for thieves to rob the drivers and their passengers at the failed portions of the roads where the vehicles virtually come to a halt.
Okoli told Newswatch last week that ALBON was compelled to take such an action because the deplorable condition of the roads has taken its toll on their vehicles as it now costs them so much money to maintain them. He explained that most luxurious buses now strip their vehicles of the overhangs of the front and rear fenders, because they usually hit the surface of the bad roads and break whenever the tyres sink into the ground or run through large potholes. “The impact of the bad road not only lead to heavy maintenance costs, but ultimately reduces the lifespan of the buses,” he said. He explained that because of the failed portion of the Lagos-Ore-Benin expressway, some luxurious buses travelling from Lagos to Owerri, Enugu, Port Harcourt and Uyo spend two days on the road before reaching their destinations.
According to him, the association often bought truck loads of chippings and brick objects with which its members tried to repair the failed portions of the road. He lamented that the wear-and-tear the bad roads have constituted for their vehicles is so much that some transporters had contemplated leaving the business since it was no longer lucrative. “We spend so much money repairing knocked engines as a result of the bad roads. The engines are at the back and when the rear keeps hitting the ground, the oil drains away and could spoil the engine if the driver could not notice it in time. It costs as much as N1.3 million to repair an engine of a luxurious bus,” Okoli told Newswatch.
Corroborating Okoli’s position, Nneji, who is also the managing director of ABC Transport, described 2009 as the worst year for transporters. “It is only in 2009 that you have vehicles leaving Lagos and never got to the East until after 36 hours,” he said. He attributed the problem to lack of proper management of the roads by the government. He explained that some of the roads have not been rehabilitated and reconstructed as they ought to. He believes that the federal government should treat the issue of roads as an emergency because if the nation’s economy must grow, the transportation infrastructure have to grow too.
Apparently taking a cue from the leadership of ALBON, Patrick Obahiagbon, the lawmaker representing Oredo federal constituency in the House of Representatives, early this month threatened to lead a mass protest over the poor state of the Benin-Ore road. He, however, gave the federal government a “reasonable period in 2010” to fix the road or face mass protest. “I have resolved as the representative of the good people of Oredo federal constituency in Edo State who have suffered a great deal on the collapsed Benin-Ore-Lagos road to tackle the gauntlet posed by the exigencies of the times to compel the federal government to act expeditiously in fixing the road once and for all,” Obahiagbon said.
In response to public outcry over the deplorable condition of the road, Hassan Muhammed Lawal, minister of works, housing, and urban development, recently visited the road. He was accompanied by Olusegun Mimiko, governor of Ondo State, who suggested outright reconstruction of the road.
Coincidentally, on the day of their visit, they were caught in the traffic gridlock that had become a common scene on the road. Lawal, who was overwhelmed by the traffic jam and the complaints of commuters, acknowledged the fact that the road has expired and required reconstruction. “We are all witnesses to the congestion this afternoon. There are several stages of fixing a road. It could be repaired; it could be rehabilitation and it could be outright reconstruction. The road was repaired, now they are doing rehabilitation and like he (governor) suggested, there is need for outright reconstruction of the road and I couldn’t agree with him more. However, I want to reiterate the need for patience,” he said.
In the wake of the mounting public complaints over the deplorable state of the road, the federal government, last month, awarded contracts to the tune of N12.2 billon for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of two sections of the road. The multinational civil engineering companies commissioned to execute the contracts are Reynolds Construction Company Limited, RCC, handling the Ajebandele-Ofosu road axis, and Borini Prono and Company Limited repairing the Shagamu-Ajebandele-Ore-Benin section of the expressway. While RCC’s contract is worth N9.7 billion, that of Borini Prono is put at the cost of N2.5 billion. When Newswatch visited the road last week, the two construction companies had already commenced work on their respective sections of the road. While RCC was given 30 months to complete its contract, Borini Prono is expected to complete its job within 18 months. Officials of the two companies at the site refused to oblige Newswatch with details of their plan to beat the target.
Like the Lagos-Ore-Benin expressway, the Ibadan-New Ife-Ilesa-Akure road is also in a deplorable condition. The first noticeable bad portion of the road is by Oludare block industry, about five kilometres from Ibadan metropolis. However, the bad portion has been graded by RATCON Construction Company handling the rehabilitation of the road under the supervision of the Federal Road Maintenance Agency, FERMA. Another failed portion of the road is in Asejire, also in Oyo State. This failed portion begging for rehabilitation is 53 kilometres from Ibadan. Equally in a deplorable state is the portion of the road at Ikoyi junction in Osun State. At Ikire town still in Osun State, there is another failed portion of the road.
The road is dualised but one side of the road has been closed for maintenance and motorists are forced to use one way. Samuel Adesina, a driver who plies the Ibadan-Akure route, told Newswatch that motorists have been encountering problems on the failed portion of the road for six months now.
At Gbongan, there is another failed portion of the expressway. For instance, between Gbongan and Akinlalu, a distance of 10 kilometres, Newswatch counted five failed portions of the road. Tayo Azeez, an Akure-based driver who plies the road, told Newswatch that traffic congestions is a daily affair on the road. Azeez added that accidents are regular occurrences on the road because of its poor state. Unfortunately, there is no ongoing rehabilitation work on the road.
On Saturday, December 1, there was a fatal accident at Onimu village in Gbongan. According to an eye witness, the accident occurred when a driver of one of the buses who was on high speed attempted to dodge a bad portion of the road and rammed into the on-coming vehicle. The collision of the two vehicles ignited fire and they were burnt with all the passengers on board. Adesina, who witnessed the accident, told Newswatch that it was a gory sight as they watched human beings roasted to death like goats.
Although the Ife-Ilesha road is relatively motorable, at least up to Oloko where the dual carriage way terminates, the same cannot be said of Ilesha-Akure road which is a single narrow road. From Arakeje, where Joseph Ayo Babalola University is located, to Ilaramokin, there are several failed portions on the road. Indeed, Newswatch gathered that traffic congestion is a common phenomenon on the road which makes users spend longer hours to get to their destinations.
In the South-East, many federal roads are still in deplorable conditions. Although the contract for the dualisation of the Onitsha-Owerri highway was awarded in 2002, some portions of the road are still in a state of disrepair. Not even the splitting of the contract between the Consolidated Construction Company, CCC, and Julius Berger PLC has facilitated the construction of the road. The contract for the dualisation of the entire stretch of the 90.3-kilometre road was initially awarded by the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo to CCC at the cost of N24.5 billion with a three-year completion period.
However, due to the slow pace of work, the former president had in 2005 approved extra N20 billion for the project and directed Julius Berger to handle the Owerri end of road up to the boundary between Imo and Anambra states. CCC was then asked to concentrate on the Onitsha end of the road while the contract sum was increased to N36 billion.
Adeseye Ogunlewe, the then minister of works, had promised that with the involvement of the two construction companies in the project, the dualisation of the Onitsha-Owerri road would be completed within 18 months. But three years after the federal government’s promise, work on the Onitsha-Owerri road is still progressing at a snail speed.
Julius Berger has done substantial work on its own part of the contract. When Newswatch visited the operational base of the German constructions giant at Njaba bridge, the dreaded bridge which had caused several accidents in the past was wearing a new look. The bridge had been completed and opened for use by motorists. Chijioke Nnanna, a commercial driver who plies the road regularly, told Newswatch that transporters were glad that Julius Berger built a solid and standard bridge across the Njaba River. “I am very happy with the fantastic job done by Julius Berger on the Njaba bridge. Before now, the bridge was a death trap because of the winding nature of the road, but today, we have an ultramodern bridge and we thank the federal government for awarding the contract to a reputable construction firm,” Nnanna told Newswatch.
The construction giant has taken the work beyond Awo-Omamma and is now grading the portion of the road at Mgbidi, the boundary between Imo and Anambra states. A supervisor with Julius Berger who spoke to Newswatch on condition of anonymity said the company was determined to complete the contract early next year.
Like Julius Berger, CCC has also made some progress on its own part of the road. Despite the delay in the construction of the Onitsha end of the road, the CCC, which is from Greece, did a standard job on the areas it has so far covered. The CCC has constructed the road from Onitsha to Ihembosi in Ekwusigo local government area of Anambra State and provided good drainage system on both sides of the road. The company has also graded the road from Okija junction to Ihiala. It has tried to cover some of the gullies on the road. However, the portion of the road graded is constituting problems for motorist because it is very dusty.
Newswatch learnt that before the dry season set in, the portion of the road that was graded was so slippery that many vehicles avoided it. Some of the vehicles coming from Onitsha had to divert to the Okija community through the junction from where they come out at Ihiala junction. Consequently, this has led to the dilapidation of the local road in Okija built during the Chinwoke Mbadiniju administration. Vehicles coming from Owerri had to divert to the old road leading to Nnewi and come out at Ihembosi. Sylvanus Ike Nweme, former chairman of Ihiala local government area who hails from Okija, told Newswatch that although CCC could be said to be slow in handling the contract, the people of the South-East are happy with the quality of job they are doing. “I must confess that we are very pleased with the quality of job CCC is doing. The work is progressing irrespective of the nature of Okija area. The topography of our area is one factor that is slowing down the job. It is not a table land. That is why the job was delayed from Ihembosi to Ihiala,” Nweme said.
The Onitsha-Enugu expressway is another road in the South-East that is in a poor state. However, the people of the area heaved a sigh of relief when the federal government recently awarded contract for the reconstruction of the road to CCC and Nigercat. While CCC is handling the Onitsha end of the road up to Awka, Nigercat was awarded the contract for the construction of the road from Ugwuoba part of the expressway leading to Enugu. Ugwuoba is a border town between Enugu and Anambra states.
For Boniface Egboka, a professor of environmental hydrogeology and vice chancellor, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, there is nothing to celebrate yet until evidence of work is seen. He recalled that the bad condition of the Onitsha-Enugu road recently led to the death of many people at Umunya.
The accident at Umunya was nothing short of a tragedy because it involved no less than nine vehicles and reportedly led to the death of more than 50 persons. The accident was said to have been caused by the bad portion of the highway at Umunya which is no different from the situation in many other parts of the dual carriageway in both the Enugu and Onitsha axes.
The Onitsha-Enugu road is replete with potholes, bad patches and gullies from Upper Iweka to MCC junction. This extended to New Spare Parts Market, Umunya, Awka, Ugwuorji and 9th Mile Corner. Indeed, the Onitsha-Enugu road is anything but an expressway. According to Mike Udah, chief press secretary to Governor Peter Obi, governor of Anambra State, “nightmare” is a word that best describes a journey on the road.
Paul Okoye, a commercial bus driver, agrees. He told Newswatch in Awka, last week, that the Enugu-Awka expressway is bad and full of potholes. Another accident happened last week in Umunya due to the bad road.
Cyril Ike, a commercial bus driver who plies the road, said the potholes on the road destroy tyres and shock absorbers, cause accidents and make travelling very unpleasant. Eugene Chime, a staff of the Onitsha South Mass Transit who plies the Enugu-Onitsha route, told Newswatch that the road is so bad and often causes “accidents because when you try to avoid the bad spots, you might mistakenly run into the bush.” His view was buttressed by Ejim John, a commercial bus driver, who recently escaped death by the whiskers because of the bad road. He complained that there is a place at the 9th Mile Corner that has a lot of potholes and armed robbers take advantage of it to rob passengers. Although John is happy that the contract has been awarded, he wants the companies working on it to increase the pace of work to alleviate the suffering of commuters on the road. He said he wants the highway to return to its former state of the early 80s when it was first constructed. He traced its deterioration to long neglect. “It became worse about four years ago and we kept hearing promises about repairing it but nothing happened.”
When Newswatch visited the road last week, CCC officials were seen working on the expressway from the Onitsha axis leading to Awka. But no work has commenced on the Onitsha portion yet as evidence of work could only be seen at the nearby Nkpor and the expressway linking the former toll gate. The company closed down a portion of the expressway near the toll gate which it is currently working on. That, however, is already a source of concern to some residents of the state who are afraid that closing down a part of the road might pose a problem for road users.
Like the CCC, Nigercat also closed a part of the expressway it is currently working on and this has resulted in traffic congestion.
Enugu-Abakaliki expressway is yet another road in terrible shape. The road needs rehabilitation. Beginning from Emene, Enugu, many parts of the one-lane highway leading into Abakaliki, the capital of Ebonyi State, are in bad shape. Emeka Nwokike, a commercial bus driver, told Newswatch that the Enugu-Abakaliki expressway is in a sorry state despite some “patchings” done in some parts of the road two months ago. He appealed to the federal government to show seriousness on the road project.
But the condition of the Abakaliki-Enugu expressway is not as bad as some others in the state. For instance, Ladan Umaru, a commercial driver, said that the Ogoja-Abakiliki road is horrible. “The road has been bad for a long time. Now that there is no rain, we spend three to four hours from Abakaliki to Ogoja. During the rainy season, it is five to six hours,” he told Newswatch. Ben Perni said that recently, when he travelled to Calabar from Abuja, they spent longer time on the journey due to delays experienced on the Ogoja axis of the road. “Under normal circumstances, the journey from Ogoja to Calabar is supposed to take five hours, but we ended up spending seven hours.”
Adenike Yesiru, a transporter, gave his own verdict on the Abakaliki–Ikom route. “The road is bad. Before now, we used to spend one hour, forty minutes, but now, its three hours plus and that is for a sound vehicle. There are so many bad spots on the road,” he said.
Paul Okorie, Ebonyi State commissioner for works and transport, told Newswatch that most of the federal roads, especially in the South-East, have become death traps. One of such roads is the Abakaliki-Ogoja-Manfe-Cameroon border road which Okorie described as probably “the worst road in the country.” Others include the Enugu-Port Harcourt road, Enugu-Afikpo road, Okposi-Amasiri-Ota-Nguzu road and the Abakaliki-Offerekpe road. Okorie, however, said that recently, the federal government awarded contract for the reconstruction of the Abakaliki-Ogoja-Manfe-Cameroon border road to the China Civil Engineering Construction Company, CCECC, just as the Abakaliki-Afikpo road was awarded to Bulletine Nigeria Limited.
The Enugu-Port Harcourt expressway is not without its challenges. Many parts of the expressway linking Mgbowo to Isuochi in Abia State to Amaorji and Okigwe in Imo State have failed. But one of the worst roads where the commuters experience a lot of hardship is the Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene road. On December 15, when Newswatch visited the road, some caterpillars were seen working on the Obot Akera part of the road with “caution” sign belonging to FERMA displayed. Even then, it was no fun driving through the one-lane expressway due to the bumpy and dusty nature of the road.
Godwin Ben, a driver with Akwa Ibom Transport Company, told Newswatch that during the rainy season, drivers often diverted to some villages to avoid the deep gullies on the Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene road.
However, on scale of degradation, the Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene road is no match to the Uyo-Calabar highway. There are many failed portions of the expressway around Odukpani local government area and Okoyong, begging for attention. In view of the bad road network in these areas, Nsiebong Etim, a commercial driver, wants the government to make road repairs a top priority. He told Newswatch at the Etim Edem Park, Calabar, that “the roads are very bad, whether it is Aba road, the Ikot-Ekpene road or Umuahia road, they are all bad and deserve to be rehabilitated.”
The East-West road which cuts across the South-South states including Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers and Akwa Ibom is equally in deplorable state. Contract for the dualisation of the 337-kilometre road was initially awarded to Julius Berger in 2005 at a cost of N220 billion. However, in 2008, Julius Berger pulled out after two expatriates working with it were abducted and later killed by militants. At that time, only six percent of the job had been done. The federal government then directed Julius Berger to refund N6.1 billion being balance of the job not executed. The contract was then reawarded to three other construction companies namely Setraco, Reynolds Construction Company and Gitto Construction Generalli. The section of the road from Warri in Delta State to Kaima in Bayelsa which is 87 kilometres was awarded to Setraco at the cost of N64 billion and is expected to be completed in August 2010. The 101 kilometres of the road from Kaima to Ahoada and Port Harcourt was also awarded to Setraco at the cost of N74.7 billion. The third section comprising 99 kilometres stretching from Eleme Junction in Rivers State to Eket in Akwa Ibom was awarded to RCC at N35.6 billion and is expected to be completed in April 2010. The fourth section, which covered 50 kilomtres, stretched from Eket to Oron in Akwa Ibom and awarded to Gitto at N26 billion with April 2010 as completed date. When Uffot Ekaette, minister for Niger Delta affairs, inspected the projects recently, he expressed satisfaction with the work being done by Setraco and RCC but frowned at the slow pace of work by Gitto.
However, when Newswatch visited the East-West road last week, the progress of work by Setraco from Warri to Port Harcourt was not quite encouraging. But Chidi Lloyd, majority leader, Rivers State House of Assembly, whose constituency falls on the East-West road, told Newswatch that the slow pace of the work was to enable the contractor do a good job. He explained that since the contract was initially awarded to Julius Berger, Setraco would have to go back to the drawing board, study what is on ground and then proceed with the job. He urged the people to be patient. “We know that our patience may have been overstretched but we also have to thank the administration of President Yar’Adua for awarding the contract,” he said.
In the northern part of the country, the federal road linking Okene to Ajaokuta, the location of the nation’s ill-fated steel industry, is in a terrible state. Hilary Abuh, a lorry driver, told Newswatch that his vehicle fell into a gully while trying to avoid the failed portion of the road.
Murtala Momoh, a father of five, said he narrowly escaped being burnt to death recently when a tanker conveying fuel fell on the failed portion of the road and caught fire. Three houses around the area were gutted by fire but no life was lost.
Another federal road in bad shape is the Lokoja-Abuja road which has recorded a lot of accidents in recent times. Yomo Ashanghan, sector commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission, in Kogi State said the road records an average of one accident daily. He attributed this to overspeeding and bad nature of the road. “If the roads were good, accidents would have been reduced,” he said.
Yaguda Ali, secretary general, National Union of Road Transport Workers, Kogi State chapter, urged the government to dualise the road from Abaji to Kabba junction. However, the contract for the dualisation of the road from Yongga to Abaji is now being handled by RCC. The rehabilitation of the road from Abaji to Kotongarfi is being handled by Bulletine while the road from Kabba Junction to Kotongarfi was awarded to Dantata and Sowoe. However, these companies have only graded the roads.
The Kaduna-Minna road is equally bad. The failed portions of the road are the Suleja junction, Minna Park and Shiroro junction. It has so many potholes which often cause accidents. The situation is the same in some portions of the Kaduna-Jese road, especially Saminaka.
The deplorable condition of the federal roads across the country has led to a lot of avoidable accidents. The recent statistics released by the FRSC on the spate of accidents on Nigerian roads is mind-boggling. According to the FRSC, the number of reported cases of road accidents on the country’s highways between January and October is 8,553. About 4,120 persons lost their lives while 20,875 others were seriously injured in the accidents that involved 11,031 vehicles across the country.
Egboka, vice chancellor of UNIZIK, believes that these accidents would have been avoided if the roads were in good shape. He is very sad that despite the huge amount of money voted annually for the Nigerian roads, they are still horrible. “I had to travel to Ilorin from Awka by road, it was horrible. I suffered. My waist suffered. Travelling to Lagos now by road is like going through hell. I love travelling because I love seeing the environment. But my experience has been terrible. Accidents all over the place because of bad roads, potholes, dangerous bends... It is most saddening and regrettable,” Egboka told Newswatch.
Reported by Emmanuel Uffot, Dike Onwuamaeze, Anthony Akaeze,Godfrey Azubike and Pita Ochai