The Senate has urged the Federal Ministry of Finance to as a matter of urgency, release adequate funds to the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) for the purpose of carrying out emergency repairs on all federal roads in the country.
This was even as the chamber also called on the Federal Government to immediately declare a state of emergency on federal roads and improve its funding.
These resolutions were sequel to a motion sponsored by Sen. Gershom Bassey (PDP-Cross River), titled: “ Nigeria’s Bad Roads And NUPENG’S Impending Nationwide Strike”.
Coming under Order 52 of the Senate Standing Orders, Bassey noted that the 36,000 km federal road network was the largest and most valuable single public infrastructure asset owned by the government of Nigeria.
According to the lawmaker, “the deplorable state of the federal roads in Nigeria have become a national shame and an unnecessary embarrassment as scores of innocent people are kidnapped by bandits and killed daily in avoidable accidents on account of bad federal roads.”
He lamented that the Petroleum Tanker Drivers branch of the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG) workers had threatened to cripple the Nigerian economy by a nationwide strike if the bad and shameful roads are not rehabilitated.
The lawmaker recalled that in 2019, he made a similar call through a motion for increased funding for maintenance and rehabilitation of the country’s federal highways.
He expressed worry that in spite of several calls, there had not been improved funding for maintenance and rehabilitation of highways.
Bassey disclosed that the federal highways in Nigeria required the sum of about N215 billion per annum to revamp 3,500km of federal roads for eight to 10 years for total rehabilitation to be achieved.
The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan after a voice vote, approved the prayers of the motion.(NAN)