Despite being a transportation centre for the country, the Edo status Government has criticised the status of federal highways in the state. The state bemoaned the continuous deterioration of the roads due to the Federal Government’s refusal to accept advice and warning signals.
Crusoe Osagie, Special Adviser to Governor Godwin Obaseki on Media Projects, said in a statement that the state’s important Federal Road network connects numerous regions of the country in such appalling conditions.
Among these roads are the Benin-Sapele Road, the Benin-Agbor Road, the Benin-Auchi Road, and the Benin-Lagos Road at the Ovia River Bridge.
Osagie said, “We don’t think that a region where the oil resources that sustain the country come from should be this neglected.
“On several occasions, communities have protested the poor condition of the roads and the state government has intervened by calling on the Federal Government to speed up efforts to fix the roads.
“For instance, in October 2022, the governor urged the Federal Government to reconstruct the Benin-Auchi Road because the poor condition of the road had become dangerous and fuelling insecurity in the State.”
According to him, “The State government also placed a ban on 30-ton and above heavy-duty vehicles passing through state roads, as a measure to awaken Federal Government to its responsibilities.
“A few months ago, the Department of State Security (DSS) in its briefing had noted that the Benin-Sapele Road was on the verge of collapse. The governor had also raised the deplorable condition of Federal Roads in Edo State at National Executive Council (NEC) meetings to impress on the immediate past Federal Government the urgent need to intervene and fix them.
“Three weeks ago, multiple accidents on the Ovia River Bridge on the Benin-Lagos Road led to the loss of several lives, which necessitated renewed calls for the Federal Government to fix the damaged bridge. Our Commissioner for Roads and Bridges has visited the damaged spot several times to inspect and provide temporary palliative.”
The Governor’s Spokesman added that “Recently, a federal lawmaker representing a constituency in Edo Central had a ghastly accident on the Ekpoma-Auchi-Abuja Road and is hospitalised as we speak.”
The statement added, “The State Government has made spirited efforts to fix these roads, approaching the Federal Government for permission to carry out palliative repairs on them but the efforts were rebuffed because the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government insisted that the contract to fix the roads had been awarded. This was the attitude of the outgone APC-led federal government.
“Despite these efforts and despite the appeals made to see a reason to fix these roads, the Federal Government has paid deaf ears.”
Osagie stressed that “It is now clear that these cries were ignored for political consideration. The APC-led federal government is deliberately delaying the fixing of these roads in an attempt to boost the ratings of its comatose state chapter as we approach the governorship elections scheduled for next year.
“It is curious that the All Progressives Congress (APC) and their social media hacks have taken to social media to accuse the Edo State Government of abandoning these roads. APC lie the loudest when they lie to themselves.
*The resort to petty politics when the lives of innocent Nigerians are lost on these roads is unconscionable and despicable.”
The statement read further, “The APC-led federal government and state chapter should know that Edo people can not be hoodwinked. Edo people know and appreciate the tremendous gains Edo has recorded under the Governor Obaseki-led government, and no amount of propaganda will sway them from the path of truth.
“We urge the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, desist from whatever political games it is involved in as regards these roads, and mobilise the contractors handling the roads to the site to fix the roads and save Nigerians from the hardship and trauma they have been subjected to for several years.”