Chris Steven, Abuja
The Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), has challenged the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Barrister Babatunde Raji Fashola, the Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amechi, the Minister of State for Petroleum Ibe Kachikwu, and the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, to quickly response to the country’s infrastructural needs, especially in the areas of roads, railways, pipelines and refineries.
President of NARTO Alhaji Kassim Bataiya, who was speaking at the pre-National Executive Council (NEC) meeting and Award Night of the association in Abuja appealed to the newly appointed ministers to focus on these critical areas and ensure that roads, rail system and the refineries are fixed within the shortest time.
Besides, the association appealed to the Senate and House Committee on Works, Transportation and Downstream Petroleum Industry to harmonize and supervise the activities of these miniters in order to address the unending energy crisis in the country.
“The ministers must set to work immediately and resolve the issues of bad roads across the country, fix the rail system and tackle the ineffective power situation,” the NARTO president said
He said the association has implicit confidence on the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to deliver on its electoral mandates, even as he gave assurance that the associatioj would give the maximum support to his government.
His words :” We strongly support the anti-corruption campaign of Mr. President and we pledge to continue to play by the rules in line with our resolve to remain a committed and non-partisan organisation poised to deliver transportation services effectively throughout the country.
On this note, while congratulating the newly inaugurated ministers, we wish to appeal for quicker response to the country’s infrastructural needs.”
Alhaji Bataiya had some weeks ago called on the government to immediately repaire some major roads across the country and said that the situation of the roads is affecting timely delivery of passengers, goods and services to designated areas.
He also stated that the condition of the roads is negatively affecting the vehicles ability in terms of good turn around.
Due to the fact that road infrastructure development is capital intensive, he advised the government to look in the direction of Public Private Partnership (PPP), road concession, toll levies among others.
“However, government should find a way of funding the construction, repairs and mentenance of the road for quick economic growth.” he said
He listed some of the roads in all the six geo-political zones of the country that are not motorable as Eleme-Obigbo road, Calabar- Ikom-Ogoja -Katsina Ala, Calabar-Ikot Ekpene- Aba. Others are Aba-Umuahis, Onitsha- Enugu, 9mile- Otukpa, Owerri-PortHarcourt, Enugu-PortHarcourt in the South East.
For North West zone, are Kaduna-Saminaka-Jos, Funtua-Birnin Gwari, Kano-Gwarzo- Daya, Yawuri- Kontagora, some part of Kano- Katsina. North central are Jebba-Bode-sa’adu-Ilorin, Kontagora-pizzi(makera), Okene-Lokoja- Abaji.
South west zone, he said are Apapa-Tincan-Oshodi road, Lagos-Zangon Otta-Abeokuta, shagamu-Ajebandele- Ore- Ikorodu-shagamu, while for North east are Gombe-Biu-little gombi-Mubi, Potiskum-Bajoja-Gombe-Maiduguri-Gamborin Gala, Ngorore-Mayabalwa Jada-ganye, Numan- Jalingo-Wukari-Katsina Ala road, Nguru-Gashua-Garin and Alkali roads.
“These are no doubt some of the bad roads picked all over the country. While we are waiting for the new government to settle down, our members continued to offer best services under the prevailing condition and the roads are becoming more deteriorated as accidents are being reported daily, vehicles getting knocked down due to wear and tear all to the disadvantage of our members as well as the national economy.
“As responsible organisations, we cannot sit and fold our arms watch these roads impact negatively on our hard earned investment. The complete state of disrepair of the roads have constituted and still constituting serious hazards to our drivers and vehicles. Little wonder therefore, that are witness frequently loss of driver’s lives and properties, vehicle breakdown and accidents on these roads on daily basis.” he added
In his address at the opening session of the NEC meeting, the Minister of FCT, Mohammed Bello said the FCTA is partnering with NARTO in the implementation of its transportation master plan.
Hower, Bello who was represented by the Director Admin/Finance, Abdulamid Suleiman Mohammed urged NARTO to enlighten its members on the dangers of disobedience to traffic rules and regulations, especially during these ‘Ember months’
He explained that the restriction of mini and midi bus services to feeder routes, restriction of motorcycle and tricycle services to the suburbs are geared towards providing efficient, safe and secure transportation services.
“The enforcement of this reform has engendered great reduction of road crashes on our roads, prolonged the life of our road furniture, curtail environmental pollution as well as increased mass movement of commuters using fewer high capacity vehicles” he said