*Wants To Permanently Address Recurrent Road Washouts, Collapse of Bridges
…Laments Slow Pace Of Ongoing Repair Work, Tasks Contractor To Speed Up, Make Road Motorable Within Days
…Vows To Escalate The Matter To President Tinubu For Urgent Intervention
By JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya CON and Chairman of the Nothern Governors’ Forum has called on the Federal Government to take urgent measures to permanently solve thie recurrent problem of collapsed bridges and road washouts along Gombe-Bauchi road. These issues, he noted, have rendered the road unsafe and impassable for travelers in the North- East.
According to a statement signed by the Director-General (Press Affairs) Government House Gombe, Ismaila Uba Misilli, made available on Monday August 14, 2023, the road connects Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa, Taraba, and parts of Borno states, making it a critical transportation route for goods and services.
During his inspection visit to the site of the road washout/collapsed bridge at Kalajanga, Kirfi LGA of Bauchi State, Governor Inuwa underscored the crucial role of maintaining this infrastructure, emphasizing its significance in the socio-economic activities of the people of the North East sub region.
The Governor likened the road to an essential artery connecting vital regions, highlighting its vital role in the economic activities of the people.
“This road is like an artery that connects the heart with the brain supplying blood and oxygen, if it breaks no part of the body can function. This is what the road is to the sub-region.
“I believe the governor of Bauchi was here, and don’t be surprised tomorrow to see the governor of Adamawa or Borno here because of the importance of the road to the entire region”, he added.
He stressed the need for comprehensive rehabilitation and reconstruction, noting that the road, nearly 50 years old, requires bridges and thorough restoration.
Governor Inuwa observed that traveling through alternative routes is both expensive and time-consuming, underscoring the urgency of completing the repair works to ensure smooth transportation across the Northeastern states.
Governor Inuwa stressed the importance of the road to the socio-economic development of not only Gombe State but the region as a whole while attributing the poor condition of the road to environmental factors and increased human activities.
He explained that since his assumption of office, he has been following up to see that the road receives the necessary rehabilitation.
“I had, in the past visited the Ministry of Works about four times on this issue trying to draw the attention of the Federal Government to take immediate measures to permanently solve this lingering problem. Even yesterday, I had to call the Permanent Secretary, of the Federal Ministry of Works on the issue.
“The FG has to come in as a matter of urgency and address this issue because the livelihoods of millions of people depend on this road”, describing the situation as an emergency that begs for immediate measures.
Governor Inuwa pledged to escalate the matter to the President, seeking a permanent solution to the problem. While acknowledging the ongoing work by the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) and their efforts to create a temporary walkway, he expressed optimism that continuous efforts could lead to the road becoming operational again in a matter of days.
Responding on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Works, a staff in the ministry overseeing the project, Engr. Bitrus Dauda said the ministry is doing everything possible to make the road motorable while assuring to push for the construction of bridges along the road.
“We have since lodged complaints to the Federal Ministry of Works over the condition of the road especially the sites where large bridges are needed. We are now waiting for the design to take on the construction work” he explained.
Also in his remarks, the Sector Commandant, Federal Road Safety Corps, Bauchi State, Mr. Patrick Ikaba said, the command has concluded plans to install warning signs at strategic places to prevent accidents, while advising motorists and other road users to take alternative routes for safety purposes.
The recent incidence of the road washout occurred on Saturday after hours of heavy downpours that resulted in a flash flood overpowering the capacity of the existing bridge at the site.