Commuters, traders groan as two FG highways to Benue collapse 

Posted by News Express | 6 August 2021 | 587 times

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By PETER DURU, Makurdi
 
It has been tales of woes for commuters and motorists coming into Benue State from the southern parts of the country as the two major roads leading into the state have since become death traps due to their lingering poor state. The two major link roads – Makurdi-Aliade Otukpo and Makurdi-Naka-Otukpo – collapsed some months ago and have been left to fester like a big sore leading to unimaginable problem for users on a daily basis.
 
As the two roads remain in a deplorable shape, farmers, traders and visitors to the state have become the major losers economically and socially. While many avoid the roads as a result of their deplorable condition, those who dare to brave them, lose their goods and trucks to the gallops and big ditches along the roads.
 
Mostly affected are trucks laden with fresh and perishable food crops which often get stuck in the bad portions or overturned while trying to meander through the deep gullies which now litter the roads.
 
As a result of the deplorable conditions of the roads traders not only lose their cash crops, but they also spends days on the roads trying to salvage their wares and in the process are exposed to armed robbers, kidnappers and other undesirable elements.
 
While many of the traders have been attacked and killed by gunmen, others have been taken hostage and only released upon payment of prescribed ransom. 
 
Some of the commuters, who narrated their ordeal on the roads, lamented that lives and property worth millions of naira are being wasted daily as a result of their poor state and called for urgent action to end the nightmare. A tanker driver, Ado Yusuf, said he nearly lost his life on the road late last year when his truck tumbled near Howe Village on the Otukpo-Aliade stretch when he tried to avoid a deep gully only to end up in another gully. 
 
He said: “I was lucky because on that day I had already discharged my petroleum product and was heading back to Port Harcourt when my truck fell into the gully on the shoulder of the road. I was able to maneuver the truck with the help of colleagues and escape disaster. If we had crashed the truck with the petrol, the entire community would have been set on fire. If you recall that was what led to the tanker fire that killed no fewer than 100 persons, including firefighters when a truck laden with petrol fell along a bad road portion along the Aliade-Makurdi Road last year. 
 
On her part, a yam trader, Mrs. Agnes Uke, lamented that she lost close to N5 million worth of yam on the Aliade-Otukpo axis of the road in the last one year. “On three occasions trucks carrying my yam tumbled into one of the gullies on the Aliade-Otukpo stretch near Taraku but luckily on those occasions no life was lost but my yams were mostly destroyed and I lost a lot of money in the process.
 
“Those unfortunate incidents have set me back financially because the money most of us use to run our businesses is borrowed from our local thrift and you must pay the loans without excuses. That is why some of us have resorted to buying yam in small quantity and selling in our local markets to avoid the problem of ending up on the road and not being able to repay our loans. 
 
“It is actually a sad development because our sources of livelihood are being frustrated by the failure of the Federal Government to fix these two very important entry and exit points of the state to the southern part of the country where we earn income from selling our farm produce,” she said.
 
Contacted, the Federal Controller of Works in charge of Benue State, Charles Oke, said that something was being done to put an end to the poor state of the roads in question.
 
 “I have written to Abuja over the condition of the road and because of that matter I am going to Abuja this weekend to see what we can do on that stretch.
 
“Even the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency, FERMA in Makurdi has taken over the maintenance of some of the areas. I will talk to them to see what they can do in Aliade before we get approval to move into the area,” the controller of works said. (Vanguard)


Source: News Express

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