FERMA under fire over bad roads as accidents claim 6,000 lives in Nigeria annually

Posted by News Express | 3 November 2016 | 2,683 times

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The House of Representatives Committee on Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) has expressed disappointment on FERMA over the deplorable state of roads across the country.

The committee also on Wednesday frowned at the non-usage of more than N10 billion by FERMA which was allocated by the Federal Government in October 2016.

The Chairman of the committee, Rep. Jerry Alagbaso, said at the opening of a two-day investigative hearing in Abuja said that Nigerians were worried over the inability of FERMA to leave up to expectations.

The committee frowned at the agency and mandated that a probe be made on how funds allocated to them and recruitment exercise in recent past were carried out.

According to some members of the committee, “each time FERMA management appears before us we are always disappointed because they do not give us the actual situation on ground.

“People are even saying we should pass vote-of-no-confidence on the Managing Director.”

The acting Managing Director, FERMA, Mr Peter Ibu, while pledging to make amends on their performance, said “lack of funding has been the agency’s major challenge.”

The Zonal Coordinators from South West while explaining their challenges said that maintenance had not been carried out in some major roads in Lagos since eight months ago.

They also said that no funds had been received from the headquarters.

Others said the funding and the awarding of contracts should be looked into.

A member of the committee, Rep. Yusuf Tajudeen (PDP-Kogi) questioned why the N10 billion released in October for the agency had not been utilised till date.

Responding, the acting managing director said they were authorised not to use the money by undisclosed authorities.

The committee after further interrogation went into a closed session that lasted for 30 minutes.

The two-day hearing was to look at the loopholes of FERMA and strengthen it particularly on how the agency could work effectively.

The chairman said that another hearing would be scheduled for next week.

The House of Reps condemnation of FERMA over the sorry state of the country’s roads came as the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), also yesterday, disclosed that Nigeria loses six thousands of her citizens yearly, to road crashes attributing to over speeding, overloading and dangerous driving.

The Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Commission, Mr Boboye Oyeyemi disclosed this at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Annual Retreat for officers and men of the Corps from Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau States.

The FRSC Boss restated the resolve to enforce the speed limiting device technology on all Commercial vehicles.

“Enough is enough on this; there is total war on overloading as from next week, which is one of the key issues of this retreat.

“I have briefed His Excellency and the governors in the North Central, North West and North East simultaneously and we have to do this. We are moving towards the end of the year and the government has given us the support and we are going to maximise this to make sure that we reduce the crashes.

“We have commenced the issue of advisory enforcement on speed limiting device, as at last night, over 1,000 drivers have been given citation. There is no going back on this and we need to cut down the speed, we are losing almost 6,000 lives every year.

“It is not tenable, we need to do something urgently on enforcement of speed limiting device, there is no going back even though it is for commercial vehicles for now, we will come back to private vehicles because 65% of crashes involves commercial vehicles.

“So let us save lives first because the total vehicular density we have is just about 12 million to a population of 173 million and a road network of about 243,000 kilometres.”

Meanwhile, the Benue State Governor who is represented by his deputy commended the initiative aimed at reducing road crashes and preserving the lives of road users, but decried the bad habit of communities digging up the federal highway to protest road accidents in their area.

•Based on reports by NAN and Channels.

Source: News Express

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