The intervention of Niger state government has saved the country from more troubles as it stopped the planned protest by major stakeholders in road transport business from grounding all activities across the country in protest against deplorable conditions of Nigerian roads.
Members of the, Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Independent Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Petroleum Tanker Drivers Association of Nigeria (PTDAN) and National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) had planned to protest against collapsed bridge at Makera, Teggina which has frustrated their efforts to transport goods and services to northern parts of the country.
Troubles for members of the road transport unions were however compounded when they learnt that Niger state government for fears that state roads could be destroyed considering the daily haulage contemplated obstructing the Minna-Suleja road but was prevailed upon by some stake holders including the Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubarkar.
Briefing journalists after the meeting between the Niger state government and members of NARTO, NURTW, IPMAN, RTEAN and PTDAN at government house, Minna the state commissioner for Information, Mr. Jonathan Vatsa said the state decided to intervene in order to save the country from additional crisis.
According to Vatsa, “We had to intervene because we know what will happen if they go ahead with their protests. We as a government are however calling on the federal government to please as a matter of urgency affect repairs of all Trunk ‘A’ roads in Niger state”.
“Niger state has the longest stretch of federal roads compared to any other state in Nigeria but the roads have today become death traps.
There is diversion in Mokwa, Bida and Minna road because of the bad portion of Bokani road and that has made our roads becoming overstressed”.
According to Vatsa, “If it is about support, we supported and voted for President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC so we deserve better deal from what we are seeing now.”
It is the constituted duty of the federal government to maintain federal roads and that is why we are calling on the Hon. Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Fashola to as a matter of urgency act”.
In order to douse tension, Vatsa said, “The Acting Governor, Ahmed Ketso called the Hon. Minister and he has directed the contractor handling the project to create alternative route for motorists traveling along the collapsed Makera bridge pending the time permanent solution will be found for the road”.
Also speaking on behalf of the five road transport unions, Alhaji Adamu Erena of IPMAN thanked Niger state government and the chairman Niger state council of traditional rulers and the Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubarkar for intervening to stop the planned nationwide protests.
“We appreciate efforts by the Niger state government who has gotten across to the Minister of Works to as a matter of urgency create alternative route for us to enable us convey our goods and services to the northern part of the country”, Erena said
With the intervention of stakeholders, Adamu Erena said the union is happy and will wait for the outcome of the ministers’ directives that the contractor handling the road projects linking the bridge will immediately move in a create alternative routes for members.