The Federal Republic of Nigeria is a country that boasts of about 200,000 kilometres of with only 39,000 kilometres of them paved.
35,000km of these roads are of federal roads in its network, however, despite N1.414trillion expended on their maintenance since 1999, the roads remain death traps just as the road transportation remains the most preferred mode of transportation in Nigeria.
Statistics by the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC reveals that Road Traffic Crashes (RTC) data rate is 162 deaths per 100,000 population just as the commission argued that this was a result of the poor state of Nigerian roads.
The ministry of works once declared that the state of Nigerian roads which qualifies as a national emergency is due to poor release of funds by the appropriate quarters leading to inefficiency in the adequate maintenance of these roads.
These huge infrastructures are being allowed to deteriorate without any visible maintenance strategy, leading to the observed state of Nigerian roads today.
Experts have further argued that Nigeria’s road network is grossly inadequate for a country aspiring to become one of the 20 leading countries in the world by the year 2020, for Nigeria to meet this target, the country must grow its road infrastructure from 200,000km to 300,000km in the next five years and adequately maintain them.
With the Federal Road Maintenance Agency so far spending over N2.7bn on the rehabilitation of some roads nationwide, FERMA recently announced the plan to employ the services of 17,000 youths under theSubsidy Re-Investment Empowerment Programme, SURE-P to ensure continuous maintenance of Federal roads across the country, 4,556 have so far been employed with the remaining 5,444 to be employed before the end of the month.
Investigations by The News Chronicle reveals that as a result of the deplorable state of our roads and the level of unemployment in Nigeria, some citizens have also voluntarily decided to contribute their own quota towards maintaining these roads for the use of the masses.
One of these regular faces on these Nigerian roads is Mohammed Abdullahi.
Mohammed is a regular face to residents of the Lugbe Federal Housing Authority (FHA) in Abuja, particularly the Pyakasa axis of the area, as he is constantly seen under the rain and the scorching sun mending and sand filling the huge port holes located within the area as well as some other parts of the FCT.
In a chat with The News Chronicle, Mohammed who cannot speak a complete English sentence disclosed why and when he took up the work: “I have been doing this for the past 7 years, i do this often at Federal Housing, Lugbe and Kabusa road, I decided to engage in this work because I know it helps the people and in a way helps me too”.
Speaking with some of the commuters during a sunny afternoon while Mohammed was at work, Mr. Chuks a resident at Lugbe FHA eulogised the efforts of Mohammed saying “you need to see how bad this place gets
during the rainy season and dry season, i mean especially that Skye bank area to Total, sometimes you would prefer going with a bike but with this guy on the road constantly, he’s really doing his best and I wish the government could emulate him to better our conditions”.
Mohammed Abdullahi is a man who was born with neither a bronze nor a silver spoon, and as well, the father of 10 children has to find a means to cater for his family.
“I have 10 children and just one wife, she was fortunate to give birth to twins twice, that is why my children are so much, My children use to go to school but i had to stop some of them because i don’t have money to take care of them, only 4 of them attend school presently” he said.
A resident who simply identified herself has Madam Joy said “he doesn’t even disturb you for money, he simply stands there coordinating cars and people along the road, so if you want to help him, you do that freely without being harassed”.
Mohammed further used the medium to call on sympathisers and the government to come to his aid in whatever means possible most especially to help his children attaining and gaining qualitative
education: “I want the government to come to my aid by sponsoring my children’s education, i do this work every day at the various locations and i would not mind if government can engage my service in
furtherance of this mini road repairs so that i can do it in a much efficient way to please the commuters and people in the area.
“I will be so much happy if government and individuals can come to my aid even if it will mean just to enrol my children in school, i will be so much happy”.
He however declined his photograph being taking for this publication.