The Chairman of the Northern States Governors’ Forum, Muhammadu Yahaya, on Monday, bemoaned the neglect of the 50-year-old Gombe-Bauchi Expressway, adding that Federal Government instead built a railway to Maradi in Niger Republic.
Yahaya, who doubles as Gombe State Governor, expressed his displeasure when he undertook an inspection of the Sunday collapsed bridge in Kalanja, Bauchi State.
According to him, in the last five years, the road had worn out and was in dire need of reconstruction because of its importance to businesses in the North-East region.
He said, “I had to come because I have no option. This is not Gombe State, this is Bauchi, I’m sure the governor of Bauchi has been here, don’t be surprised if the governor of Adamawa comes here or Borno State because of the importance of this road. It has been a lingering issue for nearly five years but I know in the last three years it used to happen like this either in the other points of Tashan Tulmi and Bara town.
“The Federal Government has to come in as a matter of urgency and address this issue you can see vehicles and people around all our livelihood is dependent on this road. Yesterday I had to call the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Works before then I was at the Federal Ministry of Works four times, on this issue and it has not been solved. This is part of Nigeria, I just want to remind them this is part of Nigeria and this problem has to be solved; if they had all the money to take a rail line and go to Maradi in Niger Republic they should have no reason not to address this issue in Gombe State, In Adamawa, Bauchi States and it’s an emergency.
“We need bridges and complete reconstruction because this road is nearly 50 years old and it can’t stand any longer.”
Also speaking, an official of the Federal Ministry of Works, Engineer Bitrus Dauda, expressed optimism that the perennial challenges would be tackled.
“I will not leave here until they fix everything. We are here day and night to ensure the road maintenance is completed,” Dauda said.
Also, Sector Commander Federal Road Safety Corps Bauchi command, Patrick Ekava, said so far no accident has been recorded since the collapse of the bridge.
The Sector Commander said, “You can observe that this is a major pathway to the North-East and the FRSC is always here. We have made provision for barriers to protect unsuspecting motorists.”