The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said the state government cannot intervene in fixing the Benin-Auchi and Benin-Sapele Roads because the Federal Government has already awarded contracts for the repair of the roads.
Obaseki disclosed this to journalists after the monthly Security Council meeting held in Government House, Benin City, the state capital.
The governor said that much as Edo State is a transportation hub, it is concerned that the major Federal Road network in the state, which connects several parts of the Country, is in bad condition.
He noted that his administration has done everything in its power to appeal to the Federal Government to look into the repairs of the wide span of damaged Federal Roads in Edo State.
Obaseki added that his administration has drawn the attention of the Federal Government to the failed portions of Benin-Auchi Roads, Benin-Sapele Road and the Benin-Lagos Road, particularly the Ovia River Bridge but nothing has been done yet.
According to him, “Look at the incident that happened in Ovia River Bridge three weeks ago, in which we lost several lives following multiple accidents. Nothing has been done till now. This shows they don't care about us in the State.
“The issue on the Benin-Lagos Road, particularly the Ovia River Crossing is becoming catastrophic. We have lost a lot of lives and done everything to get the Federal Government and the Federal Ministry of Works to work with us and put in place a palliative measure to stop the carnage on that road.”
On Sapele Road, he said: “I was on Sapele Road recently. After the heavy downpour, the road was impassable. What is going on in Benin-Sapele road is scandalous. I don't think that any region where the oil resources that sustain the Country come from should be neglected. We have done everything possible. We don't know what to do again to draw the attention of the federal government to these roads.”
He continued: “The Auchi-Ibillo Road was so bad that some of our contractors couldn't go to their quarry site. We appealed to the Federal Government to do palliative work on that road but they refused, saying the road is under contract. If I want to do the same to Benin-Sapele Road, I am not allowed to do so. They claim the road has been given out to a contractor.
“Last year, the Benin Auchi Road was locked for about two weeks as food, animals, petroleum products could not reach their destination. We don’t want such situations this year so they should help us. We are not here to criticize them but to appeal for help.”
The governor noted that the federal government’s policy relating to these roads is very confusing, noting that in the past, states could rehabilitate Federal roads and give the Federal Government the bills, but that is no longer obtainable.
“At a point they said we can apply and take over the repair of federal roads but I am yet to see a state they have given Federal roads to fix,” he noted.