Blame game over bad Bwari, Kubwa roads

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Authorities of the Federal Capital Territory and the Bwari Area Council have resorted to blame-game over the terrible state of roads in the area council. FRANCA OCHIGBO reports

As it is in many other council areas and satellite settlements in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) feeder roads in major towns in the Bwari Area Council have remained death traps over the years. In Bwari and Kubwa, the two major towns, residents are subjected to through harrowing terrible experiences commuting from their homes to their various workplaces. And when questions are asked as to whose responsibility it is to fix the roads, officials of the council and the FCT resort to blame-game.

Officials of the council blamed the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) and a construction firm, Arab Contractors for the deplorable state of the roads. The councilmen said the Minister of the FCT had, through the FCDA, awarded contracts for the rehabilitation of the roads to Arab Contractors and that it would amount to a “criminal offence” for the council to embark on repair work on such roads. While Bwari is the headquarters of the council, Kubwa is the business and commercial hub. Bwari hosts federal institutions like the Nigerian Law School and the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) among others.

The major road that links Bwari town to the main market, through JAMB office to the Law School is an eyesore even though every year, dignitaries from different parts of the country troop to Bwari for Law School graduation ceremonies.

The Kubwa-Arab road area is our job; it has not been completed as it is an ongoing contract. The Zebeced quarry behind the Arab road market is not within our project. As for Kubwa town, a lot of roads are being rehabilitated. There are Maitama and Katamkpe, these are the areas where indigenes who are resettled are being rehabilitated

The JAMB office is always a beehive of activities with candidates coming from all parts of Abuja, yet nobody seems to bother about the terrible state of the roads.

The road network in Kubwa competes with the ones in Bwari in terms of dilapidation thereby providing the needed environment for robbers and other criminal elements to operate freely, particularly at night. Armed robbers and car snatchers waylay motorists at will, robbing them of valuables and inflicting injuries on them when they slow down to meander through the many potholes and gullies on the roads.

A resident of Kubwa, Mrs Tewor Jack, who spoke with our correspondent, expressed disappointment with all the previous rehabilitation work done on the roads by the FCT authorities. Mrs Jack said the repairs and rehabilitation work on the roads hardly last for six months before potholes spring up everywhere. She added that apart from shoddy work done on the roads, heavy-duty vehicles that ply the roads do not help the matter.

The Chairman of Bwari Local Area Council, John Gabaya was not available for comments when our correspondent called at the council secretariat. Mr. Ishiaku Emmanuel, who spoke on his behalf, said it was not the responsibility of the council to fix the roads. According to him, the construction, repairs, and rehabilitation of the reads are the responsibilities of the FCT, presided over by the Minister. Emmanuel however, said despite being outside its purview, the council has continued to make interventions on the road from time to time.

Emmanuel said: “In spite of all the challenges, our chairman is still very concerned because this is his place. The existing financial regulation Act does not allow the council to award for roads being constructed or rehabilitated within the same council.

“But the chairman still went ahead to remedy the situation temporarily by contacting some companies for intervention. However, the heavy rains this year have affected the little effort the chairman made. Sometime in August, the Bwari area council remedied some parts with gravel but the heavy rains washed everything off again.

“Also, the road in Bwari town leading to the Federal Girls College and the Nigerian Law School are all to be handled by the FCT and not the council. The road from the Bwari market down to Law School is supposed to be done by Arab Contractors. Major road networks in Bwari local government have been award to Arab Contractors. The Bwari chairman cannot go-ahead to do the roads because they are already awarded. If he does it then it is criminal. Local government chairmen have come and gone, they met these roads, the contracts had been awarded by the FCDA so it is beyond all of them”. According to Emmanuel, the immediate past chairman, Musa Dikko, wrote several memos to the Minister informing him about the terrible state of the roads but he got no response.

Road contracts under

review, says Arab Contractors

The spokesman for Arab Contractors, Mr. Ofem Ibiam, said not all the bad roads in Bwari local government was being done by Arab contractors. According to him, the roads are all under review by the FCDA. When asked what he meant by “under review”, he said Arab Contractors had quoted for the roads but has not been awarded the contracts. He referred our correspondent to the Executive Secretary of the FCDA and the Engineering department of the FCDA for answers. “We are not the right people to come to. The roads you have seen in Bwari are not our roads. Our company is not in the right position to answer your questions. We did some work there but we have finished with them. There are so many bad roads there but they are not our projects. We have not abandoned any job so far. If you go to FCDA they will give you details of the contract that are being worked on, the money disbursed for the contract so far and if contractors are mobilised to site and are working. Arab contractors do not have any job in Bwari right now”, Ibiam said.

 

Work in progress on

Bwari-Law School road

The Director Satellite Town Development, Mr. Felix Obiora Nwankwo, said that the FCDA was working on the Law School road from Bwari town, going to Garang and the Law School. Nwankwo said, “We have started three kilometers, remaining 1.5kilometres. It is an ongoing contract right now. The only portion we left out which is part of the infrastructure, is from the junction near the market, which is to be handled by Arab Contractors.

“The Kubwa-Arab road area is our job; it has not been completed as it is an ongoing contract. The Zebeced quarry behind the Arab road market is not within our project. As for Kubwa town, a lot of roads are being rehabilitated. There are Maitama and Katamkpe, these are the areas where indigenes who are resettled are being rehabilitated.

“We are looking at funding, so we are picking them one after the other. There are some aspects of Kubwa roads that will be included in the budget. These are among the roads to be rehabilitated. We have facility maintenance units, but we are rehabilitating a lot of roads. Some are presently undergoing procurement. We have about two to three contracts ongoing. FCC is handling Kubwa 4 and 5. They are not there now but they will come back, it also includes the Arab road.

“I want to let you know that Kubwa is not in the master plan, it is an aberration. It was just a resettlement site that turned into a very big settlement area. The roads are not even what they are expected to be because the connecting road is supposed to be a dual carriageway, which is not. The road one is a connecting road. It is supposed to be dual carriageway but people have even built along the corridor, you cannot take away the traffic, there is so much traffic inside Kubwa.

“Kubwa, according to the master plan, is a resettlement site. People came in there and through the area council, they started getting land. The government has been putting money in Kubwa. We have ongoing contracts in Kubwa and we are procuring more contracts but the problem is funding.

“Arab Contractors just did a contract for us. They only did their own, though we extended to FCC so FCC is now doing the work. There is a bridge over that stream that FCC will come and do so that the road can link Dawaki area to Arab road as a bypass very soon.”

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